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Reflections on 2019: Eros & Thanatos


This was the most difficult and also the most beautiful year of my life. I have never come face to face with as much grief or joy as I did in 2019...and I will forever be grateful and disenchanted by it.;) It began light-hearted and even falling a bit in love and ended in a painful move, breakup, and spending half the year in bed.

One of my favorite concepts of Freud is the Eros and Thanatos, a reminder that where we have life is also death. I have been moved to tears in joy and contentment more times than I can count and cried on the floor out of devastation. In 2019 my heart has become an endless well of worship to the surrender of the life-death-life cycle.

2019 started so great, I was officially full-time self-employed for more than a year and was suddenly dating and talking to several people. I started seeing someone I really cared for and felt myself expand into a part of me that I often keep sequestered. I’m not a romantic of romantic love, but eros doesn’t discern between in relationships. It oozes into most of my day when I greet my kitty in the morning or stare at the trees out my window, though it rarely gets centered on one person.

I saw myself as a partner for the first time in a long time, resting into hopefulness when my usual relationship to romantic love is suspicion and boredom. I enjoyed a shortstop in loverland staying in bed for hours and eating meals while kissing between bites.

Something about what they were saying kept feeling untrue, I couldn’t shake the sense of dishonesty and that there was a lot of energy being put elsewhere with someone else. I felt unstable as there was anxiety and insecurity and yet this person was telling me it was nothing. When he broke up with me it became obvious he was never in the relationship…he craved comfort I offered but didn’t seem capable of actually stepping into something fully and risking.

Early in the year my health continued to decline at a terrifying rate, strange rashes, fevers, and test results with conflicting information and doctors who all seemed to think I was just stressed or needed major treatment. I spent months with non-stop appointments and testing. I had moments of so much illness that I felt ready to leave my body, the depression, weight loss, and malaise was confusing. I wanted to be done with this body, exhausted of the discomfort. Even being near people I loved felt like a chore as I didn’t have energy to expend and could barely get up to feed my cat some days.

The spring became joyful with two of my dear friends getting married and I still couldn't shake my mysterious illness. I had become a nun in many ways, channeling all of my life force energy into the surrender of what was happening in my body. I meditated, slowed down to eat meals even though I didn't have an appetite, and did my best to connect with a few closest friends.

Summer sped by and I spent most of it in bed exhausted and angry, though succumbing more and more to how much healing needed to happen. I felt grief in a way I have never known. It overtook my soul like a possession state, as if all the things I didn't have or had just lost would be gone forever...a part of me was dying physically and emotionally and I had no idea what needed to go.

When fall came it seemed obvious I needed to release my apartment of the past decade, my safe and cozy haven in my dearest San Francisco. It began to be more obvious that city living was not conducive to my healing and that my own home could be the reason I was so ill…so I pushed myself out of my nest in the most painful of ways. It had rotted over time and I was so stuck I couldn’t see or smell it, until it was perhaps too late.

So far winter has been spent obsessively reorganizing my new apartment, grounding, and doing my best to slow down and not miss the city too much. Though it has been my home for so long that the patterns of going certain places on certain days feels ingrained my nervous system doesn't seem to fathom how to do something different.

What did become more solid this year was my commitment to my own life force--eros--and my own misunderstanding that it expresses through romantic love when it is in fact in all of my relations. I also learned how to speak more of what I'm thinking as that has been my greatest gap in intimacy...hiding what I'm really feeling. I noticed that I poke people into more depth when they don't necessarily have the capacity or desire to go important lesson in understanding where my depth is honored and where it can't be seen.

I became a better caretaker of my body and can hear more clearly what it wants and needs. I honed in on my most important friendships like never before. And even though I will most likely always feel lonely, I know there are a handful of friends to call my own.

In the middle of the life and death that surrounded me this year, I am more clear than ever about my capacity to love myself and others...the most erotic act I can imagine.

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