my voice isn't what you need right now, but Silence is betrayal.
1. Make a list of all of the things you want to accomplish during the COVID-19 quarantine. 2. Get immediately stressed out by the list. 3. Throw the list away.
The Bond House had a baby. Well, Michael and Claudia had a baby, and the rest of us are proud aunts and uncles. Mara was born into a strange world on a Friday morning after 3 days of labor. Shortly after, she stopped breathing and turned blue. After she was stabilized, doctors informed the new family that their daughter would have to remain under observation for five days before coming home. We were relieved that there was a plan in place, to know that she was getting the care she needed; but while Mom, Dad, and Abuelita focused on their Little Love, the rest of us were coming to the realization that our lives would soon be upheaved by more than just this small new life.
I mark my life with music. If there's a song in my playlist, there's probably a strong memory associated with it. With the rise of streaming services such as Spotify, I have enough data to serve soundtrack to my years going back to 2016. There's always a theme (and that theme is usually "Power ballad me to work, Glass Animals"), but this year was different. 2019 was hard as I came to terms with parts of myself I didn't even know were there. It was hard as my family struggled to keep itself together. It was hard as I said goodbye to things that I loved. It was hard as I realized that this was a year of healing stasis, not action.
Healing is a complicated journey. You can think that you’re all done, but then something happens to remind you that more time is needed. The worst part about that is that the wound doesn’t need to tell you that it’s there because you’ll check for yourself. Like with a bruise that’s turned green, you poke at the pain to see if it lingers. “Hm, does this hurt? Let me test it.” You apply more and more pressure until you can feel the pain again. It’s never as bad as the initial injury, but it’s still there. Different, but there.
Months ago now, I told you that I was feeling better than I have in my whole life. That's still true. In fact, sometimes I forget that I have depression. Sometimes I forget how bad things actually were. Sometimes I forget how it feels to lay on the kitchen floor and cry. Sometimes I forget that I attempted suicide. But the thing about depression is that it doesn't forget you. Depression has a long memory. Depression is a long memory. So yes, I am okay. So yes, I still have depression.
Another year has come and gone, and I have to admit that 2018 was amazing. With 2017 being such a roller coaster, the consistent joy of this past year was a relief. I found myself in this position of, for the first time in years, feeling utterly safe and comfortable--which led to this bizarre experience of being able to flourish (sort of like a house plant that's been replanted in more enriching soil).
As many of you know, last year sent me careening into an entirely new mindset and lifestyle. Gone was the overly-prudent-and-homebody Bailey, and in her place was the new cool-sophisticated-ready-for-adventure Bailey. It was the summer affectionately dubbed: The Summer of Yes. It changed everything. Now, many months and adventures later, I find that the Summer of Yes has returned. Hallelujah.
Had you asked me a month ago, I would have told you that I had been depressed for a few years. Which, of course, was true. With the occasional reprieve offered by a "good" day or week, depression has been a constant companion. But it's only recently, as I come to strange degree of comfort, do I finally recognize that I have been in an exhausted, joyless shell for more than half a decade. And, for the first time since then, I can honestly say that I feel wide awake.
We start the year with the best of intentions. But how could we not when we prime ourselves to fall in love with a new year? We throw parties for them. We toast to their good health. We dress up. We make them feel special. For the moment, 2018 is the most beautiful thing to grace your presence since you treated yourself to Chipotle last week. But much like your relationship with that burrito bowl, it's hard to know how long the love will last.