I wonder why I am unable to do the things that I need to do. It is astonishing the capacity of the human body, even more jarring the way anxiety can take a person and turn them to quicksand. Everything sinks in me. Nothing floats. I make everything I cradle in my mind for even the smallest of moments far too heavy for buoyancy. I wait too long to do something simple: reply to an email, send a text message, call a friend back, until it grows three times its size and becomes too large to face. In my head I have a house that is the size of a bedroom. I have a bed with thick sheets and and an even thicker comforter and I burry myself there most days. Outside the window in my own memory is a pile of things I have neglected sinfully. They reek. I petrify further. Too much to handle / I make silly prayers like dear God allow them to forget me / dear God allow them to wipe that stupid thing I said ten years ago from their memory forever / dear God fill them with forgiveness for my mistakes. I traffic in barely-holding-on-to-a-repuation. Things that I know are valuable I step on without thought but always followed with shame. Shame is the heaviest thing I have ever known. Sometimes, it can pin you down with just a flashback, the slightest of remembrances, the brush of a memory where you folded things that ought to have never been creased, the time you blurted out something you shouldn’t have, the time you had spinach in your teeth for a whole day and no one told you, the time you cried and it wasn’t the right time. I’ve built lots of homes in my mind, did I mention? All sizes too. I decorate them, paint the walls fresh, layer paintings into galleries and purchase tall and oblong vases of colored glass in the curves of my own imagination for long stalks of dried flowers in colors I have pinned on Pinterest. This is safety, the forming of a world where there are no people, no one to disappoint, no one to ignore for months, no one to hurt, no one demanding I heal myself.
People call these coping mechanisms. Thats an odd name. It is not a mechanism it is a dance. Something physical, an exercise in all the ways a run is and a dead lift and a yoga class can be. Me. Sitting here. Not moving. But my mind runs at 80mph. A thought snowballs into a thought snowballs into a thought and nothing is left un-blizzarded. Sometimes, when exhaustion has me strapped to my own, non soft, non luxury, dorm room bed whose springs I can feel in my back when I lay down, next to the drafty window which lets in ladybugs and the sounds of drunken university students on a Wednesday night, sometimes, then, I tell myself I am just really overwhelmed. But who isn’t? That not an excuse. We all suffer. Somewhere someone’s husband has died and heir daughter has died and somebody has gotten a bullet through a leg or an artery and here I am believing I have an excuse in my hands and not stenched air.
A few weeks ago I had a panic attack in my car outside my friend’s house in the rain at midnight. I didn’t know what to make of it, but I don’t allow myself time to feel sorry anymore. What have I done to earn mourning? I am funny like that. You know, you make choices and are surprised by the result. Somedays I wish I could run away to a world where there are no GPAs / and I don’t have to wear makeup to feel like an adult / and it is perfectly acceptable to spend a day sitting in bed in tears / and that doesn’t mean I’m damaged / it just means I’m tired. But I can’t because papers have to be written and a thesis must be labored and still and still and still someone needs a poem and a sister needs a poem (and by that I mean my attention) and a future sits on my chest and refuses to move until I give it a home. Home. A Home.
So I make home in my own mind. Sometimes I write too. Writing is not healing it is more like blood-letting, you know, the old apothicarian approach to medicine where you drain the sickly fluids from the human body as a cure (and it is not! cures require other kids of work). This is the exhale of things I have in me that I shouldn’t let go of because they are as close to me as flesh (and this is not healing). But I do. I tell myself, let them go and then you can name them. Name things and then they are real. Real things cannot be forgiven. Real things become whole fruit bowls of shame.
(Shame can be a good thing, it can be a compass, it will always be heavy though). People say, be kinder to yourself! But kindness is not a privilege I can afford. God has been too kind to me, so have too many people. I have been given too many chances and still yet, the pile of old things that belong to others that I have not respected (time, effort, care, resources) ascends higher and becomes less and less possible to restore. I have gotten away with mediocrity for too long and for too much and to too many. Someone has got to tell it to me straight. Someone has got to say the things the world is too shy to do herself. Outside the window is a whole earth I have yet to sink my toes into. It is impossible to see the sky when you can only see the things you could have, should have, and probably wouldn’t have, even if you could go back in time (because what is a time machine even good for if the good things you need to have inculcated have not arrived yet to enable the completion of the tasks before you!). The sky is there. The water runs beyond the tree in the front yard of the house I built myself. I could touch it.
(That would require hard things like self-growth and change and being better and I’m just not very good at those things! I will try again though. I have to, this is survival)
Yesterday, I imagined my deceased grandfather sitting on a chair in a large field. I ran to him, crying. hold me! tell me what heaven is like! convince me this is all worth it! but I never make it to his arms. I am too shamed to show my face. This cannot be the introduction. How did I get here, to this blistered state, young and yet so, so, heavy? I could use a good run thought. In a the yard beyond the mound. In a land where I can breathe and kick up dust with the wholes of my feet.