permanent, intolerable uncertainty

Saturday was my last class session and I am now an INELDA-trained death doula. Earlier this evening I officially put my listing up on their site, which is moderately terrifying. I turned my f*book back on so that I can be in the student/support group that they host, and the dopamine hit has been pretty nice; although it has been disappointing to see that there are still people stuck in ‘how can this be happening’ and ‘what’s next oh no’ and ‘this is leading to [insert awful thing here]’. I am confused that people are still confused. It’s not almost fascism, it IS fascism. It’s not becoming a police state, it IS a police state. There’s not much point in staying in the head space of denial, hard as that is. I’m not expecting easy things of my fellow earth-dwellers; I’m expecting them to do the hard things.

Unless we do the hard things, what is the fucking point?

It’s possible that one day when I am decades older and my children are grown-ass people in their thirties and forties, perhaps with children of their own, there might be a sort of peace or happiness that is part of what’s normal. One day, perhaps, the things we struggle and fight for will actually happen.

In the meantime, everything is a weird dissociative chaos that makes me personally feel like I’m simultaneously going insane and also a large snow monster completely frozen in place. Teeth like icicles that break when I need them, legs that won’t move, unable to stop the world from being smacked right in the face with the consequences of our choices over days and weeks and years and millennia, all in the span of months.

I am very much in the present time, making sure masks are clean and sanitizing the fuck out of my hands, worrying when anyone needs to leave the house, ordering books and more books and even more books, because for some reason the possibility and hidden wisdom that might be in those books does actually make me feel better for a finite period of time.

I am also very much in the past and the future; the trauma that I’ve carried for tens of years becomes a problem at the most problematic of times. Trying to see forward into the future any further than the end of the day seems like a ridiculous effort, even though I constantly try, grasping for the shadows of hope. How can I possibly know what tomorrow will bring? All I can do is assume that I’ll be alive to find out what it is.

The worst part of reactivating my social media account is that I forgot that I had my ex-girlfriend on read-first — since when I deactivated, I didn’t realize she was already my ex — although undoing that option is either hidden or gone so I can’t change it and I really didn’t want to see her status updates. I haven’t unfriended her — she is still connected with me on keybase and on Twitter too. I did unfollow her Instagram because I opened the app a few weeks ago and suddenly there she was, talking about someone who wasn’t me, after months of silence. It hurt. A lot. And I’m foolishly pursuing the idea of having some kind of closure or a neatly tied up ending, and I think I’ll get none of that.

The most upsetting thing is actually that I left one of my most favorite blankets at her apartment so she could wrap herself in it when she missed me; and I want it back.

It’s weird to leave a social media platform, not intending to go back, then three months later realize that you’ll either need a throwaway account or reactivate your original one; and then logging in, everything looks and sounds and feels exactly how it did three months ago. There’s been no change and it’s distinctly uncomfortable. I love seeing people I’ve been worrying about, but the rest of everything else is just the same as it was before and I think I’ve gotten enough perspective on my life in these last pandemic months (six months and counting) to see bullshit where I didn’t notice it before.

What this bullshit-recognizing superpower is going to do for me, I don’t know, but there it is all the same. As my beloved Ursula K. Le Guin once said,

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

Nix Kelley
Co-parent to multiple kids. Writer. Death doula. Member of the Order of the Good Death. Seeker on the Path of Light. Queer, non-binary, & trans.


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