“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured” – Kurt Vonnegut
Here’s what I’ve noticed: people are surprisingly willing to love so long as you make them feel safe to do so. Lately I look around at the tribe composed of all my friends met around the couch and feel like the luckiest person in the world. All I did was offer a place to sit, a few creative ventures and maybe a watermelon. Voila, I have a family. The couch offered a safe place that became a breeding ground for the closest friendships. (“Its our nest!” – Alev)
Yesterday I went to the orthopedic to check out my knees. They had been bothering me and swelling up all winter but I ignored it for athletic purposes. Finally made an appointment in August. Go me! Dr. T looked at my x-rays, frowned, and started to probe my knees until I yelled.
“You’re too young for this.” He said, scrutinized my face, trying to see what explanation I could give him.
“Well… does it matter that I have Lyme Disease?” Recognition flew over his face and he nodded in sympathy.
I have early onset arthritis in my 20s. The doctor didn’t realize in the moment that he was giving me a cherry on top of a bad news sunday. I panicked, holding it together until I got in my truck and lost it. My joints have to keep functioning. I love to be active, to be outside, to play music. Mobility is everything. If what’s now called “post treatment Lyme disease” was recognized, researched and fixable a little arthritis would be no big deal. But to have locked joints is just another tumbling rock in a landslide. I already had a multitude of body breakdowns. Every single one had a reaction from the medical world of “I can’t do anything for you.”
Lately it seems like a future is constantly slipping from my grasp.
One call- to my sister. “Linz. I know this is hard to hear. Feel it for an hour and then get on with life. Work on the couch. Be with your friends. You can’t afford to let disappointment take over.”
I rolled my windows down, drove up the Wasatch blaring music and screamed my head off for forty minutes. After that I filed the pain away and found composure.
When I went home to tell my roommates their faces reflected how I felt. This was a blow for them too. Seeing this I realized I would never be alone. I could let it go because they hurt for me. They hugged me so tight the sadness squeezed out. And- most importantly- I wasn’t afraid of a future or no future, because I have people.
Blake cut shorts so short they displayed his perfect thighs, put on a helmet and couch cape and screamed “Sparta!”. Alev kissed me on the cheek. Roz smiled and said, “Good thing you have a couch!” Lizzy promised bionic knees are the new fad. We sat on the porch and laughed.
I said it once, I’ll write it again- my friends are the world.