WEATHER REPORT

The weather has been fucking incredible the past few days. Just lovely. It feels like Fall is just around the corner and I can’t wait to start wearing bulky sweaters and act like a happy asshole walking down the street with my pumpkin spice milk shake masquerading as coffee. Sweet and long anticipated relief from a mild but still humid summer. I hate summer. And last week summer was a BITCH. One last final FUCK YOU.

I was walking in the East Village and heading to a friend’s show. I had been dreading leaving the house because it was at least 90 degrees and the humidity was well over 80%. I complained the entire way to the subway station, savored the cool relief of the air conditioned car, and then started complaining all over again as my shirt became drenched in sweat. Absolutely miserable, I moaned and groaned as I rolled down the street. I felt disgusting and so extremely far from cute. 

Then I thought, Wait a minute. There is absolutely nothing you can do about this. It’s disgusting. You are sweating. Why are you emotionally and mentally exerting so much energy worrying about something that just IS. Everyone else is walking around with tittypit and asscrack sweat, too. You aren’t special. They have swampy butt, also. We’re all in this together! Relax!

And so I did. I surrendered to the heat. I took a deep breath and pulled my attention to my surroundings. I walked casually, allowing the sweat to drip freely down my face and back. I didn’t wipe it every two seconds. I didn’t worry about my shirt and the patches of wet spots that were growing larger by the minute. I just existed in it and stopped caring. I knew that relief would come. I would get to the theatre and sit in the cool space. Then I would leave and it would be gross again. Then I would get home and clean up and cool down once more. And eventually the heat itself would pass and summer would leave and everything would be comfortable for a while until the biting and brutal cold of winter took its place. And then that would pass, too, and peace and comfort would return. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. When my friend passed about a week and a half ago, I felt like I was immediately transported to a different dimension. Everything began to feel irrelevant: this blog, my artistic pursuits, money, my job, etc. It all seemed so arbitrary in the face of mortality. A young life taken too soon. Who cares about anything else? 

I spent the week following her passing in a state of shock. I was also angry. I was also very anxious about how mentally disturbed I had become as a result. While I didn’t want to drink, I did want something. Some kind of relief. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted the emotions to go away. I wanted to feel like I did on Sunday morning before finding out on Facebook from her mother on Sunday afternoon. I wanted it all to DISAPPEAR. And I lived in that state for days on end. I was fighting something I couldn’t stop and it was EXHAUSTING.

On Saturday night I had the privilege of being able to watch my friend’s memorial service as it was broadcast on YouTube. It was a very celebratory event highlighting her immense sense of humor and larger than life personality. I was smiling more than crying. Since then, I’ve let go. I’ve surrendered to the pain and sadness. I’ve stopped fighting it. And like the seemingly unbearable heat of last week, it all becomes easier when I just STOP FIGHTING. Let it wash over me. Let it carry me. Let it hurt. Because it’s only temporary. Her spirit persists. The seasons change. The sweaters come out. The pumpkin spice returns. We smile. We cry. We sweat. We cool off. 

My mother took me tubing on a river when I was younger and I was told that there were going to be sections of the river that had white water. If I was to fall off of the tube for any reason, I was to float on my back the way she taught me in the pool and relax and stop fighting until the rapids calmed down. Such is life. It’s a beautiful, grand, expansive, and winding river. It is at once gloriously life-giving and destructive and gorgeous.

Just checked the weather and tomorrow we bounce back up to nearly 90 degrees. And that’s okay. 

12 comments

  1. So glad to see you still floating! I’m on day 4 and yours was one of the blogs I’ve been following for a couple months. You have given me courage. BTW, having a drink won’t make the humidity less! Nor will it bring your friend back. Keep going and stay positive! I’m cheering you on!

  2. So glad to have you back! I know that losing a friend so suddenly is devastating… But once again, you pushed through it AND didn’t drink. All signs of a very strong sobriety!

  3. lovely post. the metaphor of white river rafting is excellent and just what I needed to hear. instead of flailing and try to fight the things that upset or anger me, guess I’d be better served by letting go of the fight and floating on. good stuff.

  4. Thanks for this post. This week has been hell for me. On Monday, my mother was admitted to the hospital and it was a weird and crazy few days as I waited to hear what was going on. Back and forth to the hospital twice a day. An entire day in the ER. For the first time, I wanted a drink…not really the drink though. The stress relief, albeit temporary, that wine gave me. In the past, I would drink when things like this happened. But there I was, waist high in it, having to deal with the emotions in the face of trying to be strong. WTF! It was hard. She came home on Wednesday and is getting stronger and better everyday. But it’s been a long week. I stayed sober and that’s good. But I realized in these times, you STILL have to take time to recover. You can’t just put it aside b/c those “I want to drink…you’ll feel better when you drink” thoughts are still in my head. I didn’t drink and I got through it. But it made me realize just how fragile sobriety is AND how important it is, to step back and take time to recover, even if just for a few minutes of quiet meditation.

    I love your connection to nature in this post. You are so right, seasons change, things end and new ones begin. Taking it in, knowing the feelings are temporary were very comforting to me. Thanks as always for your wisdom.

  5. Hey, I love your blog. Just wanted to let you know as I do look out for it and really enjoy reading it. Greetings from cloudy England and all the very, very best x

  6. John,
    You make me laugh A-lot and there are times when I just want to curl into a ball and retreat to the safety of numbness.. But then there are times when you make me so Fucking Grateful that there is atleast one other person out there, who is feeling the pain and beauty and injustice and ultimately the dichotomous reality that is life. It sounds corny as fuck but like in Frozen “Let it go, Let it go” I imagine if the Buddha had to script a Disney/Pixar flick, it would have a similar message.
    I’m sorry for your loss and I’m so happy for your surrender.. Please keep inspiring though (no pressure intended). You’re truth touches Soooo many more than simply “comment”

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