Putting Things Back

Earlier today, Kerrie jokingly asked me to write 300–400 words on “The Gift of Time” for a magazine assignment, and so I typed a bunch of garbage and laughed at my funny jokes and then felt the shadow of doom slowly creep over me as I realize I hadn’t posted October’s playlist.

October 2018: Putting Things Back

  • “Free To Go” — Folk Implosion
  • “Broken Radio” — Rainer Maria
  • “Don’t Change Your Plans” — Jen Buxton
  • “True Love — Part 2” — X
  • “Nothing Feels Good” — The Promise Ring
  • “The Front Door” — Valerie June
  • “Muddy Knees” — Days N Daze
  • “Chase Me” — Danger Mouse, Run the Jewels, Big Boi
  • “Never No More (’76 Seville Mix)” — Souls of Mischief
  • “How We Wanted It” — OK, Parade
  • “Calm Americans” — Elliott
  • “All I Think About Now” — Pixies
  • “Broken Songs” — Jim Ward
  • “World Of Entertainment (WOE is Me)” — Jurassic 5
  • “Ms. Hill” — Talib Kweli
  • “Too Late” — Bash & Pop
  • “It’s Gonna Be (Alright)” — Ween
  • “Whenever You Breath Out, I Breathe In (Positive Negative)” — Modest Mouse

The past month has been hard for a lot of reasons. The news sucks every day, so there’s that. The transition from summer to fall has been nearly impossible for the Vilhauer household. For the past two months, we’ve managed to rearrange everything; new schools and new teachers, new friends, new anxieties and new floors. Everything has changed, and we’re pulled taut trying to keep it all in place while we wait wait wait to get the okay to move it all back, piece by piece, hoping that it all fits back together. (Unlike the trim in our living room, apparently.)

We’re learning more and more how things don’t always fit back together. Isaac’s best friend’s brother was in a horrible bike accident — his surgeons were convinced it was a car accident — and after a month at Children’s Minnesota they’re just getting back into town. After too many CT scans and too many surgeries, after a previous discharge turned into an emergency flight back, after siting and waiting and waiting forever, they’ve finally returned.

Now they get to try to start putting things back where they belong. What does that do to a kid? What happens to your sense of security when you spend your seventh birthday in the hospital?

Sometimes, things are thrown around enough that they seem impossible to restore. All you can do is hold on. Sometimes you watch as anxiety grips a gentle heart — a nine-year-old heart, who is aching for his friend and that friend’s brother — and squeezes it tight, unrelenting and cruel. Sometimes you try to turn to the outside world for solace, but instead you’re treated to people having a beer party to celebrate sexual assault — the kind of thing that makes you want to give up trying to understand how the very systems built to protect us are so broken at their deepest levels.

And sometimes, it’s just a bunch of things, all at once. Sometimes you just learn to live with the mess. For a bit. You fight to make it right, but you know it won’t change overnight. You allow a deadline to slip in the name of self care. You shake it off and wake up refreshed but maybe a little ashamed. You do half the job, admit defeat, and hope things will be better the next day.

I am aware that there’s a lot of privilege in being able to do that — to be able to gingerly step through the mess as life is rearranged around you, walking through the other side with your health and your freedom and your dignity still intact.

But shit can still feel hard, even when it’s small. And all of those small things add up, and even though we’re comfortable — we’re fortunate and lucky and we remind ourselves of these things all the time time — sometimes we just get … tired. Sometimes, time itself likes to fuck with us, and then everything feels hard, and nothing feels good and then you look out the window and the world seems to be burning around you.

And I guess that’s why I forgot to post my playlist until now. I guess.

This was lovingly handwritten on October 11th, 2018