This September, I am trying on my new authenticity shoes. The ‘look them in the eye and be honest’ shoes. It has made me realize that so many people (including me) are afraid to have a real conversation about stuff that hurts. Maybe these are the kind of relationships I have surrounded myself with because it keeps me from having to face too much hurt as well. I remember acutely the time when I was telling my flatmate about being racially verbally assaulted on a London tube and no comfort came from her. Nothing that acknowledged the gravity of the injustice I was feeling. I also deeply regret the time my parents told me about their racial discrimination experiences and I could not come up with words of comfort and acknowledgement, so lost was I in my own anger and hurt for them. It’s hard to face the people you love when they are hurting.
This September, I told an old ex-friend exactly how I felt about her actions and why I wasn’t her friend anymore. I had given her 2 years to explain herself and she never did, so I finally broke it off. She couldn’t face me. I didn’t have much too lose because we weren’t really friends anymore anyway. On the other hand, I shied away from telling another nest friend the excruciating detail of how I had spent the afternoon writhing in pain, hopelessness, and frustration. How I wished I could have a more normal and active social life. How I hated being disconnected from my Geneva life and how much it meant that she was coming to visit me. How her visit was what I had been holding on to to get through this very strange weekend of deep deep loneliness. Why it felt so wrong to be cut out of our plans together because of my disability. What it feels like to live a muted life, made dull by a lack of variety of the experiences I reveled in before, but sharpened by pain.
This September, I had a very close friend visit my home for the first time in the U.S. It was the best day ever. It was like my heart was full and bursting and overflowing all at once. I showed her my hood, had salad for lunch, went to town on my route, went to a museum, walked around a park, came back to eat my home-cooked dinner; then we sat down to watch a Bollywood rom-com. It was perfect. I would have liked to do more and maybe we came back home too soon but aside from the pain, it was perfect.
This September, I literally positive thinked my way out of the strangest pit of loneliness. This one took my back to London, to the rainy nights and cold winds, to the feeling of having no one and that nothing could make me happy. It was like I forgot what it was like to feel connection. And what did it take? Well the desperation to pull myself out of the pit because it would be too long to wait for HD to come back from the work trip, and some passages on feeling powerless and powerful from Amy Cuddy’s book Presence. She writes how a setback in one area of life can make us lose our identity and thus make us feel powerless in other areas of life. I didn’t really get to the solutions part of her book (if there is one) but the passage was enough to make me realize what was messing me up and how it was affecting other areas of my life. It was enough for me to stop seeing myself as ‘powerless’ but just ‘normal’ in that situation. My chances are the same as anyone’s really.
This September, I finally made it to the Renwick and a saw a bit of the Wonder exhibit.