Last new years eve, I wanted to go ape shit crazy. Party and wake up lipstick stained in bed wondering how I got home. I wanted to dance like I was on E. Keep tally of all the people I kissed on my forearm. I ended up playing board games and drinking poorly spiked punch with good honest people that don’t do ape shit crazy. I should have known 2012 would be something fierce.
I stumbled into the year with expectations of rebirth. I created a list of resolutions/statements that sounded poetic and pretty when I pinned them on my wall. Unknowingly, the first statement on the paper, that stared at me everyday when I woke was, “THE YEAR OF LOSS”. My pseudo-soothsayer must have weaved itself into my subconscious, because boy has it been a year of loss. Since Jan 12, 2012 I’ve been writing this post. I remember when I got the phone call from Anila, I ran around my house screaming, resembling Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The silence of the morning crumbling under the weight of my cries. I was the only one home. I collapsed in my living room, screamed your name at the top of my lungs. Maybe I could wrangled your foot with my wails before you fully crossed over the white light threshold. Everything seems plausible when desperation reaches its peak. I think I called Aeisha first, then Adrian, then Sasha, then everything else became a blur. I sat in my bed and stared at my wall, trying to figure out how to call your sister. My heart throbbing through the red in my eyes. Days passed. I attempted to cope. I cried inside an aisle at Walmart. I tried to rationalize your death. Every experience that kept me too busy to hang out, too occupied to call became a soiled memory. Putrid and bubbling over with frivolousness. Your funeral was almost unbearable. In true leo fashion, I was insecure about my sadness. Replayed our years together in my mind, the jokes, our escape antics, the talks, the new things we experienced together. I paid homage to your name through those thoughts, but I couldn’t articulate them in real terms. I couldn’t say anything. I just teared up. Waited for catharsis. I love you Amegie.
I wanted to escape then, run away and get lost in the world. Find myself in dingy candle lit rooms. Found a job in DC, but the soothsayer in me had already prophesied what would come. I lost it. Morosely, I began to succumb to my fate. I was car-less in Atlanta, trying to remain optimistic in a house full of conspiracy theorists. I cried often. I distracted myself with someone I wanted to love. Someone I wanted to fall into. But I knew, as I always do it wouldn’t last. For valentines day it was my mission to make them love me. Shortly after that day the sickness came and decided it wanted stay. A ferocious beast that scared me shitless….you fucking year of loss, I thought to myself. I lost my health. I lost weight. I lost a bit of hope. I lost my “wasn’t going anywhere” relationship, I lost my hair. I lost my sanity for a bit. By the time April started to peek around the corner. I was nearly 25 pounds smaller, balding, and broken. The day I got the contract from the school that wanted to hire me in Korea, I sat on the the side of my bed and cried a mutilated cry. Disfigured in its construction, it came out in spurts. Blaring bursts of the ruptured strength I was trying to hold onto.
I finally exhaled.
In May, I decided I would become celibate. Cut off the few pieces of hair left on my scalp. Decided it was time to regroup, look forward to my future. Summer passed. Connected with a few people. One was a boy that let me send him Jean Genet quotes as text messages and he would quote Machiavelli’s Prince. I wrote a poem for a women that seemed halted by her insecurity.
My Birthday was amazing….danced and laughed with good friends that I know love me. Someone told me they had fallen in love with me on the dance floor in the middle of a club. I almost cried… but all I managed to let out was coy sounding “oop”. I left for Korea the next day.
I didn’t I bombard my fb page with pictures of me smiling in front of landmarks I can’t pronounce the names of. Since arriving in this country, I’ve felt this a very private experience, a quiet pilgrimage towards the adulthood I knew was looming down that dark street my youth was told never to play on.
My days initially of consisted of fags, awkwardness, inebriation, stress, laughter, english textbooks, people watching, note taking, and a lot of listening. Eventually these things faded and my days began to consist of longing. A gnawing desire to connect managed to elude the “go with the flow” attitude I carefully packed in my heart for this experience. I began to ask myself how do you cure longing, discontent, fear in a new country when all of your normal distractions are thousands of miles away?
That’s what we do right, distract ourselves from ourselves. No, its just me, that finds muses, coffee shops and bars hidden down tattered streets, someone to crush on, poems and new friends? Distractions I call them, things that take my mind off whatever it is my heart is asking me to address. Normally through these distractions I find some peace, a subtle reminder that it is not all grim, that the beauty of life will out shine whatever shadows linger.
But here, all those things were gone and I found myself feeling lost. If you know me you know…I need my distractions. Until one evening I was looking up words from other languages because even though I teach it, English can be so limiting. I stumbled upon the Japanese phrase, wabi sabi. It sounds so unassuming and mild, Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and wisdom in nature, of accepting the transient makeup of life, both the good and the bad.
I pondered this for a few days. Found myself in limbo and I hated it. Wabi-sabi threw me for a whirl. It made sense to me but I couldn’t articulate that understanding in real terms. So, I said ok and went on. Lived, drank, met people, and yearned.
It is only now, at the end of February 2013, that I am ready to leave 2012 behind, wash my hands and say ok I understand. I truly get it. I am happy with the coiled edges, the soiled sheets, the brokenness, the loneliness that seemed to well up in me. The rust and the rot, I had to dig out with my bare hands. I am thankful to have loved a friend so dearly, to have known that I can love and be loved, to understand how important my health is, to value the fact that I was broke but not starving, I was tired but not dead.
I think what 2012 taught me was perspective and heartache seem to go well together. That this world is so many things both beautiful and decaying. When we really assess where we are and where we have been, it is the ugly that makes the beautiful gleam. The putrid that makes sweet smells feel tangible. That everything is birthed, grows, and eventually dies. It is the understanding that it will get better. I am thankful to 2012, to wabi-sabi, to my emotions, to my sadness because baby I made it to see another year and my inner pseudo-soothsayer has a feeling this year will be grand.