Life is exhausting, but I guess I can sleep when I’m dead.

Whenever I bring up death or Kyle, people always assume this very somber tone that I don’t believe to be disingenuous, but I do believe it is like a hat they think they need to wear. Their faces fall and their voice lowers and they avert their eyes. I can’t blame anyone for this sort of reaction, but I wish it wasn’t so damn obvious that they don’t know how to behave around me. I’d rather continue the conversation.

I think my grief has manifested itself in a different sort of way than most people would expect. Not only did my little brother die a few months ago, but myself and my boyfriend ended our three year relationship because we are going in different directions. I moved apartments and started dancing 3-6 hours a day again. Life has held a lot of drastic changes for me, and I still feel like I’m in some sort of physical shock from it all. I think I am in a perpetual condition not dissimilar to how one feels when they are body slammed or fall to the ground with their head and chest and have the wind knocked out of them and they start to see black and stars. My existence is entirely within that state of shock right now.

At least I’m not, say, laying facedown and in the mud. I’m still going even if I’ve been temporarily dazzled by tragedy. As far as Kyle’s death goes, I try not to think about it too much. When I do think about it, I try to keep moving – physically as well as moving forward with my schemes and plans. As for the end of my relationship, I am actually not as devastated as I assumed I would be; on the contrary, I feel more free to pursue my goals more than ever. I lost one of my biggest supporters, but I gained full control of my life. I don’t say this to mean that my boyfriend controlled me, but that I no longer have to consider anyone else at all with my major decisions – where to live, what sort of apartment to get, which jobs to apply for. I can audition for cruise liners now without worrying in the back of my mind that it would separate me and him. I can send out audition tapes across the country without wondering if he would be happy in the place I got a job. I can also just sit in my underwear and drink beer and eat ice cream and work on my shitty romance novels. Not that I couldn’t do that before, but now I won’t feel any shame about it. I feel so free and lovely being able to be completely and entirely autonomous about every single decision I make. There is nothing to hold me back or hold me down or make me question my initial instincts.

This pulls up questions I hadn’t really thought so long and hard about, though: is this the sort of career that has doomed me to a life of independence? Does my desire to dance and travel mean that I cannot form any long term meaningful connections? This can apply to friendships as well as romantic partners – if I’m not in one place for a long time, and if the future is uncertain, how can I make truly strong bonds? It’s easy enough to make friends in classes and through working, but it’s another thing to find someone you truly want to share your life with.

There is a comfort that comes with having a long term partner. Somebody was always on my side. I’ve traveled a lot in the last four years, and in my first summer in Portland I came to the conclusion that traveling was lonely. Short term friendships just aren’t the same as long bonds. Then when I went to the east coast last summer, I realized that maybe chasing my dream wasn’t what I wanted if it meant being so isolated and lonely from my family and the people I loved. Maybe it’s not worth it. They say it’s lonely at the top, and while I’m not really aiming for the “top” (I just want to escape my own definition of mediocrity), it’s lonely chasing the top.

I am entirely sure this will all change when I settle down in the next place and find a community, but as far as romantic partners go, I very much doubt I can find someone who wants to follow me on this journey. I don’t think I would even want someone who would want to follow me – I like people with ambition and their own dreams they want to chase. I have no desire for a marriage or kids so I don’t feel like there’s a clock ticking down on my life, but I know that I don’t want to be entirely alone forever. I value my independence and love being on my own. It’s empowering and comforting in its own way. But I do know that before I’m ninety I would like to find someone to hang out with and complain about the traffic to.

There is so much to see in the world. There is so much to explore and so much to learn. A lot of places and people are very ugly, yes, but I can’t stay here forever. I am going to keep moving forward, one way or another.