That was a big question, one I couldn’t answer in its grandest sense. But there was a smaller version of that question: how can I make my life worth living today? I could answer that. That was entirely in my power. So I did that. Doing sit-ups, walking laps, writing a letter, reading a book—these things were enough to make a day worth living. I didn’t know if they were enough to make a life worth living, but I remained open to the possibility.
And while my new emotional default setting remained firmly stuck on sad—I woke up sad, spent the entire day sad, and went to sleep sad—it wasn’t a desperate, grasping sadness. It was a sadness brimming with energy beneath the surface, because I was alive with myself and my sanity, and the freeing feeling of seeing reality clearly, however sad that reality was. I was slowly and deliberately walking a tightrope across a bottomless foggy abyss, with no clue where I was going and nothing to hold onto but my strong, instinctual, inner sense of balance.
In many ways, though I’m now free, legally vindicated, a woman with a career in the arts (as I’d always dreamed), an advocate for justice (which I never dreamed), a wife with a loving husband, a mother with a joyous child, I’m still walking that tightrope. The abyss never leaves. It’s always there. And anyone who’s stared into it, as I have, knows the strange comfort of carrying it with you.