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It's been a hard few years.

Musings in word

I find I lose myself a lot less often than I used to.


Most times “I” was not conscious of the loss of “me.” Without warning, and with great frequency, I and me would find ourselves off-kilter, swinging wildly, banging around like a ghost in the attic. Lost together, neither of us were aware that we had gone awry. The one that was supposed to be doing the finding, or at least the not-getting-lost, was along for the ride. No one at the helm. Nothing to rope in the unmoored. (Since there was no one left to find us, were we even lost?)


The finding was never conscious, either. We would simply return to a kind of homeostasis that felt like something we recognized as “us.” The reprieve—the return—would vary in length: minutes, hours, days or weeks if we were lucky. We’d find a calm there, but also a fear. At least when we were lost there was nothing more to worry about, nothing left to lose. When you’re found, the possibility of loss is always dangling in the periphery. Lost colors found when found is fleeting.


You can start to recognize lost the longer you spend in found. It takes practice and patience, wrenching and succumbing, unguided wayfinding, and many, many mistakes. Embarrassing, awful mistakes. (It was all embarrassing and awful before, but now you’re really trying not to get lost, so it’s worse when you do.) Eventually, you find when you do lose yourself again, you don't spring out as far. The rubber band’s circumference has shrunk; the ricochets are less violent. Equally important is that now, one of you stays behind. There’s someone to come home to. I am here for when I’m found.


You might at times even lose the memory of being lost all together. Its vividness and pungency dull, and you can’t believe how wild you once were. What did it feel like to have no center, to be so far away from your “self”? How could both of you get lost for so long with no one to find you but you? And at some distant point, in a time unfamiliar for its stability and sameness, you may find yourself so far from being lost you no longer recognize found as found. (Does one exist without the other?) You just are.

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