It’s December 21st. The shortest night of the year, as if this whole thing wasn’t going to be over soon enough.
I’ve just finished playing the last show of this Life Dream / Year On Tour / Year In An RV With My Family, and I’m backstage, staring into a mirror in the dressing room. I haven’t broken eye contact with myself in almost fifteen seconds, and it’s getting awkward.
My family and friends are out in the main room. Some of them I haven’t seen in years, but I have an abyss to stare down first.
People are probably giving up on the merch table, which is costing me money, but I can’t bring myself to go pretend this is just the end of a show. It’s the end of something much bigger than that. So I’m using my best glare to try to intimidate the aging man inside the mirror into giving me some words of encouragement.
But he’s as stoic (or hollow?) as I, and he’s old enough to know that I can’t outlast him. He’s seen this game before. He knows he can wait me out.
Family and friends.
“I’ll be back for you” I whisper, and I make my way out.
It’s technically December 22nd, and I want to write about this year while I’m still raw; while it’s still fresh. I want to sum it all up in poetic phrases and emotional outpourings of gratitude and We-Did-Its, but I’ve been fighting a cold for a week now, and the kids are asleep.
I am also almost asleep. I will stare me down for more answers later.
It’s December 25th and this week, I have taken to seeing how long I can stay in the bathroom without my family noticing. For 297 days this year, I stood on stage almost as many nights as not, and told people how I battle depression, and that I was introducing my song “Dark Clay” by telling them this because I was staying visible, because I was making sure the light bouncing off was stronger than the darkness trying to swirl me into a Black Hole vortex, but now I’m hiding in bathrooms, disappearing in 5, 6, 7-minute increments.
But despite my choice in hideouts, there are no mirror rematches this week. No one accuses me of failure quite so effectively as he does, and I am weak enough today to believe it.
It seems like I should have cried by now. It feels like an occasion to cry. Maybe when I look in the mirror again, maybe I will cry, which will make him cry. Maybe he will be weak enough then to answer my questions. But I am too tired for that. And it’s still Christmas.
It is December 31st. We are at a party full of family and friends. The party is made up 100% of parents and small children, so we count down at 8pm instead of midnight, as if this whole thing wasn’t going to be over soon enough.
In the bathroom again, I scroll through my Instagram feed. I will always be grateful for this year. This hard, trying, exhausting, beautiful, fulfilling, frustrating, heartbreaking, amazing adventure of a year. 2014 was really good to me; to us. I lived in an RV, and we went to 45 states, probably 35 of them more than once. It was a good year, wasn’t it?
I start to look into the mirror, but we both divert our eyes at the same time. Not yet.
Family and friends.
I stop, and I sigh.
I leave without a word.
It is January 3rd. I still have not cried. It still seems like the appropriate response, but…
I should cry, you know? I should really let this year out.
I open the computer and keep working on plans and details for my time in Europe. There is a lot of planning that goes into international travel, so I don’t have time for any more staring contests this week either. I am a man, and I am busy. I have business to attend to.
This doesn’t mean I am not allowed to cry, but it does mean that I have the capacity to pretend that putting it off is okay.
2014 was good.
I’ll tell you about it soon.