A Real Human Being (and a real hero)
I start thinking about all the people I’ve left behind, all the people who’ve left me, and how very long life is. The next fifty or sixty years will pass by without us ever seeing each other again. We’ll leave this world never having known each other ever again. It’s so sad, so heartbreaking.
I haven’t felt like a human being in weeks, months even. My uncle died in February and it’s still a shock to remember things he helped me with, ways in which he was a part of my life and to realize he’s not here anymore. I woke up in terror a few hours before he passed. My body went from freezing, numb to burning and back. I couldn’t shake a terrible feeling of terror and dread. The blood left my hands and legs and settled in my stomach where it made me feel sick.
I’ve been carrying this sick feeling with me for weeks. I’ve been dissociating, daily. Things begin to look unreal to me and I literally lose my sense of self. I try to retreat into memories of people, places, things, times that belong to me viscerally…and none of it’s enough to keep me safe. I never made it to class or work today. I took a walk in the sunshine, brought back terrible food. I accomplished nothing today and still felt exhausted.
I don’t know why I’m like this. Real human beings aren’t like this. If there’s anything I’d like to be it’s real, human, being.
I have to remember to count my blessings. I’ve been wasting my money and my time when I should be throwing myself into this life I’ve been trying so hard to create. I presented a paper I wrote at a conference in February, my first. Several coworkers came out to support me, I received a lot of praise from people I respect. My boss asked when I would get my phd. A professor and mentor told me to find her when I’m ready for grad school. It was exactly the sort of validation I needed. Two days later I had dinner with a world-renowned writer and family friend, along with his friends. These things are validating. I need to remember that I’m almost where I want to be and exactly where I need to be.
I’ve chosen this life for myself. I’ve chosen to wrap myself in the intricacies of language, the politics of representation, to do justice to both. I’m learning how to be someone I don’t necessarily have the blueprints for. It is okay for me to fuck up once in awhile.
I spent time with friends this week. A beautiful man with a beautiful voice left me a message, one I needed at the time. It’s an amazing feeling to know you’re wanted, if only for a little while.
I met my favorite advice columnist Monday and she also had beautiful words for me. It’s okay to tell the same story, but you have to tell it in the best way possible. Her mother died when she was young and it’s a trauma she works through so often in her writing. How could anyone completely heal from that loss? How could anyone expect her to not carry that loss in most of her writing?