A Year in the Sun
Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.
— Sylvia Plath
One year ago, I sent out my first Returnings letter to about a dozen people. In many ways, it seems like no time has passed at all. In others, it feels like a lifetime ago. I am in a season of some pretty significant change, and while it is precisely the dosage of upheaval I anticipated in the beginning of the year, it hasn’t come about exactly in the way I envisioned. For that I am grateful, and I am excited for what lies ahead. I am also grieving for the lives I’ve had to let go of to get here. I am joyful and enamored. I am a little bitter and exhausted. I am so hopeful.
Holding space for so many different feelings, I’m struggling to articulate myself. I’m usually someone who has something to say and knows how to say it, and more often than not, my challenge is just to keep my damn mouth shut. There is so much I want to share here, but I’m tongue-tied.
So let’s go back to the beginning: a year ago, I was anxious about the summer and the stillness. It was uncomfortable and I was exhausted and only at the beginning of this season of change, of grieving, of letting go. I started going obsessively to the beach to be alone, to read, to heal. I started chasing hard after what I wanted. A year later, and I am still going to the beach every weekend I possibly can and I’ve found a lot of what I’ve been looking for. The idea of summer is a little less dreadful than it was last year. I still hate the heat and humidity, but I love the light and the longer days. It’s going to be a good summer.
For those of you who have been keeping up this year: thank you. I alluded to this in my letter last week, but I consider Returnings an intimate yet public space and I am grateful that you’ve allowed me to process here. When I started thinking about what Returnings was, I had some vague, probably grandiose notion, but no solid idea, no real plan. I still don’t really know what this is, but I know that it’s kept me connected with people I care deeply about but I don’t necessarily get to spend a lot of time with; it’s given me the space to be vulnerable with more people than I can be in my day-to-day life, and in a way that I don’t allow myself to be on social media. We get more spam in our inboxes than most forms of communication, but I do find something inherently more intimate and thoughtful about emails over Instagram stories and Facebook messages, something that’s more true to who I am and how I like to share myself.
My inbox is always open and I’m always thrilled when I get responses, both direct replies or when it comes up in conversation. I want this to be a space where you can share yourself as well, which is why I'm putting out a call for submissions. I am only one voice and there are so many of you who have important things to say, that only you can say, and there have been so many times where our conversations have spurred what I’ve written here.
Just think about it. In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine.