a vibrant sunset from my porch

A vibrant sunset from my porch, thankful for beautiful light, wildflowers, an expansive view

Happy Thursday

Or Friday, depending on where you are. This post got stuck because I was alternately on bed rest or experiencing rage meltdowns that felt like heart episodes, but eventually I decided to write my way through it instead of waiting for it to pass so that I could write again…

FYI I am still somehow on twitter which is now X, and sucks, but I’m there (@havi), and you can find me on bluesky, same handle: havi.bsky.social

Last week we talked about Fall Gleaming, and before that we covered Latibulation, slow process, fun words, recovery and solitude. Good stuff. Onwards to loneliness and its opposite, whatever that might be.

The opposite of loneliness, and other conundra

Okay, this one needs some content warnings

Good lord, this one probably a needs content warning for possibly everything under the sun, definitely anger (so much anger), hopelessness, depression, suicide ideation, past and present trauma, maybe tangentially eating disorder stuff?

We talk about some hard things, mostly very indirectly. You know me, I like to play at the edges of the edges, not a fan of jumping in to the deep, especially when it’s not required, and it really never is.

Anyway, I wrote a lot of words (five thousand) about where I’m at, and where I’ve been, aka the two themes I know best, staying in my lane…

The song that plays when I need it to…

I can see clearly now the rain is gone /
I can see all obstacles in my way…


I hate it here. I hate it here.

This is a phrase I have been saying a lot lately but what does it mean. What do I hate. And what is here?

Here in my heart that feels like it might explode? Here in the ongoing heat? Here in the Pandemicene?

Do I know what I mean by I hate it here? I convinced myself that I didn’t but actually I do, of course I do.

You are here

I hate it here, sometimes, or at least right now.

And by “here” I specifically mean what Sarah Marshall referred to the other day as this mid-apocalyptic world that we are trying to navigate, and trying is a big word.

Trying is a big word. We are here, in this mid-apocalyptic world, trying.

My kingdom for a shower

When I say I hate it here I do not mean here.

I do not mean the here of my sweet tiny house trailer at the edge of the forest, though maybe I do, sometimes, also mean that.

Pretty sure everyone I know is tired of me talking about how I would do at least one murder to be able to take a shower, if that’s what it took, which it might, who knows.

Call me, your friendly neighborhood assassin for hire! Talk showers to me, baby. Talk clean to me.

So close, so far

But just in case you don’t know, I have not had working hot water here (here) since early February 2022, and I really, truly believed that this was the week it was finally getting solved, and all my hopes have been pinned on this week, and of course, you guessed right, it did not get solved.

It did not get solved, and I have been handling it really well (screaming and throwing things at the wall).

I crossed out finally getting a shower off my Reasons To Stay Alive list, since it’s not going to happen, or at least not for a while, and then stared at the list for a while trying to think of something to take its place.

Yes, I make a new list every day.

It’s something

Then the skies opened and I went out into the rain because the new hot water heater is on the porch, and I didn’t want it to get went, and then I stood in the rain and cried, which is basically a shower, or shower-adjacent, so that was something.

And the air smelled so sweet and good, something about the rain and the wildflowers, the sky emptying itself out, and the way the high desert loves the rain.

I went back inside and picked up my Reasons To Stay Alive notebook, and wrote:

  1. The smell of the air when it rains
  2. The way the yellow and red-orange wildflowers are extra bright in the rain
  3. The baby bunnies hiding under my car, I love them
  4. Surprise miracles, come in, come in!

Here, here

Please know this:

You do not need to worry about me, even when I don’t know what goes on the list, there is still no situation in the mix where I would willingly take my own life.

For one thing, I have zero pain tolerance, negative pain tolerance, I am absolutely the biggest baby you have ever met, the most highly sensitive flower. I didn’t even get my ears pierced until I was forty, and that was only thanks to Kathryn dragging me there and holding my hand the entire time. So no, I am not going to harm myself.

And, also, I have been alive long enough to know that things shift and change, surprise miracles happen, they do, you never know what beautiful things might happen, and it’s worth it to stick around and find out.

To be here now, and to find out what happens. Let’s do that, babe.

(All that to say)

(All that to say that if I ever die mysteriously, I definitely got murdered by some local gun-fanatic, and you should avenge me.)

(I’m counting on you.)

(Put that in your notebook of reasons to stay alive if you want and if you need a reason: Avenge Havi. Thank you!)

(We need you, stay with us. I’m staying too. I love you, let’s keep going.)

Another form of here

So maybe the “here” in I hate it here is this murderous mood where I passionately hate everything and yell at the wind and there is a storm inside of me.

Maybe here is just being in a world where no one will take precautions to keep me from getting more sick, and so I am alone forever, here, with my thoughts about how my entire life would change if I could just a) shower and b) I don’t know, have an in-person conversation with a person I like? Have a reprieve from constantly needing bed rest? Something.

Something here. Heart-here. Hear it here. You heard it here first.

And another form of here

Hineni: I am here. A response of “sacred undiluted presence”, isn’t that a beautiful phrase.

Right here, right now, baby. That’s all there is.

With my thoughts, with the storm, with my longings and desires, my frustrations and furious fury, with all of it.

Rumi in the guesthouse levels of here. I’m here.

Here as in present, presence, right here, close

The last time I hung out with a friend indoors was mid-April. A rally friend came through southern New Mexico, and they tested for covid before visiting, which I appreciated. What treasure, friends who care.

I had not spent time with a person in months.

We kept windows open and air filters on, and then went for a lovely short hike and hugged some tree friends.

My last conversation with a friend and last outdoor hike was on May 29, a delight.

And the last time I talked to someone I know was July 21, which is seven weeks ago, not that I’m counting, but I am absolutely counting.


Mid-apocalyptic of course feels related to the ongoing and worsening climate disasters and environmental collapse, but also to the political spectre of what is to come, at least here in the United States, are you filled with dread about the 2024 presidential election? I am!

Mid-apocalyptic, this state of in the middle of it all, also feels related to the ongoing pandemic and the collective attempt to ignore, cover-up, gaslight and pretend.

The way people pretend everything is fine when nothing is fine, they way they pretend it isn’t disabling people every day, that it isn’t unfolding exactly the way we said it could…

And of course mid + apocalyptic feels related to the economic challenges of staying alive in the end-times with limited resources, and the world being unsafe for so many of us, for so many reasons. Cooking mid-apocalyptic rice and beans, pausing between stirring because I have to sit down again.

Doing my best, right?

I’m doing my best. And some days I scream and throw things at the wall, in my own personal apocalypse.

Then I laugh, because if I’m screaming and throwing things then I’m up and about, which means it’s not a bed rest day, big win for me, someone who needs a lot of bed rest days.

I can describe this to you

I can describe to you every hug I have had since February 2020.

How’s that for mid-apocalyptic?

A conversation about loneliness

Remember the summer of 2021 when we all got vaccinated and everything felt briefly hopeful and exciting? Hugs and conversations and excited reconnecting. There was hope and beauty in the air for a bit there, that was fun, I guess.

Anyway, I was catching up with a friend that summer by text and told her that I am going to need therapy for the year-plus of deep loneliness, but that the therapist I’d had in mind was off the list, because she just got married to her girlfriend, and I am fundamentally uninterested in discussing my experience of grueling pandemic isolation with someone who didn’t also go through it.

My friend, who is married and has a kid and a dog, and zero ability to comprehend what I had just been through, said, “But Havi, everyone has had an experience of deep loneliness at some point or another, that’s part of the human experience.”

Yeah, sure, and also no, not at all

It took a while, because I had to sit with that, but ultimately I couldn’t get past the part about: yeah, sure, I too would have said that, pre-pandemic.

For sure, absolutely. I too would have been convinced that I have had these shared life experiences of deep loneliness.

But guess what, I would have been wrong, and my friend is wrong. This is different.

(Clarifying, for clarity, to not be misunderstood)

Obviously I don’t want to imply that people who are partnered or have families and/or pets had it easy or have it easy, because god knows there are all kinds of challenges in those situations too, and I’m genuinely so sorry for all the hardships that everyone has been though. Hand on my heart.

All I am saying is that having someone to talk to or hug every day is a very different experience than not knowing when you will next get to exchange one sentence with someone while looking at their eyes.

When will you next hand a stranger a jug of papaya juice and have it be the most meaningful human connection of your year? What if it doesn’t happen again? What if that was the last time?

Papaya juice

Trying to remember exactly when this was, maybe July of 2020, let’s say five months into a state of completely and utterly alone and undone by aloneness.

Alone in the desert, my place sat on a long dirt road off of a long dirt road, so I didn’t even get to see people walking by or driving by.

Once a Fedex truck drove down my road as I was standing on the porch. The driver and I waved at each other, and I sobbed for hours and then days because it was my first human connection in weeks.

Then one day I drove into town for groceries at a place that didn’t have outdoor pickup, and a man in a wheelchair asked if I could reach papaya juice for him from a high shelf in the refrigerator case. I handed him the juice, and we shared a couple sentences of light banter, our eyes smiling above our masks.

I remember sitting in the car, crying my eyes out, knowing that one tiny interaction was going to have to last me for another month at least. I still get emotional every time I see papaya juice. I am not okay.

I am not okay

There is a new poem in this week’s issue of The New Yorker called The Endlessness. It is by the U.S. poet laureate.

The first line is:

At first I was lonely, but then I was curious.

I was not able to read past that first line, because I am cursed by the gods with an audiographic memory, which means that if someone tells me something, no matter how mundane, then I tragically must remember it forever, and as it happens, once in passing someone told me that this poet is married.

Question mark? Question mark! Question mark?!?!

Obviously I had to google it.

Just imagine me being like, “…Divorced????? Husband dead????” Question mark question mark???

Question mark question mark question mark…

Like surely no one who is MARRIED could have the audacity, IN A PANDEMIC where some of us are IMMUNOCOMPROMISED AND ISOLATED AND HAVE NOT HAD A CONVERSATION IN LITERALLY MONTHS, to be writing a poem in the fucking New Yorker about loneliness???? Question mark question mark?!

Not okay

I haven’t sat down with a friend in five months but please, go ahead and impart your great wisdom about loneliness, poet who lives in a house with another person, someone who loves you, presumably, someone you can talk to.

Is this really what I’m upset about right now? No, not really, but also, maybe, yes. Sure, yes-and.

I mean, fortunately I can be enraged about so many things at once, and some can be proxies for others, and for whatever reason this is sitting at the top of my rage list, maybe because I do not wish to look at the other things on that list.

Maybe I’d rather be mad at a poet being shitty than friends being shitty or companies stealing from me, or trying to get someone to drive out into the country and install a very tiny hot water heater so that I can shower again.

We can about whatever we like, for ourselves

It’s not that I think this poet can’t write about loneliness. All pain is valid, all experience is valid.

If I stub my toe and it’s painful, I am allowed to wallow in the pain of that, I can even write a poem about it.

But if we find ourselves in a social crisis that has resulted in many, many people having limbs amputated, then it’s kind of an asshole move if I publish my [profound lessons learned from toe-stubbing] poem in the fucking New Yorker, am I not right about this? Am I losing my mind?

Like how did this get past everyone? Did no one stop to say, hey babe maybe this isn’t your topic, actually.

Is there not a specialized version of Clippy for poets? Can someone invent this please.

Clippy, for poets

I want her to have a version of Microsoft Clippy that says things like, “I see you’re writing about loneliness! Is this your lane? Have you considered staying in your lane?”

And I don’t know, I don’t know her, I imagine she has had life experiences that are unknowable to me in the same way that my friend with the husband and pets cannot imagine what it is like to hand a plastic jug of papaya juice to a stranger and make eye contact with a human for the first time in months and have an entire breakdown over this.

But when I see her use that word, I feel the same way as when I see Christians blowing a shofar:

That is not yours, that does not belong to you, put it down.

Of course, we can feel lonely in companionship too

Can someone be lonely in a marriage, in a crowd, in a room with one or more people? No doubt. It happens, it’s common.

Of course, absolutely, we’ve all experienced some form of that. It’s been a very long time since I was married, but can confirm that marriage too can be agonizingly lonely.

And, also: in this immunocompromised, chronically ill, no-hot-water, devastating aloneness, here, alone at the edge of the forest, at the edge of everything, I do not wish to share that word with her right now, I’m sorry, I cannot do it.

I don’t want to be curious. I don’t want outside perspective on my isolation or how I am relating to this isolation, and I especially don’t want it from people who aren’t going through this isolation.

Here for this

Talk to me about missing people, missing experiences, I am here for that.

Talk to me about forgetting who you are, and the path to remembering, I am here for that.

It has been so long

I know I have been talking about loneliness, but also a lot of the time I do not feel lonely, because I have forgotten how to feel, and forgotten what it is like to be around people at all.

It has been so long since I remembered what the opposite of loneliness is that I don’t even experience loneliness as loneliness. I’m not sad about it, I’m not anything about it.

(Though I do know who can’t speak to it, and that’s the poet laureate who is welcome to find any other topic.)

The thing and the opposite of the thing

A switch flipped for me, in me, in August, and I mysteriously went from being the loneliest person alive to being at peace with the quiet, and then to finding appreciation and joy in The Life Solitudinal.

A switch flipped and suddenly I was like, wow thank all possible gods for this solitude this is exactly what I want, nothing is missing, no one needs to visit, I don’t need anything actually, I have my incoming selves and my wildlife friends. I have podcasts to listen to and texts from beloved friends, and I’m good.

This was so confusing to me that I had to go take a look at my summer solstice wishes and spring equinox wishes, and maybe even winter solstice wishes, because it feels like I have been wishing for an end to my loneliness forever and that’s not what I meant?

The superpower of getting what you want in a way you could never have imagined

So yes, I have been experiencing agonizing loneliness for three and a half years, wishing again and again, for this loneliness to end, and, this is the fun part, I did not ever specify how!

In my mind I guess I was imagining some combination of….

  • more friends to go on hikes with more often?
  • a possible love interest? or at least a good flirtation?
  • meeting people locally and making new friends
  • the covid situation easing up? (hahahahaha)
  • or at least meeting people who take good precautions
  • what about a friend moving out here or moving out here part time…
  • having resources and energy to visit friends in Tucson or Albuquerque, or to renovate the barn so people can visit…

And so on.

That’s not what happened at all

What actually happened is that suddenly, somewhere between the second and third week of August, I noticed that I do not feel lonely, the loneliness is gone.

I can’t even really remember why it bothered me to not have people to talk to IRL when I am such wonderful company for myself, and when most people are clowns, and the people I love I do not actually need to see in person.

And normally this would be when my mental health would be massively falling apart because I would be needing conversations and hugs and connection for my actual sanity, and this time, for the first time since I do not even know, I don’t need any of those things.

Obviously I would not turn them down, obviously, obviously.

A hug would be as life-changing as a conversation or a shower or any of the many other situations solving themselves, resolving themselves, probably.

But I am for the most part not missing people anymore, and more importantly, I don’t feel the need anymore, and the need was the painful part.

Absence of absence

Their absence not only does not define me, their absence doesn’t seem to affect me.

I am enjoying my own company. I am making a herbal tea rinse for my hair. I am talking to the bunnies and the deer.

And these things used to feel like putting up or making do, and now they do not. They feel perfectly fine.

Okay, there is something else

There is another element to this too which is that I have lost so much respect for people who don’t take covid precautions and don’t prioritize keeping me alive or keeping me from crashing, that I would rather spend time with myself than with them.

So maybe what was keeping me lonely was hope.

And now I do not have hope, but also I do not have loneliness like I did, and sometimes I do not have it at all.

To understand the heart of it

To quote Michael Hobbes and probably many other people: To solve a problem you have to understand the problem.

And the poet laureate may understand many problems but cannot be the poet laureate of loneliness, because it is out of her purview, okay apparently I’m still mad about that fucking poem, that’s alright, let’s breathe babe.

Do I agree that we have to understand problems to solve them? Not necessarily.

My problem of loneliness solved itself by simply turning itself off. Nothing was understood.

I stayed in my lane, and it solved itself.


In my twenties there were long periods of time, months on months, when I did not live anywhere.

At the beginning of each month, I’d make a chart for the month. A bit like my list of reasons to stay alive, but a chart of places I could stay.

I’d call around and see who had a free couch or a spare room, trying to fill as many blocks of days as I could, with the goal of never having more than two open days.

Open days, spots that could not be filled, were for not sleeping at all, and then napping in the park in the afternoon.

I was hungry all the time.

And then I wasn’t

The switch flipped.

I don’t know how to explain it but it was as if my body came to an understanding, and then shared that understanding with me.

The understanding was this: I, your body, understand that you love me and want me to live, you want to nourish me, and you cannot, because of circumstances. I will stop giving you hunger signals until these circumstances change.

It’s an unsolvable problem, to experience hunger sensations when you can’t feed that hunger, and so the switch flipped.

Do I also have a loneliness switch?

I am wondering if something similar is happening with loneliness.

Am I no longer feeling the sensations of loneliness because I am no longer lonely, or has my body received a decision to no longer send me signals about things I can do nothing about.

Is this my body saying: You don’t need these loneliness signals right now, you cannot tend to them so they are not helpful…

Or maybe it’s about the magic of It Solved Itself

Maybe it has nothing to do with a flipped switch and maybe it has everything to do with my biggest wish of the summer.

I wished to not be lonely anymore but mainly I wished for everything to make its way into a state of It Solves Itself, and it did solve itself, jut not the way I expected or anticipated, or even any of the many possible options I was able to imagine…

The beauty in the new question and in the new answer

What would my other wishes look like if they solved themselves other than in the ways I am imagining they could potentially solve themselves?

What if they solve themselves in this way, an internal shift, a flip of a switch, what would that be like??

The beauty of a dilemma or a situation solving itself with an unconscious internal shift is that none of the external factors matter…

Let’s consult Nihilism Daddy & the Tough Survivalist of the Bunkhouse

Nihilism Daddy, the true poet laureate of isolation…

Nihilism Daddy says: Truly the next level practice is giving everything to the fires of It Solves Itself, taking steps towards yes and trusting that the how will reveal itself in time.

Havi: Okay but I have been clawing my way tooth and nail towards solving this shower solution and it would not have happened had I not done so much research, found the new handyperson etc, I have had to take so many steps and fight so hard, and it’s exhausting and frustrating, and sometimes I just feel so hopeless…

The Tough Survivalist of the Bunkhouse: So much of It Solves Itself is not avoidance from, but praying towards and resting into. It’s not set it and forget it, it’s active wishing and also resting a lot

Your wishes and solutions are in the pot, brewing and bubbling

Keep resting, keep walking, keep wondering, keep trusting, keep getting rid of things, making space, making your space magical, feeling that where you are is good. You are here, that counts. See clearly.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone…

Yes, I love all versions and covers of this song.

I love the moody versions as much as the cheerful ones.

Mainly I love the line, “I can see all obstacles in my way.”

The superpower of seeing the obstacles

It’s not that the obstacles are gone or even fewer. They’re still there, still in my way.

It’s just that I can perceive them now.

Knowing where they are means I can strategize around them. Or kick them when I need to kick something, which is often.

Bright, bright, bright

Wishes and solutions are brewing and bubbling.

I can see clearly now, which means perceiving the obstacles, but also finding some potential for hope and joy in that bright, bright, bright sunshiney day…

We are here, that counts

We are here. That counts.

There are reasons to be here, even when I can’t remember them. Things shift and change.

There are baby bunnies hiding under my car who will come out and play, there are good smells after the rains.

And there are next steps: praying towards, resting into, keeping on keeping on. Let’s keep going.


I’m currently working on bonus material about how I relate to time and map out my quarters, and am pretty sure I have all the parts that I think are important, is there anything you want to know more about specifically?

Drop any questions or thoughts here…

And! Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary (see below) this summer will get these by email as soon as I finish editing them…

Come play in the comments, I love company!

Share anything sparked for you while reading, or add anything you’d like to into the pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Working on some stuff to offer this coming year, but between traumatic brain injury recovery & Long Covid, slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share this with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

The Fluent Self