I signed up for a writing workshop with Cheryl Strayed, also known as Dear Sugar, who I love and admire. It’s not until June but it will almost certainly be a Big Thing to happen this year. If I think about it too much, I start to talk myself out of it and then I want to go sit in the corner and eat massive amounts of chocolate and drink myself stupid, and I don’t even really drink. There are a million reasons why I have no business taking a writing workshop with Cheryl Strayed. But there’s at least one reason why I should do this workshop, so that’s what I’m going with.
When Roy got home from work today, I had to go lie down in the dark for awhile. When I came out, I felt a little more like a person instead of a sad sack. I went to go get the mail and it was misting. I walked around my apartment complex a few times and listened to my iPod and thought about change. What if the things that I really need to change don’t? Everything has changed but some things stay the same. My dad is no longer a part of the world, and that doesn’t make sense to me. Often in the middle of the night I wake up and remember that he’s gone.
I want to be naive enough to believe that once we move into our new place and it’s all simplified and clean that life will cease to be messy and it will cease to be hard. But you know, I have stopped seeking happiness and instead I am embracing meaning. Here is a great article on what I mean by that. It’s not that I feel happiness is impossible but I don’t think that I believe it’s a prolonged state of being for many of us, or any of us. There’s just so much suffering in the world. When I’m down in the trenches, desperate and depressed, there’s meaning in that. There’s growth in that. And evolution. I don’t want to be there but sometimes there’s no avoiding the fact that I’m there, and it’s okay. It’s – dare I say it? – normal.
People always say, “I just want to be happy,” and I think what they really mean is that they want life to be simple. Happiness is a very simple state of being because (for me) there is absolute clarity. Happiness is the golden hour right before sunset when the light is buttery and warm and perfect, and the trees are lit up with golden fire. The rest of the time it’s just fog, clouds, and smoke. I am getting more and more comfortable with this. I am not comfortable with this at all.
I adore that light and the way it makes each blade of grass shine so fiercely. I ache for it when I wake up in the darkness and remember that my dad has died. I reach for my husband and we hold each other in the darkness. It’s really the only way, when the light isn’t shining. You’ve got to grab the ones you love and hold on hard.