My grasp on the passing of time is tenuous at best- distorted often by the haze of illness and the odd habit life has of sneaking on by you if you aren’t careful to keep your eyes wide open. My diarist habit has fallen a little by the wayside throughout the pandemic: which doesn’t help with the ‘sameness’ of days, but I’ve been trying to learn grace for myself.
It’s been a rough go of things, as people who know me from the Hephchat might joke with concern in their eyes- Jo mentioned perhaps they ought to try to invoke some reverse psychology on the universe to give me a break sometime soon, as it’s an ongoing gag that every time I wander back up chirpily to update them on how things have been, it’s like I’ve narrowly avoided getting flattened by the umpteenth disaster. I’m the little irradiated rat that just can’t be squished, and who’s even festively adorned themselves with a little scrap of red ribbon and jingle bell from the Fallout-esque nuclear wasteland’s trash heaps. Joy in spite of adversity. Silly little guy antics.
Things have been difficult. That’s nothing new. Life generally is. But I’ve been grateful not for the continued resilience- (my therapist smiled a bit sadly when she noticed my vehement reaction to being called ‘resilient’ or ‘strong,’ because it’s exhausting to be thought of as strong, and never as in need of, or deserving of help) but more so for my commitment to continually choose to face life head on.
It can be incredibly painful (physical or mental, take your pick) for me to get through the day sometimes. To continue to see the world with curious eyes, to want to give love another chance- (romantic or otherwise), that’s important to me. Love is the reason why, after all, behind everything- why do you get out of bed, why do you write, why do you take goofy photos of urban wildlife, why do you choose to say ‘yes, and’ to life’s ridiculous improvisations, and so on, and so on. Love is why. To be unabashedly and fully in love with the world and the people around you, in spite of everything that comes your way: that to me is a deeply held commitment, and one I cherish as a core value. To not let the difficulty of life strip away from me that capacity for love.
Internal hemorrhages, debilitating coughing and projectile puking fits, crushing depression that leaves you hollowed out and numb: none of that changes the fact that I can choose to say: I see all of that, I accept that the world is the way it is and some things are out of my control: but what is within my sphere of control is choosing to go ahead and love anyway, even if it’s foolish or doomed or silly.
Everything comes to an end. We’re all going to die and wind up worm food. Why not have a little sweetness alongside the pain? Losing someone, or something, hurts terribly because you loved them so fiercely, but to me, that has never been reason to not love. It’s just the price you pay for being able to experience that profound love. I’ve cried a whole hell of a lot this year. I’ve raged against the feeling of it being ‘unfair,’ and despaired about how on earth would I ever carry on, grieved with such loss? But I have, and I will continue to. Life persists. It goes on. And I can still choose to love it anyway.
Obviously, I’m no saint. I’m not perfect. Life is fucking hard, and some days you wake up choking on your own blood, limbs afire, and want to claw out the eyes of anything that even looks at you the wrong way, because you’re wrapped up in agony-pain-hurt-rage-anger and can’t take it. But to have been able to consistently choose to go ahead and love anyway, to fall in love with the world and the people around me, no matter what has happened- that’s been something I’ve really held close this year.
If I’ve learned one thing: it’s that life never goes the way that you think it should. That’s okay. You just have to learn how to re-adjust. I’ve always taken the perspective that love can be like the seasons- passing, temporary, but no less lovely for the time you two spend together. That something doesn’t have to last forever for it to be meaningful. And that sometimes, a loss can pave the way for something new on the horizon, and you just have to be willing to engage with life to meet it when it arrives.
To try to be a little succinct towards the end… 2022 reaffirmed to me that my dedication to choosing to love anyways has been personally worthwhile and fulfilling, despite adverse circumstances.