This past weekend was the one year anniversary of when my dad died. It has been quite a year for me, and I have learned some stuff about myself. Maybe a million stuffs. I will not spew all of them, but here are a couple few.
1. I learned that I don’t care that much about the fact that it’s the anniversary. Maybe not too much of a surprise, since I’m not really much of an anniversary person in general- I don’t tend to have a ton of ceremony around dates or build up a lot of emotion that is centered on a day. I know that certain markers of time can be hard for grieving people– like I have friends who have lost loved ones that say that Christmases or birthdays can be hard. For me, I haven’t felt that way so far.
2. I have a dear friend, L, who lost her beloved dad a few years ago. I was talking to her about it and she said something to me that I never forgot. This may sound weird to some, but Ima tell you anyway. She said that when she gave birth to her kids, during labor, there was a complete and utter letting go of all of the control that she had because there was nothing to do but let it happen. She didn’t care what she looked like, she didn’t care who was watching, she didn’t care what she sounded like, how much she cried. She was just totally immersed in the experience of birthing her child. She then said that the only other time she felt something similar to that was in her grief for her dad. She went through a period where she did not care a wit about what she looked like, sounded like, or who was watching. She was just in it. I have never given birth so I can’t speak to the comparison she was making, but something about that description felt more in tune with what I was feeling than just about anything anyone has said to me all year. There was a period of time there where I was just IN IT, I felt like it was super hard but also the most natural and right thing in the world, and I didn’t give a flying fuckbucket what it looked like to anybody. Is it weird to talk about the birthing process in comparison to the grieving process? Sorry. Blame my friend L if you must.
3. That being said, I also learned that there’s a time when it’s best to suck it up and wrap up the Eeyore tendencies. This is one of the harsher things I learned and it’s actually hard to say, but I’m being as real as the STREETS right now, homeys. There are maybe one or two people, if you are very, very lucky, that will hang out with you as long as it takes for you to get all that sad stuff out, no matter the timeline. But for the most part, people– really loving, wonderful people– can’t hang with you like that for too long. They have their own lives and things they need to do and they need you to get back to being a more equal person in the relationship. They need to talk about their stuff and not just listen to your stuff. I may have even gotten some straight up CUT THAT SHIT OUT NOW I AM DONE HEARING ABOUT IT here and there. Sure, hearing that can be a lesson learned right in the nuts, but I can’t be mad about it, because I know behind the frustration, there’s love there, and none of us are perfect. Well, besides Beyonce, obviously. So as much as I have learned about letting my grief fly and letting myself be in it, I have also learned when it’s time to fold it up and put it away.
4. Even though I would have said, before this happened, that Nordic Boy and I were closer than peanut butter and jelly in a Goober jar, this year has shown me that it was possible to be more connected, more solid, more joyful together. We jibber jabber about ev-er-y-thing, we laugh a lot, we cannot wait to hang out together. We are just horribly sickening.
5. I have learned that there’s a sort of secret society of grievers out there. People who have lost someone too, and who will reach out and help.
6. There was a time, when I was 23 years old, where some really not-so-hot stuff went down in my life. After that year was over, I felt like a changed person. Obviously there were things that remained the same about me at my core- I am not saying I changed my whole identity like a movie psychopath. But the way I related to the world changed that year more than it ever had before or since. My goals changed, in terms of what I wanted to do with my life. My relationships changed, in terms of how I socialized and with whom. That was the year I really committed to my relationship with Nordic Boy, even though we had been hooked-up-sort-of-friends for some years. After what I had been through that year, I saw him differently than I did before. I saw my friends differently than I had before, some for better, some not. Most of all, I saw myself differently. Whenever I think back on my life thus far, I think about the events that led up to that year as the Events That Changed Everything. A crossroads year, not outwardly. Inwardly. I think we all (or maybe most of us) have an experience or two that splits your life into Before That Happened and After That Happened. Now that I am one year out from losing my dad, I can see that this time feels like another one of those times. I feel so different than I felt before, you guys. It manifests itself in a lot of small ways that may not be noticeable to anyone but me, but they are numerous and glaring to me. If I had to boil it down into an overarching idea? I care about some things SO MUCH LESS than I did before, and it feels EFFING GREAT. I have never been a high-pressure person to begin with, but now? The level of not-caring about dumb stuff is at an all time high. Maybe this is a short term feeling, but dang, I hope it lasts. Someone didn’t call me back for some minor work thing? DON’T CARE. This friend or that friend hasn’t gotten in touch for a while? IT’LL BE FINE. Oops, I got another parking ticket? WHATEVS. I’m not saying I don’t have stress– I do. I worry about big stuff, for sure. But the day to day? Rat’s asses are not being given, people. And on the other hand, things that really matter to me feel really heightened right now. I love my dude so much. I spend much more time doing and seeing art, which really, is the thing I love doing most. And I love myself and more than I ever have. I think that, for me, having the right perspective between the DON’T CARE things and the REALLY CARE things is a huge mental kielbasa I wrung out of this year, and it may not last but for right now, the DON’T CARE list is actually quite long, and although the REALLY CARE list is spare, it is way, way deep. I feel like that’s a good place for me to be right now.
I don’t even know if any of this makes sense to anyone out there. But honestly? DON’T CARE. It makes sense to me.