This month's Keep Writing postcard was inspired equally by something Louis CK said in an interview with Terry Gross, and by the month of sudden sadness I feel every summer. Though I love my birthday, it often leads to deep introspection, and the discoveries are often subtle and heavy at the same time.
The most lasting effect of the hurricane was the feeling of isolation and disconnect from my friends. I was traveling with a few of them, but the days where I could not contact others, how they could not contact us, that we left town without one friend who later told me how he got out (it involved sleeping in an abandoned car and riding a child size bicycle on the empty highway), and the following months of distrust towards strangers, the damaged feeling, the suspicion and hurt.
I've written about this, about how those of us already involved in the bike shop started spending all the daylight hours there. How we were happy to do something with our hands. How the movement calmed our minds, focused the energy.
It is difficult to be of use to sometime and also to find the time to wallow, which is not the same as mourning. Sadness isn't always also helplessness. There are things to be sad about . But we can't let it paralyze us. We have to be able to keep moving, making small circles with our fingers and toes, waking ourselves from slumber.
Small movements might not save you. Distractions might not save you. I have found that keeping busy in a useful way will help keep perspective for me. But sometimes you need more than that. Sometimes you need some one else to offer perspective. Talk to your friends and family. If you are feeling that you are without options it might be difficult to realize that you are not. I lost one friend after the hurricane to suicide and now recently another. The best we can do now is to help each other heal. Its a long month and I am grateful, so grateful, for friends who like late night talks, and don't mind a sudden change of plans and are ok sitting in the grass letting the feelings come. The point is to do what you need to to survive. And when you are no longer in crisis, you can start to see the way out, to make the healthy choices to sustain. This was a long hard lesson to learn, that I am still learning. Take care, y'all.