Every Saturday morning is met with an irrevocably loud silence. I’ve always been amused by the way people often describe silence as deafening because it’s ultimately the biggest contradiction, we as a society, make. We attribute these emotions and abstract concepts to simple feelings because silence, can actually be one of the most destructive and overwhelming forces out there. The reason why is rather boring: it’s simply because silence can’t and won’t drown out our thoughts.
I’ve written pieces lately that have been wholly candid in an effort to chronicle my emotions and my daily grief. I’ve published articles about them on platforms like Thought Catalog, but they’ve been published when I’ve been at my most hyper. Those pieces were written when I was feeling outwardly downtrodden, when the concept of joy and happiness were fleeting emotions I grappled with trying to hold. It’s easy to pour out your emotions when you’re feeling that way. When you’re in the center of that vortex, the words are easily formed, the tears are easily dispersed, and then when you place that final punctuation, you’re left feeling exhilarated because all you needed at that moment was someone to talk to. And sometimes that person is the bright, luminescent screen of your HP monitor.
Saturday mornings once held promise. I wouldn’t be particularly turned off if John slept until 11:00 am, because my morning would be filled with other things. My long-standing tradition would be to sit down and write some articles I’d submit for publishing later on in the week. I’d detail stories my audience could connect with: love, fulfillment, the typical drone and hype about twenty-something, millennial confusion. It’s easy to write about an emotion you feel when that emotion isn’t pain. Even if there were mornings when the writer’s block took hold, I managed to exist in other forms. Saturday was an unmarked square in my date book. It symbolized endless possibilities and words that would take me there.
Now, it’s a reminder of anguish.
I can spend my Saturday morning enjoying myself, but it’s within those first few hours of waking up, when the house is quiet, and my partner is drooling into his pillow, that I realize how alone I am. I realize that grief has taken a lot more from me than just a physical body and a vivacious laugh. It’s taken away my ability to dream.
I’m not a particularly gifted artist. I don’t study the craft or try to improve my technique. Sometimes, on the rare occasion, something will turn out decently and I’ll be left mildly in awe that I was able to create something my father is immediately biased toward. I turned to painting because, in the constraints of my grief, writing was no longer my solace. It was no longer my home away from home. It’s funny, I’ve written so many short stories and characters and concepts whose lives are consistently tossed into chaos and grief permeates and drips off the page. They always had a Mary Poppins ending. A grand, TA-DA that came at the last second to show that they rebounded from their tragedies – and they were actually happier for it.
I’ve learned that that’s not real life. Grief is not something you just bounce back from. It’s not something you wake up and tackle in a grand spectacle. There is no “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Deville” moment. I turned away from writing because how many times could I subject myself to seeing my pain in black and white? How many times could I retell the story of the morning my mother died? How many times could I etch into my skin the pain and sorrow and anger that had already been woven into it? How many times could I fall victim to my own memories?
And Saturdays, well, they are the worst. They’re a painstaking reminder that the traditions I once held – the multitude of writings, the soft, charming words that fell like petals on a warm, dewy morning in May, were nothing but a dank reminder and repellent for who I’ve turned into. The damaged woman persists. The damages woman curls at her own platitudes.
On Saturday mornings she feels the sting of that loneliness; a home with four walls and memories of one fateful morning, a black phone screen devoid of text messages from the one she wants to hear from the most, the screensaver that sways across her desktop because the blank page behind it has nothing on it; these are the reminders of who she’s become, only, unlike her characters, she’s not a better person for them. Instead, she’s empty, a lonely carcass like a woman who looks just like her.