“Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.” Jasmine Warga
I have a confession to make: I have a really big cloud of darkness inside of me. Or maybe it’s around me. All I know is it’s kind of always there. It’s with me when I’m having a raspberry cornetto in the morning. It sits beside me on the balcony when I’m drinking a glass of wine at sunset and winding down from a long work day. It watches me sleep and lies beside me on Tuscan beaches in the summer. It’s just there. Waiting. Like a CREEP at Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station, you know the vibe? Just waiting and waiting and patiently waiting for my transient moment of weakness so it can grab my weird prison-tattooed arms and take me underwater for a few days.
Sometimes, my cloud brings on a storm that lasts for a few weeks. And sometimes it sticks around for months. Do you know what fighting a dark cloud is like? It’s RIDICULOUS because you can’t see it, but you know it’s there.
Okay, maybe I’m not doing a good job at explaining my cloud. So remember when Shane West says, “Our love is like the wind. I can’t see it but I can feel it” about Mandy Moore after she dies in A Walk to Remember? It’s exactly that, but switch the words “Our love” to “MY DARK ANNOYING CLOUD.”
Now, if you know me—like really know me—then I’ve probably told you about my biggest fantasy. It involves dipping my brain in disinfectant. DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT. I wish I was kidding, but this is my blog and you came here at your own risk. I have this uncontrollable urge sometimes to unplug my brain and disinfect it. CLEANSE IT. PURIFY IT. WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT—stay with me—if I could just rip my whole brain out of my big head, dip it in a big bucket of hand sanitizer or bleach, LET IT SOAK REAL GOOD so it can get rid of all of the intrusive thoughts and memories that make me sad and stop me from the living the life I want to live. Wouldn’t that feel so good? To just eliminate all of the bad? And then, all I would have to do is hang my brain on the clothesline (I live in Italy and don’t have a dryer, but if you’re North American, maybe you can put your brain in the dryer) so it can air dry under the Tuscan sun. Once it’s nice and clean, I just put it right back in my head and plug it back in. Hit restart. VOILÀ.
These are the things I dream about. But let’s go back to the cloud because unless Elon Musk figures out this “dipping my brain in bleach” thing for me, I might have to stick with meditation and anxiety podcasts for healing.
My cloud’s been around since 2010. She’s 11 years old. She’s almost a teen. She’s been hanging out since I watched my incomparably kind and talented 23-year-old brother get sick and never get better. She’s been around since I saw my Mom, my beautiful Mom GIOVANNA (that wild wild woman who would laugh until she cried—kinda like me) panic at the hospital when she thought she was about to die and say, “okay, now what? What do I do? what should I do?” The suffering and fragility of being human. Holy shit guys, the suffering.
Seeing that kind of ruthless pain inflicted on the people I loved more than anything and who didn’t do anything wrong when I was 19 kinda fucked up my brain a little (okok a lot), you know? And I feel like if you’re still reading this (but if you’re about to leave I understand because this might be a little too real and a little too dark for some), you’ve probably gone through it at some point in your life too.
So the cloud. I’ve almost come to terms with the fact that the cloud’s not going anywhere—even though I tried breaking up with her more times than I can count. I tried making her disappear with homemade moonshine, with Jack Daniels, with wine, with Zoplicone (remind me to write a blog about all of the times I hallucinated on airplanes because of this), with Xanax, with Valium, with people, with loneliness, with new highs, with transatlantic moves to countries and provinces(turns out clouds can travel to Tuscany too, WHO KNEW), with jobs, with relationships and with everything else you can think of. Sure, some of those things made the cloud a little more transparent, but she stuck around LIKE A STAGE 5 CLINGER.
So if we have no control over clouds, what can we do? I guess we keep on making the best of these trips around the sun. And we let the cloud sit by our bedside because it’s a reminder that we’re human.
Kindness and beauty can’t save you from suffering. There are so many things in life that you will never be able to control. Let me repeat that a second time for myself: there are so many things in life that you will never be able to control, LISA. You can be kindhearted and thoughtful and courageous and well-behaved and strong, but that won’t stop the pain from coming.
The past few days have been particularly hard on me and a few strangers were unnecessarily rude to me so I wanted to write this little blog post as a reminder that a lot of people are walking around with clouds weighing them down (even the ones who seem happy) and you could be the reason they feel just a little bit lighter today. So maybe don’t be a jerk. And maybe try to be the reason someone laughs today. And compliment people because it makes them feel good. Did I say laugh? LAUGH as much as you can and as hard as you can because it feels good and it’s healing. And I think clouds are allergic to laughter.
A presto xoxo