The fact of the matter is that last fall I went into the ditch, and I'm only now climbing out of it.
In November, the presidential election. I was following it closely and I knew exactly what it meant: the end of democracy and social progress in the United States for the rest of my life.
In December, my mother died. My failure as a son was complete and beyond remedy.
So. I've spent a while walking in despair. It's an interesting country.
People who express a lot of despair actually don't live there: they're teasing themselves with it, playing tag with it. They don't really believe it. When you believe it, it stops being a thing. It's not an alternate route: it's your own road, and it's the only road, and it's actually a pretty good place to have a good think. It's quiet there.
So I learned some things: one, that although I would have said I didn't have much hope for America, I would have been lying. Losing all hope for my country meant losing a lot, for me. It woke me up to how much I loved it and valued it: how basic a part of me it was.
Of course, it's always been a painful relationship. So there's some relief in ending it. I still live here, but my alienation is absolute, now. I'm a foreigner. An expat with no pat to be ex of.
I don't want anyone else to despair: I'm not writing this to urge anyone else to despair, or to stir up anyone to confute me. Not interested.
Losing my mom was another thing, more complicated, more difficult. It was a relief, first of all: I never expected her to die without having ruined me financially and emotionally, so to wake in a new bleak world, still solvent and still capable of love, was a surprise and a bitter-tasting pleasure.
It marked the end of all joyless obligation. Obligation is a good thing, and I am happy with all my remaining obligations: they are all based on love. That's a luxury that I've just begun to understand.
So I'm starting my life over, just waking up. I have everything to do over again.