It’s curious that what I am experiencing since the ending of this phase of my course, plus the slow and steady ticking towards the end of the year, is actually a lot of space and openness, and yet again and again, I chose to articulate it as emptiness. Maybe it is both. Maybe it is one or the other, depending on my state of mind at any given moment. But that choice of word — emptiness — is telling and interesting.
This past week and weekend, I sat with this emptiness a lot. The growing distance and spaces between me and many aspects of my life — my slightly nebulous current relationship with work, the yawning silence I have with most all of my closest friends, my family and how I am moving differently around them, cohabiting with VC and sharing all of my living space with him again. It has been a lot to contend with, while also being acutely present to the ever-shifting minutest changes I am experiencing within.
There’s an inexplicable sense of an ending with what feels like multiple open ends in my life, and yet I cannot quite put a finger on it. All I feel very aware of is the ask to stay in the present, with all that I have integrated and all that I am today, while holding space for what was once an old way of being (in similar circumstances) without feeling too drawn by it’s lure. After all, new ways of being bring with it opportunities to do things differently, hack old patterns and cycles and await delicious new outcomes. This is essentially what the process of moving from dependence to autonomy has been for me.
The changes call for me to be a new way — which the more I do, has created so much space and silence — while that same silence and emptiness constantly triggers the old narratives and old ways of being.
And since going back to the way things used to be is just simply not an option anymore (it is physically impossible), I find that all I can really do is make as much space as I can for everything that is shifting and the changes that are coming because of it. It has meant watching and listening to some of my old behaviours as they are called to the surface, yet silently let them just be. The more I sit silently, without rushing in to do something, the more the the old tendencies to fill those expansive spaces, the emptiness, the silence with activity, with doing, with unfulfilled desires, with music, with idle chatter and more, have surfaced. And the more I am able to not give in to them, they have receded to the background too.
To witness it all without acting, has been the way in which I am able to finally tell to some degree, which of the behaviours have been comfort-seeking coping mechanisms, and which have been genuine needs from within that I must respond or tend to.
In the process, I have watched as a lot of those comfort-seeking coping mechanisms have slipped away, and it has left me quite destabilized inside. imagine trying to walk again after years of having a crutch and having that crutch taken away.
There has been a fair amount of heartbreak and a lot of grief to experience. Grief for all that is shifting, and how nothing may ever be the same — with respect to people, work, my surroundings, the very fabric of my existence even. I know deep down that in all this emptying out (which currently feels endless) I am making space for something new, and I know it in my bones that that whenever it arrives slowly will be sweet, but until then there is no denying that this process has been equally fear-brewing, as it has been thrilling.
I am hyper aware of what is changing, what that newness means to me, and that for many folks in my life, this might all be too much to take. That it might be that many will leave once again. And so I sit, wait and watch, equally thrilled at how liberating it all is, as well as how horribly lonely my world sometimes feels because of it. And like S said to me last night when I shared this with her — quite rarely, I wonder if I’ve signed up for something way beyond what I can handle on my own, in terms of how much I will be on my own.
I am learning that this eventuality might very well come true. And so to hold both sides — the joy and the pain of it — equally, with grace, and honouring my needs, mroe and more these days. That’s a step up, I guess?
There were also some other small IRL heartbreaks. Heartbreak at finally accepting — after fighting this for literally months — that we won’t be walking the OXFAM trailwalk in February next year. Some sadness that despite all my efforts I haven’t jumped back on the exercise wagon as quickly and efficiently as I’d have liked to and that I might need to actually listen to my body some more. There was heartbreak at realising that I have to still play second fiddle in VC’s family and that this may never change — not for any other reason but because it simply cannot be any other way — because it’s not on me and there’s nothing I can do about it.
We spent the weekend entirely at home, chilling. I got a wee bit of work done, and we finally settled our second bedroom into a temp home office for VC. I enthusiastically cooked a whole lot more than I usually do — in quantity as well as variety. We watched some movies together, VC and I. And there was a lot of music. I dragged myself to the gym one morning and yesterday I was determined to get our Sunday walk in, despite the steady drizzle. It was such good weather to be out, and to eat a hot idli vada after. But then, I was holed up in my bedroom under the covers all day, until I couldn’t take it anymore post 6 pm.
I am really, thoroughly enjoying my home lately, in a way that I haven’t before. In a way that feels beyond and more than the last two years through which I have anyway really loved this space. There is connection and involvement of a different degree and I know this is coming from rightfully taking my place and acting from my own power and making this space mine, which is not something I have done very much in my life so far. It feels good to be beginning right here at home and feeling the effects of it so palpably.
Three years ago: November