"It's no good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You've got to stick to it all your life.
Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in. At times! But you have to wait for the times.
Accept your own aloneness and stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when they come. But they've got to come. You can't force them."I should be practicing my math problems tonight. I have a test soon, then another in abnormal psychology, then quizzes and papers in film, and the week after spring break lets loose a deluge of homework which I'm bobbing up and down in with the swirling water. But some nights are for writing. Like this one.
— D.H. Lawrence
— D.H. Lawrence
This afternoon, I went to my school and ordered my cap and gown. I wrote my name out on a whiteboard, then held it up as they made me speak into the recorder so it will be announced correctly. They asked me if I wanted to buy the extra yellow cords because I am graduating with honors.The girls behind the messy desk, probably eight or ten years my juniors, looked at me blankly, as if the three of us knew it was only community college, after all. And it is. And I bought those cords and told them I needed to. I needed to.
Because when relatively big things happen in my very small life, I have to grab hold of them with everything I have. When something joyful approaches, I want to take it by the hand for as long as it's there. I'm not wise, but I am smart enough to understand that some of my depression is caused by whatever chemical, hereditary, biological pieces inside me. The rest is caused by choices that I've made, and the consequences of making those choices.
So I grasp the good, when I'm handed a nice evening for a walk, or a silly joke emailed from my mom. When I have a moment to meet a friend at Starbucks, or an invite for pie with my dad. When I run my fingers over a pretty, new dress at the store, or have a chance to buy ten dollar cords for a graduation gown simply to tell the world I tried so very hard at this college student thing, I have to grasp it and run with it until I have no energy left to run.
Depression is not something that will let go of me. I've had too many years of the ebbs and flows to know any other way. But when there is a chance at a blessing, big or small, I hold it to my chest in thanksgiving. The biggest of these blessings are the arms of two little souls who call me mama.
Millie and Walter won't be there six weeks from now, when I hear my name called and move my tassel from one side to the other. The graduation ceremony is very late in the evening, and they will both be sleeping peacefully in their beds while I'm across town with my heels and sweaty palms. And yet, they are the ones who will be with me most of all. I tell myself that I have worked to get this silly associate degree for me, for my happiness- but really, it is for that hope of making them proud in some small way. The hope of spurring them on to do better things with their lives than I have done.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself that the loneliness will come and go. Sometimes, I can't write a blog post that will be able to explain why things hurt or why I'm sad. Yet I have a little girl and a little boy that God gave me, and I can grab on to their joy. I can encourage it, even, and do my best to cultivate it. Life as an adult is harder than any of us dreamed when we were children. But, oh, these children of mine have so much happiness, and in such simple things.
We'll chase those things together, with my left hand holding hers and my right hand holding his. We'll find the secret and the sweet and the silly together. My lonely will get chased away in those moments.
And when life slows as the decades pass, I'll have countless stories to remind myself of, and to tell them when they get weary, too. The legacy of these moments is where my heart hopes to store up treasures.