These are dark days. Exhausting days. Days that promise a new affront to decency and stability every damn hour.
I am trying.
I have been filling a journal with things that make me happy, unfailingly happy.
Songs to dance along to.
Song to sing along with.
Movies and TV shows.
Reminders to take my medicine on time.
Reminders to breathe.
Lists of things I want to teach the boys.
Things I can do to make my environment more orderly.
Lists of painters I love.
Lists of comic strips that make me smile.
Reminders to stretch.
A list of exercise classes I can get to quickly.
Nail polish colors.
Names of people I love.
Inside jokes with my husband.
Lists of things with soothing textures-smooth stones and fluffy hair and grass.
Descriptions of places I love.
Little things I can to do show my family I love them.
Anything I can think of to pierce the darkness, it goes in the journal.
I flip through it whenever I need to, and I need to almost hourly right now.
I am not going to lose my soul to this fight.
It’s a new year.
It’s finally a new year.
You know those years when, at the end, you recap and try to enumerate everything you did, everything that changed, everything important to you, and then realize there is no way it all could have happened in one year? That you must have Hermione’s ability to turn back time and have lived each day as thirty hours instead of twenty-four?
2016 was definitely one of those years.
It doesn’t surprise me much that my whole little family has been sick, that we spent New Year’s Eve at home, in bed by 8:45 for the boys and 10:00 for the adults, that I took a two hour nap with my sick youngest child and then laid still in bed while he napped for another hour after I woke up.
This was a year of emotionally processing everything at breakneck speed. This was a year of having your head hit the pillow and the phone ring seconds after you fall asleep. This was a year of poring through stacks of research and finding the answer you’re looking for with bleary bloodshot eyes when you’ve gone too far to give up. This was a year of turning on a dime, being willing to change course and direction with a second’s notice. This was a year of finding that the things you took for granted could disappear. This was a year of pushing yourself past the point of exhaustion to catch at the beautiful truth that has made all of it worthwhile. This was a year of affirming that so much of life is worth putting in thirty hours when you only have twenty-four.
I am tired.
I feel like I’ve aged all those extra hours this year. They line my face in a way I don’t recognize, so that even in my transcendently happy moments they are still there. My body needs healing and strength. My soul does, too. The brief span between Christmas and New Year’s usually affords me enough time, enough rest to steel myself to begin it all again. Enough time to refocus, to make lists, to take stock, to start.
Even when I am sick, it has been enough. I am always sick. I even picked up a few more chronic conditions this year, in the midst of everything else that happened.
This year feels different.
I’ll get to you soon.
I think I’m going to need a few minutes though.