Sometimes it feels as though life speeds up and slows down of its own will. Days themselves flash by, or slowly plod along. I close my eyes and I see those beautiful nights – nights where conversation was full, the air was heavy with the perfume of a candle, Nina Simone spun so softly in the corner on my record player. These are the nights that through glorious openness and unfiltered honesty, we discover ourselves through reflection. Nights broke through to morning and the devastating realisation that life only affords you a handful of moments like these. Time, which seemed to slow to allow you to feel and to learn, must go on. And it does.
It’s hard now perhaps three months on from that dark time to feel a sense of closure. In many ways, it is too raw. Still healing. I find myself perched on the edge of a cliff, edging along with careful precision, all too aware of the danger that awaits…the darkness below, the abyss. There are days where I breathe freely, I stride along and I look back with confused incomprehension of how I ever found myself so lost. And there are days where I slip and find myself precariously gripping the edge, digging my nails in and imploring myself to hold on until the storm passes.
Work, college, friends and family. Unconsciously my mind refocused away from the nihilistic existential crises and the pain of the past into a semi-productive but, at least, functional human. I feel deep. Always have, always will. But our life, time itself, does not allow for the thoughtful meandering that I so often miss. We value lives, today, in success. We measure them by their paycheck, their status, their networks. So we work, we network and we inform anyone who will listen about our adventures, our success, our self-important opinions.
Forgive me for divulging in an unnecessary, albeit enjoyable, ramble about life. The academic writing I am attempting is failing and, therefore, I have turned to this. My sanctuary. I’ve missed my writing. I have given an unnecessarily lengthy excuse for how I’ve been neglecting this, my outlet. Life. Life has gotten in the way.
Forty hours at work, four at college, a list of household tasks, an impending humanitarian aid trip and a to-do list that seems never-ending. I balance on the edge of the cliff, I make demands of myself on a daily basis. I shut down that part of me, sometimes tiny, sometimes huge that tells me that I cannot get out of bed. And most days I do. I work, and I laugh, I watch TV, I read, I walk and I fall back into bed. I am proud of that. I am proud of my recovery. I am proud that I am achieving – even the small achievements. The As that appeared on the assignments this week, the friendships I’ve made in my new work environment, the emails I’ve sent and all those times I’ve ignored the voice telling me I couldn’t.
Time has passed. Life has sped up. I find myself walking the edge of that cliff. And it feels OK. It feels manageable. I have new goals, new aspirations and a new found awareness of self. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful for those long nights, the words that flow so effortlessly and, most of all, for being here.