The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing




I can’t change the past nor the path I’ve taken to date. But I can choose to feel where I need to—and where it feels right to—end something unnamable and begin something also unnamable. 


Sandbox Volume Twenty. We have arrived. 


I thought yesterday that I was turning a corner and I think I have. But I do remember turning a lot of false corners in the therapy with Eileen so I’m wary. I remember ending volumes with a musical type of crescendo, me, I believe, still in a not fully conscious state, trying to desperately conclude or get out of some bad place in my head and feeling like I could do so by ending a volume. Or me feeling, briefly better and thinking that my happily ever after state of mind warranted a volume change. 

Which is all to say that I think that there is some truth to these really salient moments in life—in healing and in growth—but that there is something to be said to not taking any one moment particularly too seriously. Or too far. 

There is something to be said for turning a corner. But not being switchy about it. 


Describe this corner you have turned?


I feel like I fell down on my knees yesterday and hit a bottom. One where I needed to just feel all the mounting sadness I’d been feeling for months—hell probably years and decades—and just be with it. 

I felt, looking out of that living room window, that something was breaking through and becoming a lot clearer. 

It was past meets present; me sitting in a stew of what had become intolerable amounts of loneliness. There was merit to feeling this way in my life presently. And there was certainly something resonant about it bubbling up from my past too. 

In desperation I made the choice to get off social media and nearly immediately I began to feel better. And as I thought about it yesterday I could see that slowly over time social media had eroded my sense of my journey, my sense of peace, my sense of accomplishment and of happiness. 

I began to just feel bad about everything; bad about people I missed, bad about my journey, bad about amounting to nothing in comparison to what, in the end, are shiny, curated, bullshit kind of images of other people’s lives and comings and goings. 

Not uncommon, I read articles and listened to podcasts about others who’d arrived in similarly uncomfortable and sad spots. And how just getting up and away did wonders. Most never missed it and never returned. 

I did yesterday what a lot people in those articles did too which was to choose to meet a friend and spent time with her in real life. I gave her a selection of shakers and watched her choosing the pair she wanted, witnessed her literally jumping up and down with joy and I thought…yes…yes…yes. 

I went to the studio too and instead of bracing against my connections I seemed to breathe into them with a more open heart. But with eyes more open too, wondering if and how these connections nurture me relative to how much I give to them. I stayed in the moment, absorbed everything and everyone and felt at peace. 

As I drove to from one thing to another yesterday I remembered my childhood where I felt constantly stabbed by a “best friend” who seemed to remind me every day that I was less than. She had everything I wanted it seemed. As I child I had nowhere to go with this sadness so I just stuffed it. 

But I remember with clarity how hard it was to swallow. And how I had absolutely nowhere to go. 

I spent a good deal of time as a child in a very deep and conscious meditation also longing nearly every single day for another kid’s life; imagining how it would feel to be in their shoes, daydreaming about the lunches their mom would pack for them, the ski trips, and in it all, finding not sadness but rather escape. I believe in the beginning of my meditation I called this putting on my “anyone else but me” suit. 

I hated my life growing up. It was filled with anxiety and dread. And, as mentioned in a recent transcript, a real dearth of joy. A joy desert with maybe one or two desert blooms here and there. But not much. 

And over the past months I think I got myself to this same place emotionally; feeling isolated, wanting to live someone else’s life, reflexively putting on that “anyone else but me” suit spiked by social media and being unable to feel hardly an ounce of joy. 

Not all but most of the pain and depression seemed to be surrounding my Sandbox. And I think it’s because I must have felt long ago that I could write my way out of my sadness and loneliness by having something to show for it. Even when I was nine, sitting in that garage with a stack of blank pieces of paper. I thought I could make something of that summer that sat empty in front of me. 

I suppose I was deeply lonely for most of my childhood. 

And I suppose that likely had to do with growing up without my parents because I’d chosen a distance from them to survive. 

As I think about all this, remember some of it with clarity, I can feel the sadness that seems to nearly turn to that nauseous state of near-tears. I thought without consciousness that I could find my way, find my happiness through writing. Though I had not a clue how to do it nor what to say. 

This pattern has come to the fore for me this summer, in a very painful, ramping up by the day, enactment. I think it’s needed to so that I could stop re-playing the script and make some changes. 

Changes that, for one, include beginning a new volume. 

And joining a writing group which I officially did yesterday. 

And by deepening, exploring, and opening up to relationships in my life—whether it be to assess how to change the relationships I have to make them work for me. And/or explore new connections in my life. 

For the first time I would say in years, I woke this morning and I felt zero pressure to work on some book I think I need to write about this journey and about this Sandbox. 

I felt clearly that this work could be done in other ways, in new ways, in a place that might be more helpful and more healing. I am not sure what this is about, exactly, but the shift inside of me feels distinct and healthy. 


Sandbox Volume Twenty. We really have arrived. 


I shared my transcript yesterday with Teresa and she remarked that a masterpiece can’t prove one’s worth. But that continuing to follow my journey offers healing. 

And she’s right. 

The masterpiece thinking is an echo from long ago, one that I can see now that the barn’s burned down. 

So I put the masterpiece away for now. And allow myself some rest.