Today I don’t feel tired and the queasiness is a distant wave.
Today the sun hit my disco light and lit up my room with glowing bits of hope.
Today my alarm, and not my anxiety, woke me up.
Today, hope feels possible and happiness feels almost easy.
But yesterday, yesterday-
The best parts of my day were those when I was asleep.
Yesterday, everything made me sick- my body, the gray sky, election results, the way coffee smelled.
Yesterday was a pile of moments tipping toward despair. I had to remind my cheeks and lips how to smile and didn’t bother reminding my eyes.
But yesterday has become today and will soon be tomorrow.
All the comes will fade to memory. When moments are hard, don’t carve the sorrow into your skin, but let it slip like sand through your fingers. And when the sun hits the disco ball, hold the light like a quivering butterfly, for moments are here and then gone.
What if that summer hadn’t smelled of antiseptic and hospital food? What if that summer hadn’t sounded like held breath and the constant and varied beeping of life-sustaining machines? What if that summer hadn’t taught me to fear phone calls and love and losing? What if that summer had let my body house joy instead of sorrow?
What if I hadn’t been left with emotional fault lines and bone-deep grief?
What if I was still the girl before, untethered to the crushing after?
It’s the leaves they first notice- swiss cheese holes through them all, like poison rain residue. Horticulture experts gather, brows furrowed, and begin testing samples. But soon the grass begins to whither- everywhere, almost overnight- strong blades turning brown and brittle. Next, the flowers lose their petals, lost pieces swirling across cement. The sky begins to dim on a Thursday, is brown by Sunday night.
The news shows image after image and offers no explanation. For once, pundits simply shake their heads. No one, anywhere, seems to know what to do. No one knows what to say.
Is it the air? The soil? Is anywhere safe? How long before the crops all whither with the grass?
Depression is breathing down my neck and after years of sprinting in the opposite direction, I forgot depression’s arms offer not only sorrow, but false comfort. I forgot a tiny part of me would want to relax into depression’s embrace.
I’m just so tired.
All I want is to stop, to rest. To wear sweatpants and curl up under the covers. Just until I’m no longer tired. Just for an hour or week or month.
But depression isn’t rest.
And it doesn’t allow me to get back up when I’ve had enough.
So I remind myself: I’d rather be tired than numb. I’d rather fall into bed at the end of a long day than live there. I’d rather have bloodshot eyes than eyes that have stopped seeing. I’d rather cry than not feel.
I remind myself: I am tired and I am alive.
I am alive.
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
“Dear God,” she prayed, “let me be something every minute of every hour of my life….And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.” -Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
All I see is a different kind of love/ but I want you to love me/ this is normal for me/ handprints left on my heart/ would a change of bodies fix my soul/ what if-what if- the answer is no/ stage freight when I’m walking down the hall/ I don’t know what to say/ the feeling of sitting aloe is more comforting/ the lyrics never change/ but I can look at the constellations/ for all the rivers, plenty of bridges/ but for 364 days. nothing/ beyond any god/ and willful ignorance/ see differently and see connections others don’t/ today started yesterday/ surgery, car wreck, now I’m here/ there goes my savings/ my mom says she loves me, that phrase is numb/ push the feeling down and reply I love you too/ but what if I don’t want to be left alone/ what if I can’t, what if I can’t/ do better than the alternative/ forever can feel like tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow/ you know what you can do with a dream?/ learn how to love/ keep walking, keep slaving, keep dying/ the bad news is a very long story/ the lights and trees flash past/ too fast, too fast/ lost control/ blood and lights and noise/ have you noticed any difference?/ the dopamine forgets what to do/ or am I the one forgetting what to do/ sometimes they make me see things that aren’t really there/ so I won’t knock on the door/ even if god let’s me down/ setting all the coals ablaze/ I shall certainly burn to death/ in a spike of shame/ to get rid of the impurities