I’m posting twice today. This is the scheduled Sunday update. Enjoy, if you’re so inclined.
Write the damn thing.
I broke up with my fiancée June 6th, four days before her birthday. It was an accident, the break up before her birthday. I forgot. It wasn’t my finest moment. We did the best we could. I did the best I could. That doesn’t make it better. She and I talked on the sofa in our living room. Right before she walked in the front door from work, I was reading about assisted suicides. It had started by looking up the plot to Me Before You. It is neither of great significance nor meaningless that I was researching such a topic now. It is a point of fact, that’s kind of funny, and kind of strange. Like most things. To my mind.
I started couch surfing shortly there after. I couldn’t leave Cincinnati right away. There were errands to run. The decision to do the backpack life wasn’t immediate. It doesn’t matter now. It didn’t then. Why we do things is retrospective. There is only how we continue to move, and perhaps what we move towards, through, from.
I’m interested in the How and the What. The Why will creep up on you sooner or later. A Boogie Man of your own design. You can run so far, but you are still running along side yourself.
I loved her right up until I didn’t. “That way”—the qualifier we first learn regarding love. At fourteen, thirteen years old, “do you like him…that way?” I loved her madly and fiercely. I love her still…not that way. There is no nice way to put it, but I can be kind. The distinction is important to me, perhaps out of defense, perhaps out of nuance, perhaps both. This isn’t important now. The most you can give someone is kindness after you break their heart. There is no easy way to navigate another person. It is selfish to look for signs, to stop and ask for a roadmap. I miss her, which sounds stupid and selfish.
I miss her, but not that way.
When it first happened, the break-up, I would tell my friends that I felt I didn’t have a right to be sad. I did the leaving. I did the breaking. Breaking being such a strong verb to describe the act of two people, a perfect pair, suddenly unraveling. But unraveling isn’t right either. I’ll find the word, but not now. But those friends, they’d tell me, “you have the right to feel however you feel”.
And we do. But we do not have the right to put our feelings onto others. We do not have the right to eclipse the sun because we feel bad.
That’s the problem with gluten allergies and anxi-vaxxers. You have the right to avoid gluten, perhaps you even have a medical precedence, but it is not your right to demand everyone accommodate you.
There are seven billion people on this earth. It is not your right to eclipse the sun.
Do unto others as they would have you do unto them, to borrow from Maggie Nelson.
I’m in Ipswich, MA right now. I’m sitting at the kitchen island of my friend Andrew’s childhood home. I just ate a toasted LT, no bacon, all veggies fresh from the garden. I’m sipping the same pot of coffee I’ve been milking since 10:30am. Even on the road, it is easy to grow lax and stop taking care of yourself. Listening to yourself. I’m returning now. To the warm, gentle core of discipline, that positive selfishness required of doing the things that keep you sane. I’m returning now, because I lost sight of that Great Unnamed Something and it took getting to New England to hear the shout.
The Great Unnamed Something, the thing that the most animal parts of ourselves seek, I lost on the horizon of Sticking to the Plan.
Massachusetts went awry. It isn’t sitting well with me. Something’s gone amiss. There are beautiful places in the world where we are not meant to stay.
I’m glad to be in Massachusetts, but not that way. I can’t stay that way. I’m rerouting. I’m returning to Brooklyn, to Jersey City, through October. Then I’m returning to Cincinnati in November, to collect somethings I left. Then I’m going to Atlanta after Thanksgiving, a new part of the trip. I’m trusting my gut. The physical body lies; in wait, in feeling, in the dark. It’s all I have. Home is my own two feet planted in boots.
I’ve been traveling since I broke her heart. It’s high time something went wrong.
I love you. I miss you. I hope to see you soon.