many brilliant things

This June I saw a play called Every Brilliant Thing. 

In it, a man, who is at first a boy, then a teenager, and then a man, lists brilliant (wonderful, special, amazing) things for his mother, who is depressed, in an attempt to cheer her up. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, and knowing my affinity for life and love, it won’t be the last.

I’ve been anxious lately, my stomach in knots. For almost two weeks I thought I was sick, but now I’m pretty sure that sickness was just anxiety. Which is a sickness, too, but ya know.

You can be anxious and happy. In fact, happiness — which is a really terrifying thing if you think about it — often triggers feelings of anxiety. Most of them look like, “How do I hold onto this?”

I saw Every Brilliant Thing with my sister and mother and my mother’s good friend. I sat next to my coworker, by happenstance. I cried at least three times, maybe more. Life is very much worth crying about, for every reason you can imagine.

My brain has trouble quieting; I haven’t practiced yoga in months because I am afraid of being alone with my mind. I could benefit from meditation, but I could also benefit from sobriety (probably). Neither one is happening anytime soon.

Writing helps the thinking.

And, so, I present you with my current list of brilliant things. These serve as salves for wounds imaginary and otherwise, for takers-up-of-time when something more dire could fill empty moments. These are my life:

Emma Louise sniffing the air when food is cooking.

The very, very subtle feeling of raised text on paper.

Bonfire smells.

My sister, doing, well, anything. She is funnier, smarter, and more kind than I can be.

Melted cheese. With and without ketchup.

Driving home and ending up there, forgetting what the driving was like.

Kind of shitty black coffee.

The coffee my boyfriend makes me and serves me in one of his seemingly endless to-go cups.

Also, his face when he’s confused. And then a big smile when he isn’t.

Deep breaths that don’t catch.

Inexplicable loss of hearing after a hard workout.

Texts from my mother, father, and sometimes my brother. (I love you, too).

Running inside after gathering a basket of just-dried clothes. Dumping them on your bed, jumping into their warmth.

A perfectly fried egg.

Moments of fierce remembering, and also of forgetting.

The knowledge, the hope, the desire, that these brilliant things will continue for as long as you may live.