Hi. I have a newsletter now, for writing unrelated to hiking. You can sign up to read more by clicking the button at the end of the post if you want! I send one out once every 1-2 weeks and below is an example of the writing.
CW: drugs, blood, attempted suicide, domestic violence, grief
Once again, I thought about staying in Tucson for the summer and I didn’t.
Instead, I drove 1,104 miles North, just like I always do, asking myself the entire way what the difference was between grief and rage. I determined, in the 1,104 miles that rage was the diving board into the vast and endless pool of grief below, or maybe it was the opposite– maybe the grief was what I stood on and what I trembled above was a bubbling vat of all the anger that I never could seem to feel.
Either way, what I became sure of was that one always, always, always lives right on top of the other and that my entire body was made of both. I am the personification of grief and rage and what I want to be is something different. I lack the map of how to get from here to there.
I am told that grief can last many years. I am told that grief can keep you from functioning regularly, that it can remove you from your day to day activities. I am told that grief can have you like a ghost hovering above yourself, watching yourself scroll on your phone, watching your eyes glaze over, watching you look at your dog and say “oh. probably what you need is a walk.”
I am told that grief is tempered as time passes but what I wonder about is what happens when the grief isn’t just yours. What happens when what you hold is your mother’s grief, the grief she had while your dad snorted blow in the basement when you were just a baby, screaming and screaming and never stopping with the screaming. What if the grief you hold is the time your mother was 12, when she came home to find her mother in the bathtub, wrists slit and blood everywhere, blood intensified by the water, blood on the walls and on the floor, blood behind your mom’s eyelids when she closed them to do screaming of her own?
What if the grief you hold is all the husbands of your grandmother. The one that beat her and kept her locked in a closet while he was at work. The one that was nice but then died really young. The one that poached her from the funeral and isolated and controlled her until the tub seemed like the only option.
I believe in a lineage of grief. Grief bodies born of grief stars, familial constellations of grief that scrub people out before they ever realize their actual true self, the person that lives under the layers and layers of griefy dust.
When I get to Portland I google “what is rage?”
What I am told is that rage is violent anger. I am told that rage is the producer of symptoms, the symptoms are shouting, the symptoms are verbal aggression, the symptoms can be physical. What I’m wondering, is if all of this is still rage when it turns inward instead of out. The person I rage at is myself, I am so so mad when I can’t get things right. I don’t yell. I don’t hit. I don’t physically hurt. But am I capable of harm? Of course I am. Being capable of harm is just the human condition.
I am told that magic will find you where you are.
I think magic is finding me on this couch. I am emailing someone important about the very specific idea of defunding the Tucson Police Department. The email is a template, I am filling in the blanks. I am cold, which I’d forgotten was a thing during March, April, May in Tucson. I need to drink some water. I cried a little today and fucked up my eyeliner. No one is around so I’m just letting it sit smeared on my face.
My dog is asleep at my feet, breathing softly between shivers, she is cold too and so I give her a blanket. Inside I feel almost nothing, and the small sliver of what I do feel is something like disgust or defeat. Still, magic is there.
Actually, magic is working double time right now.
Magic is working while I feel fucking awful and do very little. Magic is working while my heart is destroyed. Magic is working with the grief and the rage that I thought about for 1,104 miles.
I didn’t think much at all about grief or rage before I started driving, actually. Maybe that’s part of the magic saying hello.