This moment – life without answers


Natalie Mix

A photo from a day when I remember being so genuinely present for the first time in a while

It’s like I’ve been trying to play life like a game—for eighteen years, but especially lately. 

I have a laundry list of things I’m trying to be better at, I collect shifts in perspective like currency, and I’m perpetually searching for a formula that allows me to replicate irreplicable moments of happiness and presence. 

Every three weeks, when I sit down to write these editor’s columns, I try to have some answers to the questions I can’t stop asking, tangible progress to document. Any time I write at all, as I dance the final steps of an impassioned waltz with my problems, I desperately scramble to offer closure—something to make the hopeless tangle on the page less concerning. 

I never have the answers though. And life isn’t a game that you can play—I’m beginning to think there’s nothing quite so concrete as answers

My nights have been coming to a close closer to 11 p.m. lately, hours earlier than they used to. This week, I switched to Arizona Iced Tea instead of coffee, dulling the sharp edges of my caffeine addiction, and most mornings, I grab a bagel on the way out the door. I’ve been on more than a couple of walks lately, taking advantage of the weather that is only “nice” by Michigan’s standards, and I’ve been writing Notes app poetry to cope; I even started an Instagram account for all that poetry. 

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natalie and ella (@brokenteacupss) • Instagram photos and videos

But even with all of those pieces, all of the things that feel like they should be answers, I’m still sad. I hinge on the most temperamental of things for stability, and then with a handful of snowflakes, one canceled plan, or a perfectly timed glimpse of the future, I’m floundering again. 

That’s not to say I’m not proud of myself. How could I be anything but when the girl I was a year ago was fighting for her life, wishing she had half of what I have right now? The smile on my therapist’s face, two days ago, as I told her about my poetry account, my earlier bedtime, my love for my job, was proof enough that I deserve to be proud. 

But the tears I held back said something else—the first time I’d ever been that close to crying in therapy, all because of the realization that her words had brought me to. 

There is nothing here to fix, no answer to the sheer intensity that bubbles at the very core of my person. This is who I’ve always been. And sure, it’s felt a million times more overwhelming lately, completely oversaturated and dizzying, but it’s on the same spectrum that my whole life has been on. 

And I hate that—hate that there is no answer, no formula, hate that all I can do is learn to be okay with the intensity carefully stitched into me, learn to invite in what I loathe most, let it be, let it stay, and then let it leave. 

I hate that I know that it’ll take me too long to learn these lessons, has already taken me too long. I will continue to collect little revelations, the perfect thread to mend the holes that leave me vulnerable to every fluctuation of the weather. 

But I’m trying. Really, that’s all I can do. 

And right now, trying looks like this, like writing poetry as tears stream down my face. It looks like combatting my thoughts with truth—that my feelings are mine to hold, that they are okay, that they don’t deserve my frustration, that they don’t mean something is wrong with me.

Right now, trying looks like doing what I know is right, what works, and moving on from what doesn’t work. It looks like being alone when I need to be, being okay with being alone. It looks like doing the little things—short walks and making sure I eat and getting sleep and maybe drinking more water and asking for what I need from the people who can give me that. 

Right now, trying looks like trust. All I’m meant for is this very moment. Everything beyond that is meant for a different version of me, and I have to trust that she will be entirely capable of handling everything she’s meant to handle. I don’t want to—can’t—take on the fears of what belongs to her. 

you are not


the version of yourself

meant to hold the future’s fragile fantasies

She will be ready when the time comes. I will be ready when the time comes.