November is a hard month. And maybe I should find a synonym because November is crappy, depressing, painful. Maybe that’s a better word, too. November is a painful month.
November holds many anniversaries. Anniversaries James and I once shared, which is why I wonder if there will come a time when I will stop noticing dates and what once happened on them. Maybe the days will blur together at a point. Maybe. I say this because James and I got engaged this month. A time when promises were made, and this promise — to spend our lives together — meant more to me than our actual wedding date. That’s because November 1st was the beginning, a time we promised to be together for the next month and the next and all the months after until we couldn’t count anymore. November even holds, what we used to call, our “dating” anniversary. We never really had a specific date on the calendar that we became boyfriend and girlfriend, a time when we entered a committed relationship so we went back, tracing life to a day when it possibly started. That was November 21st. Then there’s November 1st again but years later. This is the anniversary of me moving into an apartment, of me living alone. A time when things changed.
That’s what November means to me. Change, and I guess you saw it too just differently. You saw those bright colors, vibrant, brilliant colors before they burst, faded, and turned brown. November, to me, feels like those leaves that are decomposing on the ground. And I know that life is dormant right now, and I know that it will come back . . .
but right now that’s exactly how I feel — dormant.
Now that I am alone, I find I am quiet, retreating inside of myself more and more. I am finding I like being alone, which is strange because the person I was before thrived when she was around people. That person before was loud and stubborn and outgoing and outspoken.
I remember who that person was in the same way I remember a story someone tells — I know this story, I’ve heard it before, but I don’t really know. It’s like I wasn’t there. This is why I also find I am in my own head more, having conversations with myself . . . sometimes under the guise of blogging and talking to you. But the truth is I am not the same person I once was. Now, I get anxious when there is any type of get-together. Now, I cancel plans if I cannot foresee exactly what the day holds. Now, I find it is getting harder and harder to do things, whatever “things” is.
Sometimes people understand this. Sometimes they don’t.
I have great friends that encourage me, that look out for me.
They tell me I should get out more, go outside, see people. They have even said the word ‘date.’
But all of this feels like pressure. I cannot quite word how I feel in a way that they understand yet. How can I word finding someone that you love and promising and picturing and planning a life together? How can I word that this person made me a better, made me whole, made me good? How can I word that this half of me is gone — poof, vanished, disappeared. It’s hard to word that. It’s hard to word having to start over when almost a decade of your life has disintegrated. I guess I don’t know where to start, how to start — the wording or building my life again. It’s hard.
I have a friend that tells me often, “Happiness is a state of mind. It is something you have to work to accomplish, but it can be done.” This is also the same friend that says with every moment of happiness, there is a price to pay, but it is worth it. I don’t agree. I think happiness should be free. I think happiness should feel light, easy. Yet, this is not what I see and feel. So maybe I should agree with my friend because happiness is just that — a price to pay, a bill coming. I’m simply not ready yet. I’m not ready to work, labor at accomplishing something that will turn around and slap me with a Payment Due.
Plus, I have nothing to offer, nothing to pay with. I feel scooped out, empty, silent.
So today, I promised myself something: Try. I told myself, “Self, I know you don’t want to go outside. I know you don’t want to see people. Even if you don’t know those people outside, you don’t want to see them. But self, try. Try for an hour or so to simply go out. And self, if you do that, you can come back and I will reward you with letting you be alone.” This made me feel happy. It was a bit of time I had to do something I didn’t want to do, but I could go back to what was comforting. I could go back to my bed or my pajamas or cuddling with my dog or whatever it was I wanted to do. I could allow myself that. “Okay, self. I will try” because that’s all I can do now is try. And somehow the word “try” doesn’t feel like pressure, commitment, change. It just means . . . try.
Today I took a walk around the city, with my dog by my side.
And I took pictures of the murals. I have been intrigued with the murals since they first appeared . . . and I continue to be intrigued with them as they spread like a virus, a good virus . . . if there is such a thing. Anyway, I found something strange: In all of the murals I came across today, I felt attached to them, deeply, innerly (and yes, I’m aware I made up a word). They seemed to be illuminated, to stand out . . . for me. They seemed to show me something, tell me something. They made me think and question.
And they kept guiding me around the city, like a breadcrumb trail.
One I kept following and following, pausing where the artists that had stopped before.
To be truthful, I’m not even sure what it all means. I understood the messages separately, but I still don’t understand them as a whole. Even so, I do know this: It felt good. This journey or viewpoint or whatever it is, it felt good.