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Thank You

I didn’t know how angry I was until I began to grieve. I noticed grief creeping in in late September. I saw things with emotional distance, mourned the yellow leaves as they fell, and on watching the frost settle in, passively mentioning to Nobody that I felt as though my friends were dying. I was dismissed for my thoughts, and the space was claimed by their own grief and anger. The days grew shorter and the burden grew heavier- soon I was flattened and saw that I had become nothing but a door mat on the threshold of a haunted house.

The liminal space was good for me; the flatness was not. There could be so much more than this, something round, something tangible- more, at least, than scraping the sidewalk dirt off the bottom of someone else’s shoes. Why was I the doormat, left outside in all weather to fend for oneself, expected to clean up messes I had no part in, necessary, and yet- forgotten. Why was I gatekept? Was what I offered not enough? Did I not serve the function I was meant to serve?

I longed to feel useful, to feel needed or wanted. A distinct sense of existential dread crept into my world view. If I could not even be a good doormat… How could I matter? How could anything matter? If the thing that is done is not validated, not seen, is it real? What is reality? How does science explain the simple act of existing?

With each question new dissonance arose. I shut off my external inputs, eschewed social media for a limited selection of humans who at the very least, I knew to be curious. In their own ways, each of these beings has traveled with me on my journey, for better or for worse, and I have been extremely grateful to their contributions.

And so, nearly a year since my last public writing, it is time to begin again with less anger, less blame, and more adoration for the bits of life I have been touched by. Healing is a process. Love is not synonymous with pain. Grief is not necessarily letting go. I have given all the vulnerability I can afford to give. It is up to you how you find me in the future.

Always- Ael Hawthorne

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