I started the year with a pledge in the form of a hashtag: #NoFeelings2015, I insisted. I planned to avoid love, keep my depression at a respectful distance and generally maintain a level head.
I cried within the first hour of the New Year, hunched over on a brick ledge with three of my best friends. I thought I was crying about a girl, and maybe I was, but it seems more likely that this was my body’s way of warning me that in 2015 I would feel, so I’d better forget about the hashtag.
I have realized in recent years that I feel things – every thing – more intensely than most people. I live joy and love and anger and sadness so deeply that even positive emotions can crush me, exhaust me, as they work their way through my guts and out of my skin and into the world. And despite my stupid intentions, 2015 was no different. Here are a few of the feelings I felt in 2015:
- The ecstasy of making new friends who somehow saw everything I am before I did and loved me for it. I replay the pre-Klub Deer Beehive dance party in my mind whenever I need to remember what it feels like to be totally held, totally seen, and totally loved.
- The adrenaline-fueled power trip of reaching the top of very tall mountains, volcanoes and cliffs with my best friends.
- The majesty of solitude. I used to hate being alone, but in 2015 I deliberately sought solitude and used it to heal.
- The ugly shame of realizing I had hurt someone I love with my bullshit.
- The peace, the utter perfect piece, of sitting on a patio with friends and drinking a beer and talking about nothing as we gave each other the world.
- The sweet absurd head rush of falling in love.
- The slow (eternal) bitter agony of heartbreak upon slowly admitting that the person I loved and I couldn’t love each other very well.
- The sudden and subtle discovery that I wasn’t in love anymore. Maggie Nelson describes falling out of love as killing a bird that has, by sheer grace, made a home in your heart. In this case, it was more like I watched the bird fly away and didn’t try to stop it.
- The comfort/discomfort of listening to music that whispers all my secrets back at me.
- The crushing grief of departure. Sometimes I still think about the nice British girl next to me on the plane out of Managua, the concern in her eyes as I wept uncontrollably. She asked what was wrong and I wanted to say “It feels like I’m giving up a whole universe.” “It’s as if sad angry ghosts are cracking my ribs open to suck all the air out of my body.” “I think part of me is dying and I have to let it.” Instead I said, “I just really loved it there” and buried my face in my A-Camp bandana.
- The wondering, always wondering, if I fit. It has been said many ways by many people that once you call more than one place home, it’s hard to be fully at home in any place. My truest language will always be espanglish. My roots will always be dangling behind me. I hope I learn to carry them with grace.
- The complicated embarrassment and delight of being misgendered, of wondering if I can be misgendered when I don’t know what my gender is.
- The excitement of a new beginning in the city I grew up in, rediscovering it and myself to the sound of Stars games and country music and always, always so much laughter.
I bought a crop top from Julia Nunes’ web store that I’m wearing it to the New Year’s Eve party I’ll go to in Denver with some of the beautiful Bees. The front just says FEELINGS in all caps.
Let’s do this, 2016.