Discover more from Unforeseen, unforsaken
Here lies a pile of hair
a quest through being hard on yourself, and running
I have turned on paid subscriptions. I have done this because it has been a year since I began this newsletter and I have experienced both deep richness and vitality in writing it, while also feeling shame when I have been unable to produce work. However, whatever the feeling in the moment, it is fleeting. Writing and sharing with you all has been enriching. I am serious about my writing and the intimacy I share here and therefore I am allowing you the option to financially support me and what I post here. (While the publication won’t change much, I am setting the intention to publish more often, to offer you the value for a paid publication.) I do not intend to paywall many or even most of my posts. I may do this occasionally, but I’m not making this decision lightly so I am not seeking to freeze anyone out, especially for lack of funds. If you enjoy my work, if you resonate with what I say and if you wish to make me that offering, I am grateful and welcome your contribution. If not, that’s ok too! Stick around. I’m not going anywhere.
I wore my hair up a lot this week, as it is hot, and it is growing, and ironically I placed so much extra weight on myself during a difficult week battling and competing with myself and external forces to find some semblance of peace.
I am very hard on myself.
I don’t have a problem admitting that. I let situations and feelings weigh me down. I put pressure on myself. I make myself feel guilty when I can’t complete tasks. I know I’m not the only one who experiences these things but somehow, I struggle to even ask for support when I’m going through these motions.
Last week, Apollo got sick. I mean, he stopped eating and moving and lifting him from the middle of the kitchen floor onto the bed felt like lifting dead weight. After two emergency vet visits, I got him on antibiotics and he has bounced back relatively well, barring a very raspy meow that is slow to return. I miss hearing him talk to me, but I trust that’ll return in time. Overall it was a terrifying process and made me feel lonely and helpless. Thoughts of losing him swirled and I had to practice patience — my most underdeveloped virtue. As he improved, my loneliness continued to fester throughout the week.
I began to trap myself in my home and in my head, thinking about escaping, thinking about what drives us, and more specifically what would get you out of your house if you were feeling isolated. Food? Definitely. Friends? Sometimes. Ultimately, while a social gathering puffs me up and makes me feel emboldened and empowered, I simultaneously shirk away from this during these times.
Midweek I couldn’t stand it anymore so I got in my car and drove for an amount of time that didn’t even register, ended up in Allentown, and after having a panic attack at the rest stop (should I stay or should I go, now) and then the record store parking lot, I spent an hour perusing records. I left with with a few $2 used guys, the only Nick Drake record in print right now (Five Leaves Left), a Simon & Garfunkel box collection, and a recording of Joni Mitchell in Europe from before I was born. I don’t listen to Simon & Garfunkel but it felt like a wave I had to ride.
This trip away didn’t cure the feelings roiling within my chest. It was nice to drive through the mountains though,
to see the sky.
What I learned was that
I can’t outrun myself.
Running because I want to isn’t the same as running because I feel I have to or because staying put feels so bad. Ultimately, the outcome of the latter is not sustainable. Recognizing where the pain is coming from probably will be the best way to slice it,
to dive through it.
Easier said than done, I know.
It is not easy to sit with pain and discomfort,
to let it seep through you
to sort it into piles and be with it.
Being stuck inside my head all the time doesn’t feel great, either. Externalizing helps, I think. I keep saying, I should go to the library this week. Just to get out of the house. I should take a walk. And I will, and I will go to the beach, too. I will give myself a break this week.
I am seeing that self-analysis only gets me so far, and interacting with others, asking for support, and sitting in the grass once in a while will bring me closer to answers.
We can learn something from placing ourself outside. That is literally and figuratively.
Case in point, the guitar lesson I had this week was so helpful, not just in clarifying the song I’m writing, but also in providing me with another perspective as I shift around in this space that feels a lot like self-imposed isolation and loneliness which does not have to exist as deeply rooted as it does.
I don’t have to wallow. I don’t have to isolate. I have a community and I have a park and I have outlets. You don’t have to wallow either. If nothing else, you’ve got me.
You may need a break, too.
Whether that looks like being kinder to yourself, or whether that looks like a vacation or a social media hiatus
(I need all of these things, which is why I deleted Instagram this week.)
so take it. Make it a priority to take it.
Here is my intention for this week. Please give yourself a break, too. Take a walk, take a breath. Call a friend, call someone you love. Plan a dinner with friends. Remember what a privilege it is to be breathing. Remind someone else, too, or share this with them.
Take care of you,
As I mentioned Nick Drake — a handful of fabulous artists released a record commemorating his music, The Endless Coloured Ways, which has moved me to tears. Hazey Jane II is my favorite.
On August 10th, I am hosting and featuring in my first poetry reading, taking place in Philadelphia. If you’re local (or not) and can make it, I’d be honored to have you join us.