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  • Sharon Uy

#6. The Declaration of Codependence


Welcome to issue #6 of my letters! (You can read the others here.) I finished binging all available episodes of Handmaid's Tale, which means I can finally return to a regular sleep schedule, lower levels of anxiety, a daily workout regimen, and writing. Praise be.

I created the above in November of 2013 while on a music cruise somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. I was a few months into my art therapy master's program and keen on having my love and I make blind contour portraits of each other. (This was my drawing of him.) He was concerned the exercise might end up revealing some unfavorable interpretation of our relationship that only I, as art therapy magician, could decipher. I remember laughing as I told him it doesn't work that way. It still doesn't work that way.

"It still isn't over!" - Ryan Gosling in The Notebook.

As always, thank you for reading! <3


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When in the course of human events, it feels necessary for one person to further secure the emotional bonds which have connected them with another, well, as the saying goes, if you want to make god laugh, make plans.

Cosmic humor isn't something that's necessarily funny (i.e., "haha") so much as it is absurd (i.e., "...ha") and also somehow naturally befitting the course of being a human and experiencing human events in all of its utter absurdity.

I'm not fond of the word "weird." I always felt it was so much more derogatory than it could ever be complimentary. "An old wound arising to be healed," my spirit guide would probably say about that. As much as I deign to use the word as a descriptor of one's character, when I do use it, it's to characterize an icky feeling within that I'm unwilling to face, much less describe.

The last time I felt this particular version of "weird" was right after my UCLA graduation (in 2006?!). Granted, I was exceptionally hungover, but aside from that, I laid on the couch and felt that the axis of the world had shifted ever so slightly. And so, too, had mine. Something was amiss even though everything was fine, the unsettledness tolerable, but just so. Like when you know something bad isn't going to happen but you can't help fixating on the impossible possibility.

I now see that the weirdness was born from change. Seventeen years straight of schooling and then the dive off a cliff into the abyss of adulthood.

Some may find that thrilling. I found myself staring at the ceiling.

So long, safety net.

This time, a similar "weird," but different (the difference perhaps being that I'm now able to recognize cosmic humor). After fourteen years of working at UCLA - yes, I still work there, but not for much longer, and that also depends on your definition of "work" - I am being released from the vestiges of my boss's career as a scientist and thus my role as an editor. As much as I anticipated this happening one day, I anticipated it not happening ever.

I find it thrilling. I also find myself staring at the ceiling.

So long, safety net.

I didn't realize how much I needed safety nets, except the irony is that I don't need them. I just really like them. I relish in the comfort they provide, and I appreciate not having to think about surviving. It's a leisure, to be sure, to not anticipate their eradication, to be taken by surprise by its obliteration. Or maybe I do need them, otherwise I'll die. But I've long believed death is far from the end, so there's that, and also, swaha.

Every safety net that is eventually removed is a reminder of the fundamental aloneness of being human. And then I reach out for any reminder that I am not alone, even if that un-aloneness is an illusion. Maybe we are both alone and not alone, a paradox which, in itself, can be unsettling, too.

I am in-between, but really, I'm always in between something and another thing. Sandwiched between the past and the future, between who I used to be and who I am becoming. I like to be alone, but maybe I feel comfortable saying that because I have the safety net of not being alone. Perhaps I will plant myself atop a snowy mountain in a remote corner of the world for a while and let you know if I've changed my mind about liking being alone. Except knowing something will end is simply another safety net. Another sandwich, the space between a current suffering and the inevitable ceasing of it. Mmm, sandwiches.

The good news is that I'm not much concerned about being taken care of or taking care of myself. Everything always works out, either the way that we expect it to or the way that we don't. Maybe trust is a safety net, too. But one of my own making that I've woven together out of practices and prayers.

...Why do these things seem to get all droopy?

Droopy McDrooperson and the Droopers 'n shit.

I think as long as I can see the humor and the absurdity, whether it's a "ha" or a "haha," it'll be just fine.

Until next time-

<3 SBU

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