Yes, it’s been a while. I badly needed a period of retreat and regrouping.

The last two weeks have been revelatory. Though people have seemed to notice some sort of positive shift within me, lately I’m finally starting to feel it myself. It’s been a lot of really hard mental work and emotional weight loss over the last 5 months or so, but I think I can say that I’m genuinely turtling out of it now. Or starting to, at least. I’m still not sure where I’m landing with it all, but I have a much more positive feeling about it than before. So that’s something.

So the deal was that I experienced a heartbreak that affected me much deeper than I expected or realized. I internalized it for the greater part of the last year or so. A lot of things that I did or thought for a while was in reaction to that experience and my collective experience with romance and matters of the heart up to then. When I did my Slump series, I actually thought that I was coming out of the pain from that heartbreak and was starting to feel better. Starting that series was supposed to be about honoring the hardships and negative emotions that we experience on the path towards healing and brighter times, and I did those pieces thinking that I was deep into a period of wellness and prosperity after a long time of struggles before I left my hometown. The ironic thing was that the process of creating that series made me realize that I was nowhere near as well as I thought that I was at the time. I was not over that heartbreak at all. When describing the series I mainly spoke to how we sometimes put up a front to others about our inner selves, but now I can see how much I was kind of trying to fool myself at the time, which is a whole other side to the topic. After that series, I realized that I had a whole new path of growing pains to face. I definitely didn’t want to though! There were a lot of heavy, shitty feelings that I had to recognize and absorb, and I resisted the process at times. However, growth and change are necessary evils.

I don’t know if I can say that I’m completely out of the woods yet, but…almost. I can feel that I’m starting to return to a new sense of contentment and balance. I can feel myself being willing to be a little more open in-person than I was for a time. It’s also getting easier to see possible lessons from the experience and the aftermath. For a long time, it felt like I learned or gained nothing but lost so much. Now, I guess I can say that moving forward I may have a better blueprint for managing my expectations with people and to try not to have so much of myself tied up in any interaction with a person. I may also need to trust myself a little more and be much more careful with my heart. It kind of sucks to admit that though, because I thought that I was already pretty good about that. With that person, I surely thought that I handled myself very well and everything that I saw between us felt real, and natural. I thought that I did almost everything “right.” Nothing about my actions or feelings toward him felt bad or wrong. I wouldn’t have bothered at all if I thought that things were going to end up the way they are now. So to now say that I have to be even more careful than I thought I was just feels like way more work on my end for results that can’t be guaranteed anyway.

Even with all this growth and possible lessons, one thing that I still can’t say that I feel yet is gratitude. Sorry, I just don’t. I know that’s usually one of the first offerings of advice people regurgitate in these situations, but I don’t feel thankful for this loss at all. I don’t feel thankful for these lessons I gained or the way that I had to learn them. It feels like some bullshit sometimes. I would love to have learned these lessons almost any other way. Maybe one day I’ll be able to reach that level of wholeness or some shit, but as of now I’m still nowhere near it. I’m trying to take what I can out of the experience, because I have to, but it doesn’t change how I feel. Maybe one day it’ll hit me and I’ll be thankful for it all. Or not.

That’s all for now. I only wanted to poke my head out for a bit. I’m still alive, just needing to sort out a bunch of internal stuff. I have a couple of pieces in the pipeline before I start working on pieces for shows in the coming year, so I’ll be back soon to share those and talk about them. I hope you’re starting to close out your year with optimism. I’m not sure if that’s my stance yet, but perhaps I’m getting there slowly but surely.