The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing




There are positive things about a wrenched back: one is that it shows me that my body knows how to heal itself—and quickly. It allows me rest. And it demonstrates to me, with clarity and with no thought, how one thing is so connected to another, how everything impacts everything else. 

I wake this morning seeing that I am digging hard these days to try and figure out why so much sadness. Some of the digging I do right here, with consciousness, and some of it just happens, comes out in unexpected ways. 

Like last night. When we are having dinner with “close” friends whom I realize, as the dinner goes on and as I open my mouth to speak, maybe haven’t been that close. 

I tell them about being harassed at the studio. 

And then, without a lot of thought, I tell them about the long journey that I have taken to file a complaint against a therapist who really damaged me. 

I’ve known these friends for years and they have known me through all of it. 

But in truth they haven’t known me through any of it. 

Because they haven’t really cared to ask or to listen or to really see what’s going on with me. It is not as if I didn’t try. One of them was a therapist. And I sent a Sandbox introduction years ago. I tried to talk. 

And she said close to nothing. 

Except I’m gonna leave you alone, don’t want to get in the way of the trajectory of your process. 

Also known as…I don’t care and I don't want to know.

And that was it. Nothing ever again. 

For years.   

I felt distance. Chosen distance. And a heaping pile of judgement. 

In speaking last night, in telling my story, I was able to find something, a clue, I believe, to this enormous sadness lately. 

I realized that my life has been like this for years--years of walking in a desert alone, my life filled with people who have known a little and who have chosen to not know more. Along with this I have felt years of mounting rejection and loneliness. 

And I think for years and years I've been trying to counter act this in the form of trying to write a book to find acceptance and to be heard. 

Until at some point I capitulated and gave up on the book and decided to put up a website instead. 

For a very long time it seems like I could not find what I see now as the simplest and clearest explanation as to why the website. I kept thinking it was a way to put my story up somewhere so I could find it and see it better—a detective emptying his desk out of all the clues and posting the mystery up on a bulletin board for better clarity. 

Or I was a painter and all my entries, all these versions of this work, thousands of pages, raw footage and footage more cleaned up, I could curate and choose and put up into a gallery and not have to force myself into a linear tale I seemed unable to tell. 

I had theories as to why the website but I was, in the end, really kind of stumped too. 

I just knew the website had to be. Every cell in my body told me I needed this website. 

And now I know why. 

It is the simplest answer and the one that is most correct. 

It's that I've been parched for years, walking in a desert without nourishment, without people around me who care, who know me deeply and well.

The website was created because I couldn't stand the loneliness for one more second. 

I could say it's all my fault--this loneliness. I could reach to find some kind of wisdom that tells me that the loneliness I feel is solely my making. 

But it's not.

And I choose not to go there and to blame myself this morning. I care not to take responsibility for it. Or come up with a plan to change it all. 

I only wish to sit with this truth. 

With what, I feel, remains if I strip things away. 

The truth, my truth is that I do not feel support and love and warmth surrounding me. 

I do not feel at all known. 

Or cared about it. 

I feel it from my partner, Pete—in spades. And Not Gods for that I am beyond grateful. 

But I do not feel it anywhere else. 

Nowhere else. 

I feel that I can and that I do give it. 

But I do not get it. 

Someone I thought I had a pretty close connection in writing with for years announced, without me ever knowing, on Facebook a few weeks ago the arrival of a new baby. Not a word about a pregnancy during a year we had conversations. 

And then, voila, there is a child. 

I knew nothing. Was told nothing. 

It left me feeling so…disconnected.

Another person I felt I was so deeply connected to…a promise to write six months or a year ago and…nothing. 

Three people very recently I shared the Sandbox with and three…nothings.

So a few days ago I decided to just turn off that measly ad campaign that I’d winnowed down to a dollar a day. 

Why bother. 

Is this log checking supposed to be a substitute for being known and loved and held and connected somehow? 

What good does it really do me to look at some log fifty times a day to watch someone read a few pages and leave. 



I am getting nothing out of it except my pocket slowly drained. 

So I paused the thing. 

And I moved the monitoring of the site’s activity further away from my reach. 

I stopped checking social media because it’s bullshit and has been serving only to make me and my life feel worthless and meaningless—my dark, buried sad self doesn’t need to be seeing the shiniest, curated version of others. 

Yesterday was a hot, windless, painful day, where I wrenched my back and had to just sit with it. 

I had to just sit with me and how I felt. 

I couldn’t swim it away. Or run it away. Or clay it away. Or write it away. 

I had to just sit, alone, in a house one third empty, on a dark brown couch covered with a sheet so that it wouldn’t get cat fur all over it, in front of a picture window with bright light streaming through because the beautiful tree that used to offer shade, two months earlier had uprooted. 

I had to sit in that sunlight, sun that could not and would not be filtered for years to come by the new tree I’d purchased to take the old tree’s place. 

I had to sit with this sadness and just own it without knowing really what it was or where it was coming from. 

And as I sat there I saw myself sitting in this living room that never really felt like mine a few years back, when I first was triggered into the meditation. 

I remember wondering if I would land in this house, no longer with Pete anymore. 

I remembered those moments and I remember them now as I tap away in the morning. 

I remember that fall, the first fall of the meditation, four years ago, how there was, despite the unknowing and chaos and pain and longing and untethered grief something that I no longer have. 

Which is hope. 

Hope has morphed into something else these days leaving me with the sunlight through the window that’s unfiltered. 

The beautiful Mimosa that made me want to buy the house is gone. 

And I’ve been left with a view, one that is clearer, but one that I don’t love, one where I can see for miles but also straight in front of me too, ugly electrical wires. 

How I miss the tree. 

And how I miss how it used to shade me with all those lacy branches that bloomed in the late spring, sprouting messy pink blossoms. 

How I miss the vague notion that someday this mediation would amount to something—that I would amount to something. 

Yesterday felt like the antidote to this hope; where I sat in the harsh light of my new view and confronted how badly I felt and have been feeling. 

How years and years have passed mostly in silence for me. 

No book. 

No emergence of something unknown but beautiful. 

Nothing but me in a one third emptied house on a couch I’d bought over a decade ago that I rarely ever sat in. 

Just me, my back wrenched, wondering where the time had gone, what I’d made of it if I’d never come up with some masterpiece that could wrap its wordy arms around me and my life and everything these past four years have done to me and for me. 

This was me and just me. 

Sitting on this couch.  

Without hope. 

Stripped of it.

Those friends last night are friends. But not deeply close ones. Not ones that know who I really am. Not friends who, when given the chance, reached and tried. 

My life feels filled mostly with these people who are friends but who..aren’t. 

On this couch I confront that I am lonely. 

Deeply, desperately, lonely. 

I own it. 

I am it. 

And maybe because I’ve hit this rock bottom I can find something here, on the ground, to grab onto and from which to build something new. 

Not Gods, I cry out to you. 

And I ask you how can I come out of this darkness? 

I feel so alone, Not Gods, so very, very alone. 


You are right to feel alone for you have, S, been deeply and consistently ignored. Not by Pete for we must be clear. But by nearly everyone else. You need to sit with this, confront this, and, only when this is done may we rise from the depths of sadness we are feeling. 

Do not make excuses for others. For the tree that gave us comfort also shielded us from a clearer view. 

Let us venture forth and find hope that is married to deeper, clearer, more strongly rooted truths.