I’ve been away for awhile.
When I started this blog, I needed to reconcile our old normal with the new, post-Sandy “normal.” I was living in a basement room with no reception and working around the clock, coming “home” every day to a paperwork quagmire. Communication and transportation became a nightmare, my social life a memory. My Sandy friends and I believed that the storm had unleashed strange forces that meant to slowly destroy all that remained. Our computers, accounts, phones, borrowed cars, even a new car, sustained damage that eventually became, even for my skeptical husband, difficult to explain away as mere coincidence.
In documenting what was happening and reading your responses, I did not feel so alone and under attack. I knew I had you behind me, beside me in that concrete studio next to a sump pump that smelled like poop and sometimes allowed said poop into my living space. I was fighting back poo water with a team. And this team knew me, and knew my struggles, and now knew the struggles of all of us fighting day after day to get back home.
And writing it helped me transform the experience. I would choose a filter to look through: the foods we missed, the dog we saved, the little girl who got up again and again. And I would turn it around. In the years before I used a computer to write, the loops I made with a pen seemed to untwist my troubles. Now I tapped them out, like a magic drummer releasing the spirits that haunted me. By the time I got to the last paragraph I understood how it was OK, how it was good, how it could be transformed, or how it just was.
Writing works. But action works too. Interaction. I’ve been connecting lately. Looking back on other major challenges in my life, I realize that I’ve alternated between an inward healing and a shared healing. I’ve written journeys and retreated into spiritual searches. But I’ve also gone out and actively embraced people, places, nature, art or service.
The last few weeks, I’ve been embracing. It remains as emotionally difficult as ever to remain displaced from our home, but what I am creating now is bigger. Passion, compassion, and joy are so big that for a long time after the storm, I was afraid to even try them on for size. This summer, I wear a coat of many colors and I am comfortable. Even living out of boxes.