July 05, 2017

i think i'm having an existential crisis

What has been on my mind lately? Everyone wants to know. Facebook. Twitter. I am even unable to compose anything beyond a string of emojis for my Instagram captions lately. I've been neglecting you too, Blogland, and the fog in my brain is starting to make itself more and more apparent. I keep wondering when it's going to click in my head that I need to write like I need to breathe. I need to write for the catharsis it brings. I need to write to make room in my head. I need to write everything down so that I do not forget, and I have not been writing. I have been working. And scrolling. And reading. And watching stuff on Netflix. And playing with the cats. I have been doing everything but writing.

Today I finished reading Devotion: A Memoir by Dani Shapiro. Her story hit sort of close to home for me. The chapter in her book when she learned how to put on her father's tefillin left me in tears. Took me back to me and Justin, cleaning clothes out of my dad's closets in his empty apartment. At one point, I was just standing there, smelling everything, trying to remember his scent. Clean laundry, the stuff hanging in his closets and tucked away in drawers smelled like soap. The same generic soap he used when he lived in Zion after the divorce was still tucked in laundry hamper, anxiously awaiting his return.

Two baskets of dirty laundry overflowed alongside the bed. Weeks worth of work jeans with dirty knees, oil stained t-shirts and the occasional Dad Flannel. All of it had that same soap smell with a garage smell tang. The smell of gasoline and motor oil will always remind me of my father. I grabbed a highlighter yellow Miller High Life t-shirt out of the bottom of one of baskets and threw it in my duffel bag, promising myself I would never forget what he smelled like.

I'm realizing that it's okay to be sad once in a while. It's okay to miss your dad. It's okay to have those days when you just need to curl up in one of his sweatshirts and cry with the sleeves wrapped around you as a surrogate hug that isn't even a fraction of being close to the real thing. I've never felt a loss this huge in my life before. Everyone else we either knew it was coming  so I had time to prepare myself for it, or I was too young and immature to really see and understand the gravity of how much it sucks to lose someone.

For comfort, I have been trying to immerse myself in the lives of other people with the feeble hope that being able to live in 10 second snippets of their lives will somehow compensate for the giant gaping hole that my dad left behind in mine. I watch something on Netflix to stop the compulsive scrolling, but then I just feel even more alone and isolated because Justin and I have vastly different taste in TV shows. Then I can't focus on TV anymore so I pick up a book, and while I'm reading I feel calm and content as can be. I'm focused on something. I'm engaged with whatever story is being told between those pages. But as soon as the last page turns, I'm restless again and unable to focus on another book.

The restlessness is what gets me. It's when the anxiety creeps in at 7:30 on a Wednesday night and says, "When is the last time you hung out with your friends?" Realize how much I miss being in high school, when all of my friends were 10 minutes away and always down to hang out. The fear of rejection didn't sting as hard at seventeen. I feel so disconnected from everyone, and I can't tell if I've done it to myself, or if time has just created a distance between me and my friends that just feels too overwhelming to bridge right now.

I'm waiting, stuck in a perpetual period of limbo that I can't wait to be out of. Justin and I have big plans for our future, but we're stuck at the starting line until those teeth come out of his mouth. I know it's only nine more days, but it feels like an eternity because of all the baby steps we have to take. Teeth out, new jobs, get our finances in check, get married, move out of our in-law's house. Each box is penciled in, waiting to be checked off. The restlessness is clouding my mind, making each day seem impossibly longer than the next.

I'm sick of taking every day as it comes, one day at a time, counting down to one thing or another. I want a sign that it'll all be over soon, that all of this evening sadness and depression naps will be worth it. I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel because I'm having trouble believing that it's still there, shining brightly and waiting to welcome us to the other side.

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