It’s a strange time we live in. Leaving the house only for essential services or exercise. And while we’ve never been here before, it has felt quite familiar.
I wouldn’t say I have depression. I’ve never been clinically diagnosed, nor do I know whether my periods of sadness warrant the name. But I do go into depressive states, instances of emptiness that I sometimes worry will swallow me whole. I’d spend hours just walking around my apartment, treating it like a therapist. Walking around its rooms, or quietly fidgeting on the lounge, voicing all of my thoughts and problems, my questioning of the universe and why it is the way it is. I’d laugh and I’d cry and I’d crack open my chest and lay everything out, spilling out every part of me saying, “here it all is”. But my voice would just echo back at me saying, “honey there’s no one here. we have to put this back together ourselves.”
2020 was already lost to me. Heartbreak – mine. An affair – not mine. Both connected and separate. Struggling with the realisation that life is fickle. That decisions made on a whim have still been made, you can’t reach out and put the words back in your mouth, swallowing them up again. I’d never really known the weight of it till now. But I had taken that pain, laid it all out, covering the table and dining chairs, the lounges, the coffee table. Stacking it up against the bookcase and covering the hanging artworks. It spilled out over the balcony. But I’d examined it all, one by one, piece by piece. Arranging it, placing complementary works side by side. And I named them all, after every storm that created it. Understanding the why and the how and the who.
But playing gallerist for weeks on end resulted almost in an epiphany, my chef d’oeuvre, magnum opus, piece de resistance. I had patched together all the different parts of me, intertwining it in all its complexities. Appreciating its intricacies, ready for the acclaim.
But then came the arrival of COVID-19. The weeks of tearing at my own skin and getting rid of the necessary parts, prying open my chest with a crowbar and removing those inside. It all felt for nothing. Curtailed, extinguished.
And I am still here. In this same apartment. Walking the same rooms, sitting on the same lounge. Sometimes I feel trapped. I broke down my own home to rebuild myself and now I feel forced to live in the wreckage. There is still comfort here, though. It has given me time to arrange all the leftover parts of me, to examine with neverending cups of tea. Because it is also the place of my greatest achievement, and with it the knowledge that it is I who made myself whole.