I. This was one of our many songs. We met under a harvest moon and we reconnected year after year under the same moon for over a decade. It doesn’t matter how heartbroken I am or how much anger there is right now, this song is always going to be ours, and I am always going to remember those harvest moons – every one of them – with a saltwater smile.

II. I use music as a healing modality. Songs that help me feel the grief I’m feeling get played on repeat for a predesignated period of time (usually 20 minutes) as a way to give myself space and permission to sit with that grief, fully present to it, still in the eye of the storm of it, leaning into it, letting it subsume me but only for that predesignated period of time, and then I yell “ALEXA” and I play something else and I dry my tears and I get on with my life.

III. I also use music as a kind of spell when a song invokes a desired emotional state. If I’ve got a case of the morbs and I’m sick of it, I’ll play something that nudges me in the direction of a different emotional state. Sometimes I need anger to move me forward. Sometimes I need something peaceful or ambient. Sometimes I need to remind myself of who I really am. Whatever direction I want to nudge myself, there’s a song for that.

IV. Playlists are one of my love languages. I love to communicate through music – through curated selections of music that express where I’m at. I also love to ‘follow’ what the people I love are listening to. (Thank you Spotify) Of all the things I want to know about a person I love in moments when I miss them, it’s what they’re listening to. What songs are in their head? What lyrics are hitting them in the middle of the chest where their heart lives? What song reminds them of me? What song helps them feel better?

V. Music was so much a part of who we were, how we communicated with one another, how I managed to feel connected even in your absence. I miss that. I want that back. That and the banter and the laughter and the stupid little things you’d say that were romantic and true and the way you tucked into my cooking like you were starving and the way we held hands under the stars for a decade as innocent as children, softly murmuring to one another about what might have been and what might be. There’s a lot I don’t miss though and that is where I’m leaning hard these days because while I can let myself remember these things for 20 minutes or so, it is vital to my mental health that I bellow at Alexa to play something else and get on with this life in which none of those things are on offer.

VI. The last week has felt like an emergence of sorts. The daily day is easier to navigate. I am highly functional. I have very good moments of enjoyment, and even of a quiet kind of joy. I went on a little road trip with Kimi yesterday to get some wind in my hair, and it was glorious. We went cannabis shopping (since I’m experimenting with it as a sleep aid and anti-anxiety helper). I bought a stash box that locks and has accessories. We stopped at a farmer’s market and picked up sunflowers and kombuchu and a beautiful acorn squash. We had Oneida tacos and some *amazing* fresh-cut fries and talked through all of our personal happenings and wonderings. The scenery was soul food, especially with the way the trees are turning colour. I caught myself taking an ever so deep breath and dropping my shoulders.

Later, there was a visit on my lawn with one of my neighbours who is a badass biker chick in her 60’s who, while we disagree on almost everything to do with politics and COVID, tells the best stories.

I lit the little candle I keep hanging outside my front door as a way to pray.

I realized as I stood up to take the picture that I *really love* my little nest and calling it that doesn’t make me cry anymore and I’m glad I’m here in this new city that seems to be embracing me with open arms.

VII. Therapy was hard. I went into it feeling like a terrible person because I am so reactive right now and I knee jerk and say things I wish I hadn’t said and do things I wish I hadn’t done and all of it is, accordingly to my therapist, so utterly human and trauma-based and not anything I should be shaming myself over. She said at one point “I’m trying very hard not to disagree with you right now” and tear-streaked and urgent, I said “I wish you’d disagree with me right now. I think that’s what I need.”

So she did. I’m not a terrible person. I’m a terribly hurt person.

Terribly. Hurt.

Terribly.

But also healing.

VIII. The fridge soup of it is okay though. I mean, I have my moments of broken on the bedroom floor and then I have my moments of dragon scales and ‘where’s my fucking sword’ and then I have my moments of soft smiles and baby talk with the puppies and I have my slayed lists and beautiful plates of gorgeous food that I prepare for one as though it is medicine and I have the hour on the stoop watching people and dogs as they go about their business and the people that stop to say hi. I have zoom coffee and art dates and future plans and dreams and work so soul-nourishing that I can hardly believe this is my job.

IX. But I’m a lot even for my own self to bear because I’ve dealt with a lot and there’s this pocket of pain that has been with me for a long, long time and it’s going to take time for it to ease. So, patience, right? Patience, time, saltwater, stars, music. The dance.

β€œI greet you from the other side of sorrow and despair/ With a love so vast and shattered it will reach you everywhere.”

L. Cohen

X. Today in my dreams, we never went there, and we are still friends, and I will meet you up the hill under the stars again one day soon.

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