I had been warned (and warned) to beware the Con Drop. However, I can be a bit of a cocky sort, and one of the perks of being Invincible is that one need not worry about such mortal afflictions. So I’m fine. Tired, sure. Achy as all hell. Maybe a little drained. But I’m fine.
My cats run to the door when I walk in. They’re excited to see me. Usually I’m even more excited to see them, but I’m not. I don’t think about it.
I look down at my phone; my mother is calling. Not a chance in hell, lady, not right now. I don’t think about it.
I lay in bed (glorious, glorious bed) and start reading through the mindless online chatter. I throw on some Mountain Goats, my go-to ‘mellow but deep and emotionally resonant’ background music. I’m scrolling through twitter, watching the #ccon feed slowly dry out as one by one people return to the lives they lead for the other 361 days of the year.
My cat sits on me. I gently push him away. He climbs up on my chest. I push a little harder. He isn’t relenting. Now he thinks this is a game. Because every other time we do this, it is. This time, it isn’t.
I start to cry. Not a nice little Sinead O’Connor tear, either. Full on, Alice in Wonderland, ugly crying. I cry harder, and harder. I’m not eve sure why, I just do.
For a very long time to come, I will credit Catalyst for changing the way I see myself and the world around me. It’s pretty impressive for 72 hours, but there is not a spare hour in that 72. I have never been around so many people (in general, for that long) who made me feel so accepted, at ease, and inspired.
At the same time this is the most grueling thing I have ever done. I got less sleep than Christian Bale a la The Machinist. I was challenged emotionally, physically, and socially. My entire worldview was flipped over sideways and fucked in the ass. Did I like it? Yes. Did it hurt? Oh fuck yeah.
I’m still internalizing all the things I’ve taken in during this trip, but the first big takeaway is this:
Preventative self-care is just as important, if not more important, than self-care in the moment. I truly had no idea what I was in for emotionally today. I don’t know how I am going to feel tomorrow. But I do know that giving myself the latitude to feel however I do, and making sure I have the space (physical, mental, and otherwise) to accommodate what those feelings are can make all the difference in bouncing back or feeling even more stretched and isolated.
There is no up without down. There is no elation without sadness. And there is no Con without Drop.