What I left uneaten at my table

(A collection of starts gathering dust. I often think I will come back to pieces when I leave them partly written. Here are three examples to the contrary.)

1.

It’s loud in here today, I text K. She knows that I am not speaking of the white noise of an office background going about a Monday afternoon. It’s the space in my brain that is filled with unwelcome sentiments and they will not leave me in peace. Not today.

Days like today make me irritable. It’s just a little bit harder to smile at a co-worker, a little bit more effort to suppress a sigh when someone calls my name. What do you want from me? I have nothing to give anyone today. My one mission is to just make it through. Through this day, this hour, this one small moment. I know I can, because I’ve done it before. But still, there is a great effort in it. I am tired.

~~~

It has been over a month since I have written a word. I’ve thought about it a few times, actually got far enough as composing some openings in my head. But openings are beginnings, and I didn’t have the energy to sit down and follow through to ends.

2.

I am hungry.

11:55 pm on Sunday night and classes officially begin tomorrow. One of them will be on campus, but two I have registered for will be taken online and I am wondering if those two will be published at midnight or if I will have to wait until morning – if I will be made to sleep through my impatience as if I were a child again, waiting for daylight to come as a sign that yes, now I may open my presents.

On my phone I set a timer for five minutes and distract myself by scrolling through Twitter. People are upset about something there and water is wet. It is mindless enough so that I don’t watch the clock. I am tired and actually could probably fall asleep if I turned off the lights, but I want to see. This is an appetite I don’t mind losing sleep to feed.

~~~

Something unexpected happened these past months. I found as I set down old ways, said goodbye to old ways of surviving that no longer served me that I became hungry in a new way. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised – after all, wasn’t the goal to change the way I moved in the world? But

I am hungry to be seen. I am hungry to learn. I am hungry to participate in the world.

I found as I set down old behaviors I no longer wanted, something unexpected happened. New appetites developed. I suppose this shouldn’t have come as a surprise, after all, holes don’t stay empty for long – something always always rushes in to fill them. After all, isn’t that how I ended up holding those behaviors in the first place? Alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, self harm, isolation, sleep – once I plucked one, another came to fill it’s place. Because what I didn’t know then, is you have to do more than pluck the behavior out. Plucking is different than setting down.

3.

I am reading Mary Oliver, and I find irony in the fact her words describe for me so perfect a picture of a nature I have not seen or felt in months now. It was the end of February when I started staying inside – earlier than the rest of my country but as a caretaker to an individual who is at the extreme end of high risk, it was a step I felt necessary. Now, as the population starts to test the air again, a tentative experiment for many, I wonder how much longer I will need to wait. I’m not alone all the time – my aunt provides companionship when she is awake, when she is feeling well enough. But even still, there are long hours each day in my own company only. This hasn’t been as stifling for me as perhaps has been for others. I can be quite satisfied with my own company for a good chunk time – before all this, I often still needed to take long periods of space to recharge myself. Though. I wasn’t always like this. I suppose that’s one of the consequences of the way my dice rolled. Phrasing it like that perhaps makes it sound like I had no control, which is wrong – I know I had my part. But some things were not. Maybe fate and I just take turns, rolling alternate hands.

My chest is full of feelings, tight and complicated. It has been messy lately – intense stress always precedes crumbling in a tiringly predictable way. No wonder I am a mixed up bundle of nerves and heartache.

 

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