3 years, 6 months, 12 days

I would write “I’m back” here, only I’ve essentially written that many a time and not quite followed through. This is my first post in three and a half years. Three years, six months, and twelve days. There’s a pleasing symmetry to that. It’s incredible how much my life has changed in that time.

For one, I’m married now! My wife Rubi and I had our one month anniversary two days ago. Seeing the date of my last post on this blog (July 19, 2017), two things come to mind: I was already in love with Rubi, and we hadn’t started dating yet. She told me she had feelings for me four months later. We were long distance for another three years, including a brutal stretch of 13 months without seeing each other because of COVID travel restrictions. We got through that, and she makes me happier then I knew I was capable of being happy. When I last posted, I wasn’t even dating Rubi yet. That’s wild to think about for me. She’s my best friend, and I have trouble remembering what life was like before we were in love.

Another, much less happy thing comes to mind when I see the date of my last post. It was one year and three months after the death of my mom. If there’s any one thing that caused me to cease updating this blog, it was that. I tried in vain to post through the haze of my grief, but it didn’t work. My mom was such an inspiration to me as a writer and so much of writing became painful for me when she died. I didn’t give it up entirely, but writing about movies became impossible for some reason. I spent the first three years after my mom’s death figuring out the vocabulary for my own grief. Once I had it, I realized I needed help.

My last post was seven months before I started seeing a counselor who specialized in grief. My counselor, Caroline, ended up helping me come to terms with my mom’s death and then so much more. I ended up going to sessions with her for two and a half years. I came away from those sessions with a profoundly better understanding of myself, and of how to cope with grief and anxiety. Grief therapy isn’t easy. It can’t be. EMDR sessions could feel like running a marathon in wet sand. But I always came away with a sense of progress, that the terror I dealt with (grief had caused me to conflate sadness and fear in ways that made me repress any and all negative feeling in a profoundly unhealthy way) was manageable, that I could make it cease to be scary. Grief had made sadness terrifying to me. Therapy helped me learn how to feel sad again, which in turn helped me feel happy again.

I can’t describe how happy I am right now. I’m married to my best friend, and after years of long distance we are building a life together. I spent so many years afraid of the future. I look to my future with Rubi and I feel such joy.

Rubi and I live in Baton Rouge, Lousiana now. Life has a normality to it that I never thought I’d feel again. And this week, I started missing writing about movies again. I’ve missed it plenty of times before, but it’s been a long time since I felt that tug of inevitability that I used to feel, the sense that I had to write about movies again, the sense that kept me coming back to this blog for six years. I don’t know what I’ll write about yet, but I can feel that gentle vibration of words that need to be seen again.

So much has happened in three years. There will always be a gap between this post and the last one, and that gap will always represent a journey that I undertook, one in which I learned to cope with grief, one in which I fell deeply in love, one in which the love of my life endured literal years of separation and distance, one in which we finally joined our lives together. And along the way, through love and healing, I realized how much I needed to write about movies again. I’m back.

About johnmichaelmaximilian

Freelance writer from New Bedford, Massachusetts. Movies are my favorite thing.

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