I remember being heartbroken when I was 15 or 16. I would put on sappy love songs and wail. The pain was so acute.
I also remember telling friends that I enjoyed the heartache. I would tell them that the greater the pain I was experiencing, the greater the joy I knew I was capable of. Even as I said those words I knew they were far too profound for someone my age to really grasp. But, I couldn't explain it, there was a sweetness to the sadness that felt cleansing, whole.
I still believe that to be true but somewhere along the line I stopped focusing on the sweetness and only felt the pain and judgement of my negative emotions.
Heartbreaking experiences became the opposite of what I experienced back then. The greater the joy I experienced, the greater the pain when the experience was over. I stopped believing that the pain meant another new amazing experience was possible that was even greater than the one I just lived.
When my year of hugs was over I sank in to a depression that felt like loss. Loss of the connection and belonging I had experienced during that year. When my cross country trip was over I was distracted by my divorce, the ending of both compounding the heartbreak I felt from the ending of each bringing me back into the feeling of disconnection from humanity.
Now, I find myself once again navigating the depths of depression as all of humanity is physically disconnected through this pandemic. The writing of my memoir is a lifeline. A reminder that no matter how disconnected I may feel, that disconnection can not be real as we are all one. It is a reminder that the experience of embarking on the hug journeys as well as the adventure of a failed marriage encompass the highs and lows that life is made of and what we are here for.
I can only hope that by the time I have completed my book I have had the opportunity to take all of the experiences, the extreme highs and devastating lows and alchemized them into something that helps each of us to move forward in embracing it all, remembering the sweetness in the sadness, and choosing it all over and over again. Together.
I'm actually doing it. I'm finally writing my book. (insert giddy giggle here) Of course, now I see why this book waited so long to arrive, after all, a hug memoir depicting a journey that was taken pre-pandemic would only have held up until 2020. Now, I get the joy of exploring these journeys taken pre-pandemic in a post-pandemic world. Ultimately, I hope this book envelops you in a great big hug that feels like coming home.