The Art and Sadness of “Getting Through”

By De Elizabeth

In high school, I referred to them as “Dread Days.” They were, quite simply, days that provoked the feeling of dread, for reasons entirely appropriate in a 14-year-old’s world: science lab with the girl who bullied me in elementary school, a history class presentation where I was underprepared and my crush sat in the first row, having to complete my volunteer shift at the library instead of spending an afternoon with my friends.

Initially, I only used the phrase in my head silently, but eventually started labeling them in my planner with two D’s, written as tiny as possible and in purple ink. In the days leading up to a Dread Day, I’d have a pit in my stomach, knowing that whatever fun I was having in the moment would soon be overshadowed by the knowledge that something unpleasant would take its place. On the morning of a Dread Day, I’d repeat to myself: Just get through it; just get through. When the day was over, I’d cross off the “DD” in my planner, feeling a sense of overwhelming relief.

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You’re Allowed to Be Sad

By De Elizabeth

I went for a drive the other day without an actual destination. It was a 25-minute car ride, taking loops through familiar streets, passing deserted parking lots, dark windows, empty playgrounds. My toddler sat in her car seat behind me, every once in a while asking: Where are we going? Every time I’d answer, Just for a drive.

Towards the end of the trip, we passed an ice cream shop we’ve been to a couple of times. Like many other establishments right now, it was closed, windows shuttered, without its usual inviting neon signs. I found myself thinking back to last summer, sitting on those wooden steps, choosing not to care that my 2-year-old was getting ice cream all over her face and clothes. I took a picture of her chocolate-stained cheeks and hands; a printed copy is taped into her baby memory book, a snapshot of Before All Of This.

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