The further dismantling of my son’s bedroom presently takes place; I put a Bear in there to play so his mom could have some time to write… Whether this proves worth it in the knowledge of my future self’s desire to clean, well, I suppose I’ll know when this is over.
When I need to write, I need to write. So be it.
As I sit here just now, I noticed a hesitation… In my fingers, in how my mind is trying to get me to do this. You see because I am honest here, my Ego reminds me that I should care and thus perhaps dial back to protect its image. Well, no, fuck that. Heart all the way – Lord knows mine is on display (why do I always sneak in rhymes? I don’t mean it I swear). This morning I felt my heart – in so many ways rip apart in the very best way. That is exactly what this is about today (okay I did that one on purpose).
Off. Just fucking off. Sometimes I wake up and I know I’ll have to face a demon that day. I’ve had so much experience with my shadow self in this life that I knew, felt it from the moment my eyes found morning, the burden of battle looms. There is no external foe but rather something much more menacing, for it waits in hiding inside my chest and it knows every alleyway, every shadowed corner, every perfect opportunity to wrap its hands around my neck and completely take me out. My posture poor, exhausted before I ever lifted my sword, speaking as few words as necessary to not be a dick but still uninterested entirely in any human interactions… Conserve energy, and do not get caught in the loop trying to cognitively “figure this out” (I.e., think through anxiety), It will come, be ready but not preoccupied with its arrival, be mindful but don’t overthink, feel your feelings but don’t wallow… This is how it feels to prepare on a day like today. Sometimes just the anticipation is enough to wreck me.
Though, this time, I had strategy of my own – a new mission entirely in fact: Run into the fucking storm.
With my son eating breakfast I made my way upstairs. Quiet house save for the television playing his best show, I plugged my airpods into my ears to have music for chores and stopped just short of hitting shuffle on whatever playlist was at the top of my – – –
‘Fuck that hurts’, I thought, hand immediately to the center of my chest.
Fire. Radiating energy that chokes you – the best way to describe it, and it pulses with intensity as it moves.
‘ok…’ thoughts scrambling to make sense of it (nope), squinting to find myself in the mirror, I met my eyes dead-on and just said, “okay, you can do this” but I admit I was not quite sure. I sat down on the floor and let it come. (I digress, I have a hard time calling this anxiety anymore, honestly. I cannot come up with anything else though other than maybe spiritual energy, or emotional tension maybe).
As waves began to tower over me, I tamed the instinct to protect myself from this pain and just let it wash over me completely. It isn’t like I am reliving an old trauma or replaying old tapes and thus making myself fall apart (as one might do in talk therapy to “solve” the issues), but feeling only what is happening inside my body – the physical sensations themselves. I’ve described it before but what I find fascinating is that with each opportunity to surrender to it, I learn something new about these feelings and their origins within me. Sure, I do think about certain things and thus images come to mind in the midst of the waves, certain moments of my life honestly from birth until now – but a few key ones particularly have made themselves known more recently, and it is a good indicator for me that I am getting to the heart of some very big healing. When so heavily focused on just feeling the intensity of the physical, it almost bypasses the mental component, making the visual aspects of “anxiety” and “PTSD” seem a lot less relevant; I am learning to see my thoughts are not the cause, the sensations are the cause and trigger the thoughts – etc., valuable insight that is AMAZING to experience (Ego, fuck off). Therefore, when focused as best and as presently in the pain as one can be, you’re getting to the heart of the problem, not a symptom of it.
I wept today, feeling my heart fully opened to the hardest parts to heal, heavy tears full of a lot of pain, grief, sadness – and even at the end, anger made its way to the surface. While these tears fell, I didn’t wipe them away. I wasn’t ashamed, I wasn’t self-critical or condemning for still feeling pain from old wounds. I wasn’t concerned with how I looked or what it meant to fall apart. I let it hurt, and my God it hurt – slightly smiling now, I just shrugged and had to chuckle because it still hurts, but I think I knocked the edge off quite a bit. For years I identified with only that I felt this pain, because I did not realize the only way through it was to let myself feel all the things I’ve repressed or denied, or lied to myself about. Facing that is hard work, so why would anyone run towards it? Well, you get sick of the pain long enough you’ll just about cut off your arm to stop it – so I’m letting it hurt.
Eventually I found myself standing up again, and I met my eyes once more, tears still leaving tracks down my cheeks. Shoulders pulled back, this time stoic but not of my own accord; something shifted substantially, though I cannot name it and I don’t know what else to say. I saw myself in the mirror, bare and swollen from unabashed weeping, but something is different. I look stronger, somehow, though now I just sound like an asshole for saying that. No, nevermind – my heart is strong as shit so I should say that.
I can’t say that it won’t come back, another tsunami – I cannot say I still won’t have a hard time today after this, but just that – for those minutes of total surrender, I think some good work was done. To remove the layers, peel them back as much as I can, so that I nevermore have “anxiety” but a relationship with the darkness and the pain inside me, and a willingness to feel it to let it go.
This morning I prepared for the challenge, feeling its presence, knowing it would come, and with courage I faced it; strong enough to feel it move through me without fear, to embrace it instead of flee, to run headlong into the clashing swords and choking blackness of my death so that I can breathe again.
… Wiped the tears away, shoulders back. “You did it, Christina”, I said to my reflection. Another battle won but the war is never over.
My son is crying. I would write more but again, so it goes…