Mostly these days, I’m doing badly. I’m not sharing this fact to elicit pity. In fact, it’s one of the things I least desire. Nor am I seeking advice on how to make it “through” this moment, nor how to fix/heal/find closure. It’s simply how I am.
For some months this fall, I felt a lot of tension and anxiety about how to navigate my relationship with the outside world following Rafael’s death. I’d say that some of my feeling badly now is still related to this: wondering how to reengage with the world, return to work, be with other people. But something has changed, settled down a little. Maybe I’m aware that other people aren’t thinking so much about how I am or feeling as uncomfortable around me because nearly five months have passed. (Note: I recognize that many ideas I have about other people and the external world-at-large are fantasies and projections that most likely exist only in my head.)
Continue reading Pendulums
I have a somewhat strange practice that I do at the beginning of each year. A while back, a friend of mine told me about las Cabañuelas: in some Oaxacan communities people believe that one can learn something about the upcoming year by paying a bit more attention to what happens in the first twelve days of January. Each day corresponds to an upcoming month. I like the idea of seeding intentions or understanding better what one could expect of the year, simply by being more aware during its first days. And so, since 2015 I have been writing monthly intentions for the year between the first and twelfth of January.
But since Rafa’s death, time is different – I no longer live it as a mere instrument to mark the passing of specific events. Though I’d like to still believe that time is divisible, limited, linear… I no longer believe it’s that simple. I now experience linear time as a trick. When I turned to the month of December in my calendar this year, I read the intention there, shook my head and laughed cynically. It said: “Enjoy the moments of feeling good and wellbeing. It is a time to celebrate a wonderful, magical year.”
Below that, in pencil, I wrote myself a note in response: “Fuck you, former self.”
Continue reading Four Times: I Always Knew
A few days ago, we returned home from the YES! Jam, a gathering here in Mexico that some friends and I began dreaming up before Rafael was even conceived. The Jam was an important milestone in my healing process since the plan had originally been to participate as a family. It was supposed to have been Rafa’s first encuentro with people from his extended global family of friends and non-blood siblings. The time was good and hard. There’s some gratification that comes with simply completing the gathering. This completion helps me to remember that time is passing, that I am still alive and moving forward. There is the lingering sadness that was more alive (or had more room) during the time we were together; our togetherness somehow made Rafa’s absence more present. There are questions about how much I should continue to self-identify first and foremost as a bereaved mother, asking myself if that is healthy or useful. There was space for anger (which I have struggled with letting out). There was this beautiful little one-year-old, Andino. There was also a fuck-ton of laughter and fun and joy! I felt bathed in the light of the community: the light of each person and the glow of our collective power.
Continue reading Messiness: Everything All At Once