Once upon a time, I felt in my own, thankfully. Or, at minimum, I believed that because I had to make use of a location in this lifetime that I loved dearly, that I’d overcome barriers and heartbreak to get that lifetime, it was mine forever, and thankfully after was guaranteed. I believed I could will my way to a happily ever afterward.
Maybe that was naive from the start. Perhaps I should have known that life may never be a storybook –that fairy tales were too neat for the chaos and messiness that’s real life. However, I didn’t.
I did not understand that my healthy husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I did not even entertain the idea he wouldn’t be okay in the end. I did not understand when the standard of maintenance failed, or the medication which was touted as a miracle ruined him, or if he looked at me and I couldn’t see him anymore. I did not understand until after that he expired instead of beating the cyst and defying the odds. And suddenly, then I did. Also, it wasn’t only the notion of happily ever then ceased to exist. However, the idea that the universe proved to be a safe spot to live stopped existing.
When my spouse died, I learned using complete certainty that there was no sequence, no chaos, no equity. The different shoes might drop at any moment; the matter that should never happen might happen as it’s happened once before.
It’s tough to dwell in this place of hyper-vigilance. It means being awake, trying out the weaknesses in just about any step forward. This never means entirely taking a feel heavy breath because it’s necessary to wait for just a little in case you need it for the autumn.
Because of this, every decision is made from the strain between imagine should this could be the last time and imagine if this could be the last moment. That strain involving any moment may be your last, and it ought to dwell, and every moment may be the last, and it needs to be shielded. The stress between living as fully and brilliantly as you possibly can and perhaps not alive at all as the further you reside, the more you need to reduce.
To know that at any given moment, the rug can be torn from under me, some lingering triumphs I’ve made could be erased, any happiness I’ve found could be momentary means I’m constantly on guard. It is tiring at a standard calendar year.
You can’t escape frustration and despair in 2020. People are dying by the thousands out of a virus a few refuse to take seriously. The country is divided as it has been, and the voices advocating hate and violence are far too loud, too persistent. Simultaneously, the chaos of life and the unfairness that ripped the rug out from underneath me once before remains present. In just the past two weeks, a mommy’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. The other’s wife was still hospitalized. A teenage boy’s cyst came back. Just a tiny girl was newly diagnosed using a vicious disease. Marriages are falling apart. Friendships are damaging—all in my small corner of the universe.
Consequently, I am at wildly flailing to nail down anything safe and profiting out of all as nothing is not secure.
Recently, in a brand-fresh and budding relationship, I grasped for reasons to push the relationship into a place of seriousness I was not ready for it to take, to recapture the security I felt in my union backward when happily ever was a certainty. At precisely the same point, in any fact of insanity, of unpredictability or doubt from the relationship, I found myself pulling away too fast and too unexpectedly as a preventative measure for self-protection because I understand happily ever after isn’t real. Neither method produced the universe feel safer. In reality, in the quest to locate some safety, a specific sequence in the universe, I generated even more instability. It was only when I quit hands, once I recognized that wanting to induce happily ever later would lead to losing happily ever after, and trying to cover up out of risk, and potentially losing, thankfully after will mean I’d never achieved happily ever, I realized the world might not be safe, however, that the other shoe will drop whether I rush blindly forward or hide from it all.
And possibly that is all to say once upon a time, and happily ever afters had always been overrated. Maybe the absolute truth is, even residing in that anxiety between what if it all goes wrong and imagine should it goes right ensures you live, not with naïve blinders and never with paralyzing fear, however with eyes wide open. Maybe recognizing that the universe is not secure, but that it’s also limitless, means finding elegance for yourself and empathy to the others, and letting yourself take that deep breath without holding back anything…even if only one time.