The Sound of Silence

With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel for appropriating their song title, I thought I’d show up here with a brief blurb on why I don’t show up here more often.

As many of you already know, I’m a full time student retraining for a mid-life career change. I’m in my last semester, which is awesome (literally I’m full of awe that I got here without any stops at the loony bin), but also tremendously busy. There are finals, plus professional licensing procedures, plus networking, plus job searching, plus certification… Plus, I still have a part time job and three dogs. Soon there will be moving, too. Yes. So.

There is also depression, which has decided to set up camp this month. As practiced as I am at recognizing and intellectualizing its presence and effects, I’m still struggling with apathy and pessimism. That struggle alone often consumes more of my energy than I can rightfully spare.

Financially, I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish everything. Physically and mentally, I’m tired and worn out all the time (but still – knock on wood – in great health). And emotionally, I’m typically in a constant state of panicked anxiety – except for depression which is a nice, apathetic relief from the constant anxiety. Always nice when the rain cloud has a radioactive lining.

I’m sure I’ll come out the other side victorious, I’m jsut not sure what that will look like. I have a good support system, but most everything is going to fall on my solitary shoulders as all my burdens converge and that’s just the way it is. Basically, life is beating me up, rifling through my pockets, and giving me a really spectacular wedgie at the moment. I’ll survive, but I’ll probably end up walking funny for a little while.

I have so many things I want to discuss here. Sometimes my life feels so surreal, and I wish I could parse it out with more patience and care than I have right now. Politics, relationships, the absolute weirdness that is being a single woman in my 40s – all stuff that takes up brain space but to which I can’t really devote any thinking time. So frustrating. Anyway.

My paypal is aealex75@gmail.com if you’re looking to be supportive. Proceeds will go to my move, probably. There’s a possibility it will be spent on emergency wine, however, so keep that in mind.

Thank you for your readership, your comments, your shares. I’m sorry I’m not here more often, however I’ve kept to a standard of honesty and authenticity that I’m proud of, and I won’t sacrifice that for content. I renewed my domain, though, so you know I’m not disappearing. See you sometime.

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The Death of Unicorns

I remember the exact moment I closed the door on sentimentality. It’s funny because I don’t remember the date, or precisely how old I was, or too many of the relevant details that would make for a cohesive narrative, but I remember the exact moment. It was when I killed the unicorn.

Cohesive narrative notwithstanding, let’s see if I can at least provide some context. I collected unicorns as a girl. I adored them. My favorite bed sheets had unicorns, I had posters, a stuffed unicorn, I begged my parents to rent “The Last Unicorn” every weekend, and as gifts I received figurines that positively littered the top of my dresser. Particular favorites were little blown glass unicorns with gold manes and tails and horns. They were probably cheap, but to my 8 year old mind they were absolute treasures. I loved the way the light gleamed through the smooth glass, or struck the gold like sparks. They felt rich and special and like tiny portals to the high fantasy lands where I so desperately wanted to escape.

We escaped a lot when I was a kid. The grown-ups called it “moving”, but when you do it every year without fail, you’re running from something. It didn’t matter then; it was just a fact of life. The school year ends and the house gets packed. I learned early on how to pack my own room in musty boxes, wrapping my treasures in dry, gritty newspaper. Practice improved my technique. But no matter how careful I was, no matter how meticulous with my ration of coupon inserts, something invariably emerged broken from a box. Leaving was never a disappointment, but arriving always was.

One by one, my tiny blown glass unicorns became casualties of our nomadic life. A horn occasionally, but more commonly a leg or tail. The needle-like edges pricked my fingers as I unwrapped them, their jagged amputations pitiful and useless. They could no longer stand on three crystalline points, one leg raised artfully mid-prance. They couldn’t balance delicately on two hind legs and a tail, a rear forever ruined by the missing point. Somewhere between 9 years old and 11, the second-to-last unicorn broke. I think I remember crying a little as I unwrapped it, but that may have been out of habit because I don’t remember feeling sad for long. It was more like a flash of grief and then a wave of anger. Of course it broke. They always break. No sensible person can expect a child-wrapped glass figurine weighing 2 ounces to survive an interstate move in a U-Haul. Who does that??

I unwrapped the last whole unicorn along side the broken one and stared at it. We’d just arrived at our new house, but as I looked at it all the joy I’d derived from its charm and delicacy was blackened by the knowledge that in a year’s time it would be broken. The inevitability of moving was one of the few certain things in my life. The only constant was change. In that moment, I hated every person who’d ever given me anything breakable. Surely the adults – who created the change, who controlled the change, who knew the change was coming – surely they knew what my child mind grasped? Moves are inevitable. Tiny glass unicorns don’t survive moves. Broken unicorns make me cry. Why do the adults in my life want me to cry?

I threw away the broken unicorn and its intact companion with it. I can’t cry over it if it doesn’t exist. It was a conscious decision to choose relief from loss over whatever fleeting happiness material things could give me. I was somewhere between 9 years old and 11.

Yesterday, I signed the closing papers on the sale of the house my marriage ended in. I left feeling free in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time. Arriving was a disappointment. Leaving never is.