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Dear Tempurpedic™,

These past two weeks, I’ve spent more time in an intimate relationship with you than I have in a year. My hip bones have made a permanent crease where typically my shoulders lie.

I look out my window at the world that goes weirdly on, as the world in my head swirls like the season of hurricanes hitting the south. I want to sleep so badly as I’m desperately exhausted, but when my eyes close, they can’t stop moving.

Your support has moved into just a container for my body to be while my mind quickly falls apart.

I get glimmers from the outside world while leaning against the back, my head with imprints of the columns of the headboard.

  • An email from my mother about hanging pictures on her wall (sure, let’s do that next week; defer.)
  • A Facebook message from a friend about Anderson Cooper (Yes, still sexy as hell; this is making me seem totally stable right?)
  •  A text from my husband that my child got the winning goal at his soccer game just now with 5 seconds left in the game.
    • Brain path:
      • –> I’m so proud.
      • —>Wow that’s great.
      • –> I wasn’t there.
      • –> I am in this bed right now instead of at his soccer game.
      • –> Watching fucking House of Cards.
      • –> What the hell am I actually doing?
      • –> I am failing at mothering and adulting and wife-ing.
      • –> I am failing at life.
      • –> (I fall apart at this moment.)

My place of solitude and refuge now becomes the place that has a grip that prevented me from participating in life.

The fingers of PTSD have me trapped in your expensive mattress.

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Dear Yellow,

Yellow, you are a feeling.  I saw you this morning in the sun, and I wasn’t ready to see you.   Minutes later you hit me in the face with a pretty Insta post with the hashtag #goodmorning and #wakeup.  You symbolized the feeling of dread I had today. This feeling of “the world just isn’t ready for the rage I have to unleash on it today.”  I wasn’t ready for this pure lemon cake color.  I was ready for coffee and grunge brown.

Yellow, I didn’t think I could interact with you today.  I didn’t think I could start to see the good in the world.  I didn’t think I could start to think that there are people out there that aren’t trying to be subversive and mean.  I started the day spinning on my current friendships and wondering how they too are going to plot against me and suddenly flip the script and dump me in a dumpster fire like I was a couple days ago.  This is not the color yellow.  This is is pea soup green, and not the pretty kind.  The kind with lots of bacon grease and goo.

Yellow, you started to find me today in reassurances.  In little moments where I was told that I was a good person, despite words to the contrary.  I found you, yellow, in snuggles with my kiddo.  I found you in pre-lunch almond rocas.  I found you in little social media messages with new friends where I got to share little inside jokes, about the color yellow. I found you in the acoustic version of Ella Vos’ “Down in Flames.  I found you in the sun that snuck in through a small crack in the blinds.

Yellow, you were in my therapy room today, where I raged, and cried, and shook for 20 minutes explaining why I was so hurt and angry.  And I looked across the room and saw this hilariously drawn unicorn with zebra stripes.  I smiled and realized that you, yellow, were in the room.  In that moment I realized that it really didn’t matter anymore. The truth will never be heard by the one person who would need to understand it. I was just the person in the way at the moment in their story of hurt.  And that’s really sad.  I can move on, but they are likely lost in a sad story.  I wish I could be there, as I had been before, but I won’t be. That was the choice they made, and maybe one day looking back they will see that.

Yellow, thank you for being so beautiful.  I went back to you today and noticed how pure you are.  Thank you for putting amazing people in my life who talked me through amazing things over the past few days, especially those who knew both of us in this conflict and could really stand with me in understanding.  I feel such a burden of release and relief.  It’s weird to have a color associated with it, but I do.  Thank you.

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Dear Anger,

Anger: a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused

by a wrong; wrath; ire.

Hello, Anger. I’ve been told you are useful.  That somehow anger is productive and can be wielded for good.  I see examples of this in the world, where anger is used to create amazing things.  Righteous anger creates change, stirs up people’s emotions to promote action. But right now, I can’t see it.  I am blinded by this feeling, and I dislike it.  I don’t like you.  I don’t like the way you feel.  I don’t like the reason I feel this way.

Hello, Anger. As women, anger isn’t one of the “acceptable emotions.”  We can express love, sadness or be happy, but anger is an emotion we must hide deep in our souls never to be brought out.  Even alone it took being in the shower to get to the point where I cried in anger.  I started to talk with you while doing my hair.  I ruined my makeup twice today as I rage cried.

Hello, Anger. I’m sitting with you today, sharing my coffee.  I’ve cried your tears today for an hour. I’ve yelled your words into the mirror.  I’ve typed your phrases into messages, screaming for support from a friend who understood.  I’m shaking, burning calories by the minute, like shivering, though it’s summer. I put my coffee in a travel mug, as a ruined a shirt already spilling my caffeinated life blood on it.

Hello, Anger.  You make me feel very vulnerable.  I feel off balance.  I spent last night, yesterday and this morning really thinking about the events that led me to you.  I checked my feelings and experiences to make sure I’m not totally off base and realized that I have a right to be really angry.  So, today, I’m going to be really angry.  I woke up to several more reasons to be angry.  I talked about this more and felt angrier. And maybe that’s just what I need to be.

Hello, Anger.  As women, we DO need to feel you.  When people have done us wrong, we need to feel you.  When we have been an emotional punching bag for someone else, we have a right to be angry.  When we have been there for someone for years, and they choose to throw you under the bus because we ask them to be there for you, we have a right to be angry.  This is okay.  This is setting boundaries.  We can be angry.

Hello, Anger.  I became a punching bag yesterday for someone else to let loose on.  It is taking everything in me not to hole up and just not be around anyone ever again.  But I won’t.  I can do this.  I will have hope, despite their actions.  I will feel your feelings deeply, I will rage.  Then I will somehow move through it.

Hello, Anger.  Welcome for now.  I will sit with you at the table for a while.  We will become friends.  Then you will leave when I’ve learned what I need to from you.

 

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Dear Anxiety,

Anxiety:

an overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs, by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.

Dear Anxiety,

Hey there, old friend.  How HAVE you been?  Well, you should know.  You’ve popped up in my shower again this morning, and over my cup of coffee.  You’ve reminded me so about so many pressing issues this week that demand my immediate attention.

This morning I DID remember to press the grounding button on the hair dryer, as you taught me to do all these years.  The odds continue to be low for my house spontaneously combusting into flames due to this little step.  Thanks for that.

I DID, in fact, remember to pay for my child’s lunches for the next month.  He will not go hungry like I did when I was young.  He has new clothes that I didn’t need to buy from a second-hand store.   Thanks for that.

Midday, I managed to hide that I jumped a mile, no thanks to you, that a guy walked up behind me while I was walking back from lunch down the sidewalk with a friend. Convinced that he was my rapist, looked to the side… it was not.  Continued talking about Brene Brown as if nothing had happened while trying to see if my heart was physically breaking out of my chest.  It was not, but my memories were. Fast-forwarding through my brain were pictures of stairwells and crinkly paper, and polaroids and courtrooms and gavels and I could feel my ventricles pulsing lava so hot I swear I could see it coming out through my skin.  Thanks for that.

Sat in therapy five minutes later trying to explain why I couldn’t sit in therapy today.  Sat there for 40 minutes too long out of obligation because I was anxious I was I wasting her time.  Felt like I was going to throw up because of the rapist I didn’t see on the sidewalk. Thanks for that.   

Left 20 minutes early from therapy today. Drove three blocks, pulled over on the freeway, had a panic attack and threw up.  Feel like a failure for leaving the one place I’m supposed to go to deal with anxiety.  Recognize the irony in this, feel like a failure for feeling like a failure.  Laugh a bit about this.  Cry a lot about this. Thanks for that.

Came home to the one place that feels safe, where my husband accidentally left the closet door open.  He knows not to do this because then someone could be hiding behind the door in my head.  I stop and look at the door, wondering… am I safer inside or outside.  Am stuck in indecision.  Since I can’t move, I decide that the hallway is where I will stay for the next half an hour, having a stare-down with the door.  Decide that the only breathing I hear is my own.  Kick open the door.  The only male clothes I see are my husband’s shirts.  Feel ridiculous.  You make me feel absurd, anxiety.  Thanks for that.

I have a pill that I CAN take to quiet your voice, but rarely do because it just dulls it like cotton balls in my ears.  That is to say, I still hear the fuzzy voice of you as it just gives me a false sense of ease.   Really, you just are on vacation where you have a good time and I just live a bit more like the rest of the people do for a few hours.  Or I fall into a fitful slumber where my dreams are full of running up the unending sidewalk that leads to the perfect house that is safe from everything that has ever chased me. But then I awake from the dream that never existed when you tire of being away, you come back, a little at a time until you hit me across the face with trepidation as you move right back into my soul. Thanks for that.

Hear the keys in the door, wipe my tears and know that I need to pull myself together.  I put on the wife eyeliner the mother hoodie and the human smile and jump into my life jeans.  Because I have to operate at least at a normal level to keep this thing afloat, this facade of commonplace.    I’ve tried so hard to keep it together.  Or at least let it fall apart in my guest room, not in the waiting room. Know your place, get it together.   I’ve made it so long since someone has SEEN me fall off the balance beam of my emotional well-being. I’m supposed to be better than this.  Thanks for that.

Sincerely,

Me.