Suddenly, normal was gone.
My First Response: YOGA!
I told everyone how to be yogic about this,
how to breathe, take it one day at a time, be grateful,
how to stay in the present moment,
how to be in one’s body, feeling,
loving the ones we’re at home with,
delighting in nature, the rhythms of the day.
Then my kids went back to their dad
and I found myself alone.
My Second Response: NOOOOOOOOOOO!
I wish I hadn’t watched all those episodes of The Walking Dead.
I wish I had known a Pandemic was coming.
I wish I had decluttered my house first.
I wish I had met my soulmate before the Pandemic,
so that we could be inside, together,
sitting by a sweet fire, enjoying a Quaran-tini.
I wish I had been well-established in my dreamhouse
and my dream work and my dream life
before the Pandemic,
I wish I had been so busy being successful
that I would actually need a vacation
and all this social distancing now.
Alas, all I can do is look back and say
Lorien, you were barely scraping by.
You were tired all the time.
You didn’t have time to do anything except work and mother.
Maybe it’s ok to be alone on my birthday during a pandemic.
Maybe I’ll celebrate this breath. This life.
This being here regardless of what anyone else thinks.
When you’ve gotten in the habit
of being unhappy
it might take a minute to figure out
how to be happy again.
But happiness is a habit,
just like unhappiness.
Habits are formed bit by bit,
day by day…
Choose to be happy
for just a second longer today
than you were yesterday
and you are headed in the right direction.
I feel lost, alone, directionless, uncomfortable.
What is my purpose?
It says: You have no purpose.
But why I am I alive?
It says: There is no reason. You should end it.
But what about my children?
It says: They’d be better off without you.
And my yoga students?
It says: You’ve been lying to them all along.
It’s time they knew the truth.
But surely this will one day get better?
It says: Not for you. You will never be happy.
But what about nature? The sun? The forest?
The cycles of life?
It says: What about them? You’re still depressed.
You’ll always be depressed. Face it. End it.
But I can’t do that to them. To my friends. My family.
It says: Why not? They don’t care. Not really.
Not enough to help you or save you.
I know there are other voices in my head.
Why is It the loudest?
I taught all my yoga classes
(seven in three days)
and I am exhausted.
I had dinner in Westminster
with my cousin and her family,
gave my father a card and a hug.
Back home the loneliness sets in.
My kids are with their dad and his girlfriend,
and I keep seeing
families playing together,
wondering how my life got to this,
where I’m working myself to exhaustion
just to make ends meet,
homeless in less than a month,
angry at the injustice,
lonely without my kids.
I want this to change.
I am willing to change.
But I need help to see beyond my pain.
I’ve been working my @ss off,
trying to boost my finances
for what will come.
I’m tired, overhwhelmed,
my body aches, my mind is fuzzy,
and I’m flooded with a sense of futility.
And it hits me…
I’m doing what my
grandmothers and grandfathers did…
I am struggling just to get by.
I thought when I married him
I’d be taken care of.
I’d raise our children
and take care of the house
and he would take care of us.
But that dream was shattered
in an ugly, unkind way.
How can my faith in life be restored?
My family struggled through
the Great Depression.
And countless ancestors before them
struggled through poverty, famine,
sickness, and endless toil…
and through it all…
they somehow survived to procreate.
And so I was given a chance at life.
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been given this chance.
If I had known I would end up here,
wondering where I’ll live
and if I’ll have the mental fortitude to keep going,
I’m not sure I would’ve signed on.
What’s the point of living
when you’re struggling just to get by?
And I’m being asked to take on
and even greater challenge…
be strong for my progeny,
give them a reason to keep going,
pretend through it all
that I’m good at this,
that I like this,
that this is all ok.
Hats off to all the single moms out there
who managed to pull this off…
you deserve an award for your performance.
But frankly I resent being here.
I resent the weight of this burden.*
*I just want to acknowledge that in comparison to many, many people on this planet I am doing quite well. I currently have food, clothing, shelter (for now) and access to resources that could be of help. I recognize that all my whining and moaning and complaining about my situation here might elicit absolutely no sympathy at all from people who have been through far worse. I’m just sharing how I feel. I don’t expect that my feelings make sense to anyone. I’m just sitting in the middle of my own suffering wishing I could get away from it. Maybe one person out there knows this feeling. Maybe one person out there now knows that they aren’t alone.
A deep and pervading sense of futility strikes.
Why keep struggling?
You’ve been fighting for two years.
Where has it gotten you?
All this hard work…
what has it amounted to?
People say they wish they could help,
but there is no follow through.
I’m learning that I would rather people say, “Gosh, that sucks. I’m sorry” rather than “I can help.” Public service announcement: Do not offer to help a single mother on the verge of eviction and then realize later that there is nothing you can do to help her.
Afraid for what awaits
in the emptiness
of my once shared space.
Grieving still what was…
wondering when I’ll be set free
from this self-imposed prison.
What do I need to do to let go
all the way?
The way this works,
if there is one shred of holding on,
the whole thing takes root again
and grows stronger than ever before.
I need grace
to help me let go all the way.