This Is the Way It FeelsClaire Diaz-Ortiz
When you’re not sure what will happen next, this is how it feels:
It feels like breath closing in on you.
It feels like words that fail you.
It feels like days that are too long and nights that are too short.
It feels like no one is listening and everyone is asking.
It feels like others’ priorities are your own, and you can’t find your grounding.
It feels like those closest to you are now at arm’s length.
It feels like you’re never understood and cannot hope to be.
It feels like a loneliness you haven’t known and never hoped for.
It feels like everything you thought you knew is turned on its head in a funny, upside-down sort of way that you can’t wrap your head around even if you tried.
It feels like the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end.
It feels like you’re treading on thin ice and stepping on shells.
It feels like walking in circles and not seeing anything as you pass.
It feels like a slow stifling of emotion and a huge rush of feeling, coming in waves.
It feels like nothing you ever thought you would feel.
It feels like things you can’t explain, but must try to, in journals and Post-It notes and phone calls and Skype chats. In handwritten letters to no one and in doodles on steamy shower mirrors. In words you speak to empty rooms.
It feels like the world is closing in, but a small crack is opening, but it’s just not something you can find.
It feels like everything might happen and nothing might happen, and you don’t know which is better.
And, more than anything, it feels like just what it is. It feels like you just don’t know. Because, of course, you don’t. That’s what it means in the not-knowing space you’ve found yourself in, after all. You can’t see the beginning anymore, and you never were promised that you could see the end. And now you’re in it, experiencing it, feeling it, and knowing firsthand what it means to be unsure of everything you thought you knew.
And this, right now, this is your task. To live in the midst of it all. To hold it with your hands open. To feel it for everything it is.
And to wait until what happens next really does happen.
And then you’ll know.