Bask in your own heartbreak

It is an exuberant, redemptive sadness.

I cannot remember when I first began to hate December, but it was at least a few years before the Counting Crows released their interpretation of that particular sorrow.

Nothing good ever happened in my life in the last month of the year. And yet when I got the cryptic “do you have a few minutes for me to call you” message that cold New York day as I was leaving the gym I used to self-medicate may way through winter I knew immediately, instantly, that none of my dread had prepared me for this.

You never expect your friends to die, and you never expect them to stay dead.

The thing with grief, and with Decembers, is you will go from having one of the best days of your life in the company of people who make you better to waking up wracked with the grief and guilt and rage of remembering you have lost one of the people for whom you would have given anything, everything for just one more cup of tea, one more hour, one more phone call, one more anything but absence.

You remember, and you never forget. You see their face everywhere, in each country you would have explored together. You are convinced your hear their laughter during every intermission of every concert or ballet you attend alone. You wonder whether you are living up to the example they set. What would you do? I miss you.

You know the answer, you are reminded of the answer by one of the people who shares this peculiar grief. Be more Phil. Be more Phil.

I am trying, you think. I will keep trying.

Attribution:

“And yet those afternoons were also full of that Mexican joy that comes from basking in your own heartbreak. It is an exuberant, redemptive sadness best captured by a group of punch-drunk teenagers stumbling on a deserted street in the gray light of the morning, singing sorrowful rancheras at the top of their lungs, having the time of their lives. That’s what carnitas are really about: the paradox of celebrating and mourning at the same time. They are sacrificial food — you butcher and braise a pig when you have a reason to feast, and those occasions tend to be bittersweet moments of parting.” - How To Make Carnitas That Will Fix Everything That’s Wrong In Your Sad, Horrible Life by Nicolás Medina Mora.

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we protested but not enough

we opposed them but not enough

It was one of those weeks when I didn’t so much consciously leave the office as find myself collapsing into my apartment at 9pm, 10pm. On Friday night I managed to leave before 8, but by then I was surviving entirely on a combination of respect for the efforts of my team, sheer bad mind, and chocolate cookies.

I don’t write this to fetishize busy-ness; I write this to acknowledge that I am the kind of person who is both naturally prone to working all the time and the kind of person who regularly accepts jobs designed to ensure I have the opportunity to work all the time.

I write this because I cannot be that kind of person all the time. I have friendships I would like to do better at maintaining. I have relationships that I need to show up for. I have a yoga practice I would like to revive. I have a delightful personal trainer I have functionally abandoned. I have a physiotherapist I need to see before my wrists and my neck return to a state of semi-permanent distress. I write this because I need to hold myself accountable to myself, for myself.

And I write this because I am trying to figure out how to spend more time moving us forward and less time ensuring other people don’t push us all backward.

On we go.

Attribution:

“And when they bombed other people’s houses, we

protested

but not enough, we opposed them but not

enough. I was

in my bed, around my bed America

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.” - From “We Lived Happily During The War” by Ilya Kaminsky

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