The beauty of being older is that you may experience pain but you know it’s only temporary. You will float right out of it eventually. You have all the evidence in memory and sometimes even in writing that all the things that so wounded and destroyed you when you were younger, and continued to do so over and over, will keep happening, and you will get over all of it. You will come right out the other side of the pain and feel almost as good as new.

Reading notes I’d jotted down from 1996, 2001, 2011, and various other points throughout, I see my pain splattered all over the pages, remembering exactly what I was doing, where I was sitting, even how I was breathing or crying or wringing my hands or writhing in physical pain, when all these catastrophes occurred – real catastrophes and crises or just those minor dust-ups that inveigle the heart – and I can even smile at this repeated pouring out of the fucked-up muck of life. All that agony, frustration, keeping up appearances, feeling used, tremendous loss, self-torture, deconstructing so many illusions, treading water, fecklessness, justifications: all of it felt like something once but eventually becomes something you don’t consciously remember.

Photo (c) Paul Costanich.

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