It's 8:46 pm on Monday night and I should be at a bar. Seriously, I was invited to some kind of literary/performance something something by a friend of mine. I wanted to go--I've been feeling disconnected from writing in general lately and thought the event (whatever it might have been) would've been a good way to re-connect. And I was all ready. Then, about 10 minutes before I needed to leave, I suddenly wasn't so ready.
I don't know exactly what happened; although it's never been easy for me to get involved in new things on my own. So maybe it was social anxiety. Maybe I was not up to the exhausting task of entering a room full of strangers and either pretending to be perfectly comfortable in my skin or pretending to be perfectly capable of making interesting small talk. Maybe it was something else.
My friend Maxine--who's had her share of grief in the handful of years I've known her (and who has managed to steer her way through it was a grace that I find astounding)--gave me some advice right after my father passed away. She said that I should respect my grief and give it room. And that made perfect sense to me. It was probably the best, most comforting thing I'd heard. And so maybe that's what I did tonight. I gave the grief some room. Because I think that's what happened. I think this whole weird couple of months reared it's weird head tonight. It does that sometimes. Suddenly something happens. I'm fine one moment, then the next...not so much. And I can't explain or predict it.
And I was looking forward to going out tonight. Like I said, I've been feeling disconnected. I've been trying to write, but I guess I'm blocked or something. But I can't figure out if there's something in my way or if I'm in my way. Lordy knows I've got novels worth of stuff bouncing off the walls of my brain, but I can't decide if it's moving too fast for me to capture, or if I'm just too scared to access it. I don't know.
What I do know is I got knocked sideways a few months ago. One minute it was a brand new year, I was getting ready to start a new job and I had just celebrated my 40th birthday surrounded by great friends and my family. And then, four days later, it all came crashing down. And while I think I manged to crawl out from under the rubble, I'm still a bit shaken and dazed. How long will it last? I'm not sure. Those in the know tell me the first year is the hardest. If that's the case, I've got about nine months under my belt.
Here's to hoping the next year is better than the last.