Friday, September 28, 2012

Out of the Woods

Last Saturday, I took the train to New York and saw Bon Iver at Radio City Music Hall.  I've been back in the city a couple of times since I left almost a year ago (I still cannot believe it's been that long), but this time felt different.  I wandered around my old neighborhood.  I stopped by the bakery where I used to work.  I hoped I wouldn't awkwardly run into any of the families for whom I used to babysit or nanny (I didn't).  It felt both intimately familiar and incredibly foreign.  I couldn't help but wonder, as I wandered and walked and looked around, did I ever really belong here?  Was I ever happy here?

The concert was amazing.  Bon Iver is one of my favorite bands (artists?).  Anyway, the show was unreal.  And incredibly surreal.  I started listening to Bon Iver last November, late at night and early in the morning, on those infernal bus trips where I watched the rain streak down the windows and I took deep breaths to quell the pit of anxiety that knotted my stomach.  They became the soundtrack to the hardest winter I have ever lived through.  When Alix left me and I drove that night the eight hours through the frigid darkness home to my mother's arms, I listened to their newest album on repeat the entire way.  I couldn't risk hearing a single song that would remind me of the relationship from which I was so freshly torn and so I listened to the songs that had only been carrying me through the last month and a half.

Listening to Bon Iver does not make me happy.  Not in the way that listening to Ben Folds does, because it reminds me of doing dishes with my siblings when we were kids, or the way Paul Simon does, because I remember listening to him in the car with my dad, the windows open and the wind whipping my hair around my face.

But I listen to their songs, and I know that even though there will never come a time when I am absolutely, perfectly happy - just like I will never move somewhere where, magically, the depression doesn't know how to find me - I know that things will always change.  And the hard times will be, if not less hard, differently hard.  Nursing school isn't easy.  Neither was falling out of love with Alix.  But look, here I am.  Still listening and singing along.

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