It just began raining here. I know, in Washington, in the middle of May, that’s not breaking news. (How is it the middle of May?!)
I’m actually sitting in a little cottage on a bluff overlooking the Puget Sound. A writer’s dream, right? I’ve got my wine, my “Mellow Pop” station on Napster, and no deadlines looming over my head – except my own. Hence the getaway in the middle of the week. I’m trying to find my voice again by removing the familiar from the equation.
The familiar isn’t always such a good thing. Right now, my apartment doesn’t always feel like a refuge. Sometimes, it feels like a prison and my anxiety and depression control the locks. Despite being surrounded by love and family, I’ve been in solitary confinement for the past few months. It’s been so difficult to explain.
I’ve spent the past decade expressing my feeling with the written word but it’s been getting more difficult lately.
I’m blocked, stuck, stunned, aghast, overcome.
What? I’m a writer after all. I couldn’t pick just one word.
I’ve already talked about why I’m a bad friend. That’s been just part of the equation.
Don’t even get me started on the current state of affairs in the U.S. and the world. No, really, don’t. I will go on all night, and my AirBnB hosts will find me curled up in the fetal position Thursday morning.
I’m not sure where exactly this post will go. Let’s read and see.
I’ve “lost” a lot of friends in my life over the course of the past 12 months. Though I’m not sure if lost is the right word. In some instances, I’ve felt used. Others, confused. But mostly, my give-a-damn is broken.
On the days I’m feeling hella emotional (read: hormonal), the sadness and doubt does creep in. Was a I bad friend? Am I a horrible person? Why am I not good enough? Then I spiral down emails and text messages, Facebook memories, thinking about ways I can salvage things.
Something similar happened last night. Over the course of the past 6 months, my personal email has gotten out of control. I had over 9K unread emails, so I decided to weed out newsletters, promotional emails, etc to get to the ones that mattered. In one go, I deleted over 10,000 emails. Normally, that would freak me out.
What if there were emails I want to keep in there?
What about the important conversations?
What if there was something I could need in the future?
That little panic only lasted a minute. Maybe less. Because deleting those emails took my inbox back to last year, and with a couple of clicks, to 4 years ago.
There were emails I’d kept and re-read COUNTLESS times, with a sinking feeling in my gut every time. They were angry emails. Emotional emails. Conversations that ended friendships. Friendships that I neglected when I was overwhelmed. Emails I never responded to.
Reading through those messages, I was calm last night for the first time in a long time. I’ve been doing better about letting go of the pain and “what ifs” – mainly because of the constants in my life.
Among the sea of disappointment, there were emails of support.
Unconditional friendship, time and time again, from a reliable few.
Reminders that I’ve been through worse, so much worse, and came out of it. Not necessarily on top but no longer on the bottom.
There are friendships that I’ve neglected but I know that an email from me will hopefully get us back on the right track. Those are the relationships I want to nurture, if it’s the right thing to do.
Sometimes, keeping the emails are good.
However, there will come a time when you need to select all and delete, without a second thought.
Because life is too short and too long at the same time.
Besides, I’d rather spend my time looking for rainbows after the storm.