I was talking to my friend Katie about her skill at making things pretty, and I asked her if she had ever considered being a photo stylist or an interior designer. She said she’s not confident, and I remarked that there are schools for that sort of thing. And that reminded me of, years ago, encouraging Maggie to get into graphic design.

Maggie was one of my best friends in high school. She was my movie buddy; we went to so many movies together. And I even got to go to Disney World for the first time with her family.

She was very creative, and made some really intriguing digital art. I really felt like she could have made it a career.

She was also just a wonderful person, and I always meant to visit her, to see her again after we graduated, but it never happened.

She died earlier this year.


For months now I’ve sort of let myself be carried by the rapids, buffeted by surging waves of work and family and personal changes, and dragged below the surface by a relentless undertow of depression. I’ve felt more and more helpless and more and more incapable, barely managing to function some days. The occasions that I’ve felt energetic and powerful have been fleetingly rare. I spend much of my time trying to distract myself, and the rest of the time hating how little I’m accomplishing.

My life doesn’t seem all that difficult. I am so lucky in so many ways. I have so many wonderful people who love me. I have a nice home. I have a good job. My unhappiness stems from feeling that I could be more than I am, and my apparent inability to do anything about it. My impatience to get there fast, and the trouble I have with planning and executing long-term strategies for personal growth.

The world feels like a blur around me; I see snatches of information here and there but I can’t seem to grasp things the way I used to. I don’t do anything, but I feel like I have no time.

Then I lost a lifelong friend, very suddenly, to cancer.

And then my mother told me, “If you have anything you want to say to your dad, you should come home soon,” because he’s got cancer too. It’s not the throat cancer again; this time it’s small cell lung cancer, and he’s in stage 4.

I am trying to allow myself to feel this hurt. I am trying not to discount the things I am going through. I am trying to accept that I can’t just handle everything. I’m trying, and it’s really hard. Because I feel like I should just be able to deal with it. Like I should be stronger somehow. Like I am being lazy.

I need to step back, and breathe, and feel, and forgive myself, somehow.