Life gave me lemons, and I’ve spent these days making do with them


Meghan Kennedy

A picture I captured of a book that washed up onto Lake Superior’s shore, surrounded in a heart of rocks.

These days have been about quarreling with my overwhelmed, overworked, over-sensitive, over-everything mind. Barrelling through seasons of shows I’ve seen as many times as I’ve blinked. Feeling a tentative sense of accomplishment when a playlist hits the eight-hour mark—playlists made up of new music, good music, mediocre music, and the same music all at once. Laying on the boards of my deck, socks damp from paw prints and melting snow. They have been about finding difficulty in responding to texts, opening Snapchats, looking into the window of other lives. 

They have been about the lack of food left beside the contents of ripped cracker boxes and bags of frozen fruit. Eating lunch alone, then together, with the same food, same routines, same conversations. Digging out the clay packed under my fingernails, washing off graphite-stained palms, and erasing the paint plastered on my coat. Watching Beaches, listening to Tears for Fears, and reminiscing on the 80s—a time in which I had not yet been born. Filling bird feeders, naming wild animals, and chatting for hours with my neighbor. Smelling new soil and new greens and contacting the growing Earth with my fingertips. They have been about trying to find the good in the mundane.

They have been about dealing with a car that doesn’t like me anymore. Realizing that a sixty-degree day is the most exciting thing that’s happened in a while. Applying uncooperative makeup to dry skin. Recognizing that my sense of smell and taste are normalizing again. They have been about bracing myself for an upcoming birthday that feels unreal.

They have been about wondering what the other outcomes would be.

They have been about my nonexistent attention span, consumed by a grossly increased screen time statistic. Living on “Do Not Disturb” with a radio silent ringer. Catching yawns from strangers in passing cars. Chipping nails that are far too long—dressed in decaying black polish—and an inhibited ability to spell as I type. Being scared of things that should not be scary. Counting all of the money I once earned and browsing things I can’t afford. They have been about outlining my May and June and cementing plans for my creeping future.

They have been about trying to lighten the load of things, trying to make it easier for myself, but not finding success in that. Not knowing what to say about anything—too many words and not enough brain to form them. Breaking out of comfort zones only to be buckled back into them. Wanting to commit while wrestling my indecisiveness. Feeling guilt in my practices and about everything I need to be doing but am not. Trying to learn how to not care and brush things off and finding how that doesn’t happen overnight. Trying to suck it up and do what I need to do and not having the luck I hoped for. Feeling like I’m going at this solo, yet having so many shoulders to lean on. They have been about wondering what the other outcomes would be.

They have been about trying to find the words to say to the people who need them the absolute most. Not being able to fathom the horrible and the neutral and the good things that have occurred. Empathizing with smiles that turn to frowns and sobs in the matter of one sentence, one phone call. Discovering the pain I wasn’t aware of and not knowing how much it could ever affect me. Processing the glimpse into a reality that I thought was upon us; the places and people who would change so, so drastically. Imagining family without the one I seemingly just bunked with. They have been about learning about how much a small, orange bottle can alter a storyline. 

They have been about taking a second to look at my world and feeling grateful for the things and people around me. Outgrowing places and plots that I never thought I would outgrow. Being humbled by my own lack of speech. Feeling relieved for the life I remembered I have on the weekends. They have been about hoping everything for everyone will end up full circle. 

These days have been about watching the world pass me by, and how it all falls to matter at my feet.