Wednesday, September 19, 2007


i've been thinking about this post nonstop for the last hour, so i hope i can get it out of my head and onto "paper" in a way that does it justice.

an hour ago, on my way up lenox avenue to sign the lease for my new apartment, i walked past a young black man

**pause- nigel barker just did the STUPIDEST commercial for the new season of america's next top model. WOW**


back to business-
an hour ago, on my way up lenox avenue to sign the lease for my new apartment, i walked past a young black man outside a funeral home. he was maybe 25. not dressed, particularly, i think he was wearing a black tshirt and some jeans. what caught me was that he was crying. can't-keep-it-together tears. i-just-lost-my-best-friend tears. my-mother-has-left-me-alone-in-this-world tears. the-person-i-loved-most-is-gone tears. he looked up, looked into my eyes, and they said that whoever he has lost was precious.

i experienced my own sort of grief this summer. a grief that became all-consuming at times. to pull myself out of the depths of my pain, i would try to remind myself that other people hurt worse. that my grandmother is now living alone for the first time in over 60 years after the death of too many of her children, her relatives, her husband. that i had students who have lost their parents. that people lose romantic partners that actually loved them or deserved the love they received, that losing someone who was actually able to make a commitment would be so much worse than what i lost.

i realized today that grief, while it can catch you and pull you down, can also be a liberating force. that grief, unlike happiness, will never let you down. from the bottom we can only rise. letting out the pain can release you from it, and then you are free to approach happiness again. the road to that happiness is often long and painful, and by no means easy. and, if you're me, happiness can, after time, seem scarier than grief does.

i've always been one to hate balloons. why? because they inevitably pop. or sag. or fly away. happiness seems to me to be a balloon. too fragile for my liking, and the pop is always a disturbing surprise.

maybe the trick is to have many balloons in the air at once, and to be sure to consistently cultivate new balloon "sources." not to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.

so i continue to try to figure this whole grief thing out. mine, after 3 months and lots of bad moments, seems to be subsiding slowly but surely.

putting more balloons in the air. that's my plan.

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