All my life, I’ve processed joy and sorrow, confusion and diatribe, in writing. I have a book of hand written poems working through the tragedies and angst of a teenage mindscape. I have notebooks journaling my college years full of anecdotes of friends and my small adventures. I have abandoned blogs leaving breadcrumbs of my growth and change on the internet like a hidden treasure map. This past year has left me grasping for a comfort that will not come.
In March 2020, my words fled. Cancelled like the cruise I had been looking forward to for months. I hardly noticed their absence as we counted the days until life would get back to normal.
In April and May my words hid on social media, endless loops of vague assurances between friends that we had safety in the moment and soon things would be better.
In June and July and August I abandoned words for knitting needles, hiding my fear and stress behind a steady rhythm of knits and purls, silently converting fear into items of comfort and beauty.
In the fall my words failed as politics turned ugly lies into new truths and the shouting grew so loud my voice felt lost.
In December the Holiday peace I anticipate with joy every year failed to lift or inspire. The words of traditional songs and stories echoed around me without once truly connecting. It was a time of stilted attempts to imitate a happy season that just couldn’t manifest.
In the winter of storms, the snow failed to call words of delight, the ice didn’t inspire fantasy realms. Instead, the cold kept me by the space heater with a needle and thread quietly mending, listening to the words of others in the background.
Where are my words? Are they walled behind a dam of loneliness? Are they trapped in a cage of the endless fear of the endless plague? Are they somehow buried under the heaps of coping techniques and numbing rounds of daily tasks in a way they never have been before?
I am confident that in their own time they will come trotting back to me like a cat who escaped for a walkabout. Maybe a little bedraggled by their time away, exasperating me that they escaped at all. But when they find their way home, I will be very, very glad to welcome them back.
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