Fall may have hit with a vengeance in certain parts, but temperatures are still toasty in LA. And so we took out the broom, cleared out the bikes and boxes, and opened up the backyard barn for dinner. For some, it was the first dinner, while others were old hat. Lindsay and Allison, the two wonder-women leading The Dinner Party in San Francisco, came down for the weekend, bringing our table to ten.
In perfect potluck style, the menu consisted of roasted root vegetables, vegan paella, kale salad, focaccia, and true to form, ample wine. We talked about emotional paralysis: about the build-up in the pipes that so frequently develops when you’ve had to be the one holding it together, acting alone, and the fear that if you let the door open even just a crack, you’ll soon find yourself crying on a bus, unable to hold back the floodgates. We talked about the slow return to happiness, and the guilt that comes of that. And in the midst of our over-analyzing, we talked about the dangers of over-analyzing: about our incessant need to explain feelings, rather than to simply feel them; about the fact that yes, it’s possible to feel sad and happy at once, and a whole host of emotions in between.
The following day, I became that girl crying on the bus. Rather than attempt to shake it off, I opted to name each emotion as it came over me, often in twos and threes and often contradictory pairings. I pulled down my blue plastic-rimmed shades, and let the last two months of emotions quietly rise to the surface and drip, one tear at a time, out of me: exhaustion, at having to hold it all together; self-loathing that I’d allowed increasingly obvious fissures to crack the surface of my put-together armor; loneliness, as family members and newly engaged friends form their own families; fear that maybe it wouldn’t get better. Naming those emotions didn’t make them go away; it didn’t fix anything; and I don’t know what “getting better” really means. But after awhile, I felt better. And in that moment, feeling better was enough.