Lately one question seems to cross my mind about a million times a day: What’s the point?
My internal dialogue sounds something like this:
“You should get dressed…..What’s the point?”
“You should write a blog….What’s the point?”
“You should go for a walk… What’s the point?”
Normally I would analyze these feelings and identify the likely culprit as depression; I tend to withdraw considerably when I’m struggling mentally. This time however, the feeling is different. It is not sadness or depression I feel -but straight up cold hard apathy. It’s an intense feeling of disconnection from everything- the world around me, and myself. Add a dash of bitterness and disillusionment, and there I am- and I’m not alone based on a lot of conversations I’m having with family and friends.
I don’t know about you, but for me covid has felt like a struggle of epic proportions in so many ways. We are collectively experiencing one of the most challenging things to ever happen to us in modern times, and meanwhile we are individually experiencing our own versions of hell. From losing jobs, to loved ones we are each grieving losses across the board, while living in a fear-driven, misinformation filled and isolated environment for two entire freaking years. Lately my thoughts are often tinged with cynicism as I see a capitalistic and politically divided world around me. The pandemic has brought out the worst of the world in a lot of ways.
So much about the way we used to live has changed due to the pandemic and the longer it drags on, the more foreign all of the old facets of normalcy begin to feel. We can no longer gather to celebrate, sing or even grieve the way that we want to and that is a tough pill to swallow.
4 years after diagnosis, my life after ‘recovery’ is not the life that I pictured for myself. I spent my whole life chasing very specific goals, only to have it feel like I had no real control over their outcome in the end. When you feel that deep loss of total control over everything, which many of us are feeling right now-that’s the moment where your faith starts to waver; when you begin to question whether your feeble attempts at creating meaning out of nothingness was all for a loss. You question the meaning of literally everything, because the foundation of your belief system has been so infinitely shaken.
Lately I’ve been reminded of this book my therapist had me read last year called ‘Man’s Search for meaning,’ by Victor Frankl. It chronicles one man’s experience in a Nazi Concentration camp and it touches on his idea that life, even in suffering or death, always has meaning. That for everyone, in any hard experience, there is always someone, observing or caring who would expect to see the best in you and from you, no matter what. He believed that the psyche was impacted not just by environment but by people’s will to exercise their freedom of choice to find purpose, hope or happiness, even in the moments filled with the most suffering. He believed that the people who maintained their hope in the face of all else, were the ones who survived the greatest evils.
I realize I need to reignite my hope and find some meaning because I can’t live my whole life feeling like nothing has any. I mean, if there’s no point to anything, what is the point of existing at all, right? What a crappy life to live. I don’t want that.
I start from square one and I think about all the things that used to have meaning. That I used to like being or doing. Music. Writing. Creating. Connecting. I miss talking to friends every day and making my own clothes. I miss singing and performing with my band. I miss dressing up and doing my hair and makeup. I miss being excited about things, going places, travelling. I miss feeling confident and self-assured. I miss feeling connected to the underlying hum of the universe.
Next, I start thinking about what is actually holding me back from doing those things now. I comb through the superficial list of excuses like ‘I’m too old’, ‘It’s too late’, ‘covid’, and ‘cancer.’ What I’m left with, staring me straight in the face is… fear. I am afraid. I am afraid of literally everything. I can barely understand it even though it suddenly all makes sense. My life is still being dictated by the very fear that I have tried so hard to extricate; the fear that I saw so clearly and so deeply regretted in the face of possible death. The fear that I publicly decried, detested and encourage others to ignore. It is still there; it is still fucking there.
What am I afraid of? The same things as a lot of people I imagine. Failure, rejection, even success. I have a huge fear of letting people in to my world far enough to see the real me because at my very core I am clinging to this bizarrely strong belief that I am just not enough. That I’m a fraud; a nobody. I’m afraid of being judged. Abandoned. Irrelevant. I’m so afraid at failing at things that sometimes I won’t even try them. This very fear sabotages many of my chances at true peace and happiness and I’ve honestly just had enough of it, yet I feel so powerless to it. I am ready to steer this ship in a different direction but I just don’t know how. When our entire lives seem to be dictated by fear based media and attitudes of fear, it’s no surprise that it’s a challenge to escape that mindset when approaching anything else.
This year I am making one big resolution that I hope will encourage me to face down my fears in every area of my life and that is ‘Do the thing.’ Whatever it is, just do it. Ignore the fear. Ignore the arguments of my mind that pop up as soon as I think of doing something fun or nice. Ignore it all and just DO IT, the second my heart tells me to, before my mind can interfere. Take the risks. Put myself out there. Connect in whatever way I need to with the outside world to start building my soul back up again. Sing more. Sew more. Dance More. Learn Guitar. Try to find whatever meaning I can in whatever I can so that I can keep my hope and faith alive, even if life never goes back to normal.
So, if you see me sharing more stories, or even starting a tik-tok or posting videos of me singing, sewing or doing my makeup, It’s all because I’m trying. I’m trying to connect. I’m trying to feel good. I’m trying to re-ignite and re-build so many of the relationships that have been damaged by my cancer, my distance and the pandemic. I’m trying to rebuild what’s left of my life into something that I am happy with. I feel intensely alone, but it is mostly my fault. I pushed the world away for a long time just trying to survive and now I’m ready to try and re-enter real life and I humbly hope I will be let back in. I’m trying to connect with myself, with my art, and with the world again and I’m hoping that by sharing more of these moments with you, it will encourage anyone out there also struggling with the same feelings to try and ‘do the thing’ too, no matter how scary or pointless it seems or how loud your fear is.
Hope is all that we have sometimes, and when we lose it, things get bleak. I don’t want my life to be bleak. I want it to be happy, hopeful and filled with moments of peace and joy and I suppose I’m recognizing that all those moments must start with me.
Here is to a new year filled with many possibilities- all of which you have the power to bring to life. Dream big, ignore your fear and DO THE THING!