Longing for Life
"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way." - VINCENT VAN GOGH -
After a joyful, peaceful, and family-and-friend filled holiday season, I’m finding myself struggling. Maybe it’s the post-holiday blues which always seem to sneak up this time of year. Maybe it’s the combination of the recent rain with the herxing—my symptoms spiking as I’m forced back into bed to recover from all the activity this past month. Maybe it’s all of the above. But these past few days have been hard, my spirits running low.
I’m finding myself once again questioning my place in this world. I’m finding myself struggling to figure out where I fit in…
My mom reminded me the other day how, even as a little kid, I used to say I didn’t feel like I belonged here—in this world, this time, this place. She said it used to freak her out. I can’t say I blame her—after all, what parent wants to hear something like that from their child? But it’s not something I can fully explain, nor is it something I can wish away. That longing for somewhere else—something else—has been with me my whole life. And while I appreciate the here and now—while I’ve succumbed to the fact that this is where and when I’m meant to be—there’s a part of me that’s still searching for somewhere to belong. I’m still searching for those who understand that, who understand me.
There are moments, few and fleeting, when that longing subsides. I catch glimpses of it when I have deep conversations with friends and family—when we talk about life being bigger than us, when we reflect on the magnificence of the universe, when the energy around us pulses with connection and I feel settled and satisfied. I see it when I’m creating—when I’m imagining the quaint harbor town in my novel that’s so detailed, so visceral, I could swear I’ve been there before, and that longing to be there again is so strong, tears escape my eyes before I realize I’m crying. For those few moments, I feel like I’m truly home, truly at peace—if only in my own imagination.
And I feel it when I’m writing—when I allow that deepest part of myself to rise up and pour into my words. It’s the only time I feel truly myself. It’s the only time I feel a faint glimmer of hope that someone might see my soul, that I might finally be understood. Therein lies the rub, what I’m truly chasing after in this life. More than that sacred connection, more than that place that calls me home—that place I’ve never seen or been—I find myself with a need to be profoundly understood. And maybe, with that understanding, comes a desire for acceptance. I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain it without sounding silly or ungrateful because I’m lucky enough to have people in my life who love and accept me without question. But I look around at the world at large, and I want to cry. I want to cry because I don’t fit in here—here where celebrities become idols because of what they’re wearing while artists are pleading to be seen. Here where politicians hold all power while the philosophers and thought-makers are screaming to be heard.
Here where I need to talk about nature and beauty and purpose and life, where I’m begging for a glimpse of the soul beneath the human façade, where I feel like I’m suffocating in this skin because I can’t express the deepest parts of myself enough...
Let me talk to you about atoms and cells, about stars and constellations, about the music of poetry and the sanctity of our existence. Let me hear your dreams, not your goals—the wish you make before you close your eyes and drift off to sleep. Let me know who you really are, and let me show you who I really am. I can’t escape that longing, that plea that’s buried deep within my soul, a part of me crying out, “Please see me. Please hear me. Please.” On the surface, I can only whisper. It’s all I know how to do, knowing my voice will only be drowned out by the chaos of the world. And so I write. And I dream. And I wait for those slivers of conversation where I see that same familiar spark light in someone else’s eyes. And I think, “Here… Here’s a piece of what I’m missing. Here’s someone who knows what I’m feeling… You’ve been searching, too.”