people come and go
doesn’t the fear of losing something waste the loveliness of it?
Hi there, I’d love to hear what you want to read. Readers have asked for these few topics: adulthood, transition states, heartbreak, femininity, how to start writing. If any of these sound compelling/if you have a topic let me know via email or comment :)
Something I’ve been thinking about recently: the only constant in adulthood is reluctantly letting go. Of our attachments to places, people, things. All of it melts slowly away. In its place, prioritization rises softly to the surface — Who to love. Where to be. What to do.
I blinked and one year passed before I could register it. The heat and the cold swept in: the mundane, the extravagant. I went to parties that felt like they’d never end. I ran across Panhandle, feeling the remnants of cool dusk sunlight on my face. I moved out of my little apartment in Philadelphia. Then out of my little apartment in the Mission. Ate so many spicy tacos on that roof. Went to Love Story Yoga every friday. I did my laundry. I lost my dishwasher. I went on a few pretty strange dates. Some delightful ones. I rediscovered my love for soups. Every year it feels like I’m accumulating things and yet also getting rid of them. Throwing myself into experiences and forming a clearer semblance of myself on the other side.
This, of course, doesn’t just apply to experiences. It applies to people too. People we keep close, people we grow apart from, or the ones we discover against all odds.
I wrote this in 2020
People in your life will come and go. And it hurts sometimes because it's human nature to hold onto things, make them fit into a world that they've outgrown, or maybe a world you've already left behind. I think of it like this: someone meets you in a moment of your life, and you meet them for a moment in theirs. It doesn't have to last forever. It just has to teach you something.
I remember sitting the grass writing, feeling the August heat unfurl everything at the edges. My brain felt warm. Unhibited. I experienced this sense of lightness. Not exactly in the Kundera sense. But like I was moving forward with less attachment, more peace. Good decisions feel like floating, not sinking. Good people too. I search for that feeling everywhere now.
Back then I asked myself: what does it mean to be rooted, to be healthily attached? And to also be capable of graceful loss?
I’d answer now that it requires confidence that what is meant for you will stay. A deepening of what you already know, a renewal of discovery. This requires choosing the right people again and again. Devoting time to building something good and real. By necessity, however, it means getting good at letting go. Accepting things that leave were not meant for your season or timeline.
What you experience can be magical AND still be temporary. Things can be wonderful and delicious and deeply intimate, and still have an inherent expiry date. Internal spaciousness is precious. You can’t afford to hold on to everything.
I really liked this quote on relationships by Adrienne Maree Brown:
I think of a relationship like a spiderweb, something that can look very diaphanous and tender, but that’s actually extremely strong because of the material, because of the time, because of the energy that was put into it. I love the idea of webbing. It doesn’t have to be a solid thing that we’re creating with relationships. It has to be something that is just as thick as it needs to be to hold this particular group up. A web allows things to fall through, like a sieve. Some things are not meant to be caught. The things that are meant to be caught and held will nourish us.
As I move through the world, the gaps in my web get bigger. My world keeps expanding and yet it feels like more things slip through that sieve. Everything shape-shifts. Everything shrinks into a delightfully small drop.
I’ve realized that I can’t hold onto a static image of you. You can’t hold onto me either. That Phoebe Bridgers lyric: you’re holding me like water in your hands. I used to fear losing people so much. Now I realize we’re always losing each other regardless — the old versions of us never last. It’s a miracle that we find people we continuously choose over and over. The choice is active. Very alive.
Instead of resisting this natural process of expansion and retraction, I could sit in the warm brightness of it. Eat frozen blueberries until my tongue turns blue. Hold onto what deepens my perception of the world, or helps me access more of myself. Invest deeply in the people I love. Let the rest go.
The temporary beauty of the world: What lasts will last. What goes will go.
I mean to say: Doesn’t the fear of losing something waste the loveliness of it?
Perhaps we can simply let it be lovely. Knowing that everything can change at any moment. Appreciating it while it lasts.
What I’m reading this week
I loved Three Body Problem and am eagerly awaiting Dark Forest. Finished Ghost Lover (and want to read more of Lisa Taddeo!) I am also reading bits of Transit of Venus, Funny Weather, and Once More With Feeling.
Art of the week
Quote of the week
Language is, in other words, not necessary, but voluntary. If it were necessary, it would have stayed simple; it would not agitate our hearts with ever-present loveliness and ever-cresting ambiguity; it would not dream, on its long white bones, of turning into song.