I spend a lot of time feeling relieved.
For me, relief goes hand in hand with gratitude, so I also spend a lot of time feeling almost absurdly grateful.
I had an ex once who didn’t like it if I said anything about how lucky something was. I think he saw it as tempting fate, that if we spoke about the good things in our lives, that would somehow make them go away. I began to feel the same way, like my noticing and appreciating would be what caused something to be taken from me, snatched so rapidly it would be gone before I realized it. It wasn’t a stretch for me, this attitude, raised in constant vigilance watching for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the next crisis to hit.
But I don’t actually believe in that. I don’t think me noticing goodness, feeling grateful and lucky, means I’m more likely to lose. I think a lot of bad things that happen are kind of random, or else they’re due to choices like being a smoker or spending a lot of time driving too fast or eating nitrates, which I guess increases your risk of getting pancreas cancer. But I don’t think bad things happen because we don’t take the good ones for granted.
As for my vigilance, it’s still present. I can feel it scanning my life the way my laptop looks for a wifi connection. And it doesn’t find anything.
And it doesn’t find anything.
And it doesn’t find anything.
And I am so fucking relieved I don’t even know how to put it into words. It suffuses me until I feel almost giddy.
And my relief turns to gratitude turns to happiness because I don’t take the simplest things for granted.
Sometimes I sit on my couch at night, and I’m reading, and I’m texting, and I’m maybe watching a show. It is quiet. I feel peace steal into my heart, and then I go upstairs to bed, and it’s all simple, so completely un-noteworthy. And I am so happy about all of it. Because everything is okay, and there are no crises I have to deal with, and I can just … be.
I am so happy about dancing, I often don’t want to shut up about it. I stay up too late. My enthusiasm is written plain on my face and body for anyone to see. And I want to take you all by the hand, one by one, and I want to say, “Don’t you see!” Because I couldn’t dance at all–AT ALL-for years. My ankle, my knees, my back, my neck, my body was as twisted up in knots as my life was. And I couldn’t dance, and I couldn’t even afford to think about dancing because the grief would have been too much for me.
And now I get to dance every week, sometimes more, and it feels like an honest-to-God miracle. My bodyworker/trainer hugged me after our session today because he knows. He’s been working with me for five years. He says he’s never seen someone’s body turn around the way mine has. I am so relieved I want to curl up in the corner and bawl my eyes out. I’m so grateful I can hardly contain it.
It’s as if I spent my entire life living in one of those dystopic environments–Robert Silverberg’s city tower or Sondheim’s department store or Ray Bradbury’s Venus–and I’ve finally made it outside. I feel the sun warm my face, and the air tastes like fresh cold water, and everything smells like baked bread and honey. And I’m still in awe that this is even a place that exists, let alone that I get to be here.
I spend a lot of time feeling relieved. I spend more time in simple appreciation.