A friend told me recently that there is a particular planet that is in retrograde or transit or some such form of movement in its chorus with the other planets that is causing the past to rise up for everyone, and so we're all looking back at the past and turning it over and dredging up old feelings. There may be some truth in this.
I don't just remember the closet under my grandmother's stairs, the one that I used to crawl into so I could listen to the muffled voices of adults playing dominoes well past my bedtime. I can feel the rough synthetic chenille of the blue and white bedspread and the aged softness of the old cotton quilt whose stuffing always fell to one end. I can hear the amplification of my own breath against the wood panelling.
I am alive inside the memories that come back to me. I could write books detailing them. There would be no story, just a long string of vignettes, but maybe I could expunge them all, put them somewhere where they wouldn't keep popping up in front of me.
I said out loud tonight that I think I'm depressed. I've been thinking it for a while, but it seemed like a good idea to lay that one down with some weight out in the world.
I spoke in front of a room full of people all by myself recently. This was something I had on my life list, and it was something that I never really believed I would have the opportunity to do let alone be able to do it. I surprised myself, though, and pleasantly at that.
I was expecting to be a little bummed afterwards, because this is how success works with me. I reach a height, and then I stupidly lose faith for a while when a set of stairs to the next high doesn't immediately present itself. What I didn't expect, though, was to fall into the trap of self-doubt I used my TEDx talk to talk about.
I feel like I'm wasting time picking through pocket lint looking for my lucky penny.
None of this is to make you worry. It's a phase. I'm going through a phase.
We wake up cyclically. We wake up to things, we break a bit out of the monotony, the sameness of our lives and our thinking, occasionally, and it's not always fun. Sometimes it's bright and fresh and enlivening like breathing in crisp air on a spring morning, but sometimes it's really inconvenient and discomfiting and shakes our faith in everything just enough that it feels like our lives are held together with little more than papery, dollar-store tape and leftover yarn.
I'm at the papery tape and leftover yarn end of the spectrum right now. It doesn't mean that this is how things actually are; it just means that this is how things feel, which is why I am here in the middle of the night telling you all about it.
As a kind of comfort, I have been digging up small memories of things I particularly liked as a child. Here's one of them:
My father kept hockey sticks up in the rafters of the garage. He would lay them side by side across two unpainted beams. When no one was home, I would drag the folding ladder over and climb up just high enough reach the hockey sticks' blades. I used the blades to shuffle the sticks side to side just enough so that bits of wood and sweet, fine, winter dust would drift down to where I could smell them in the air. The dust hung there in brief puffs and made me feel like there was a mysterious history to discover in the world.
This memory just reminded me that I need more rituals that help me remember the feeling of mystery.
Now you with a small, good memory. Tell me one.