Disclaimer (Not that I need one): I promised to write. It isn’t the story I wanted to share. I wanted to write about my grandma’s last words to me. Or maybe I could have told you about a unique skill I developed in 6th grade. Or even a progress report on my intention for 2022. But writing this may have been a gaze into the sea of compassion, curiosity, courage, clarity, creativity, connection, confidence, and calm anyway.

My heart races—or maybe pounds—a lot lately. I feel it as an unpleasant inner exhaustion—a collapse of dopamine. Is my heart swelling with each beat? Is that why each breath gets more difficult to take as well? My thoughts are cloudy, nearly non-existent. I come back to the present when my heart flutters again and the next breath strains against my chest cavity. My muscles twitch and quiver as though they are trying to jumpstart again. What do I do?

I am scared.

I drive home from an appointment on back roads I’ve never taken because lost feels found. The moment I realize where I am, my insides shatter and I cry. Fifteen miles of familiar pavement whisper to me that it has direction while I do not.

I am sad.

I lay in bed wide awake telling myself I can’t just lace up my running shoes and pound the pavement at midnight because people worry. Instead, I blankly stare at the ceiling and watch the calm violence unfold in my mind. It offers sweet relief—one I cannot abandon myself to right now, though I want to desperately.

I feel restless.

Three pencils in my hand: one orange, one red, and one gray. Red colors integrity in the pages of the book. Orange colors courage. Gray underlines the meaningful words poetically beckoning me to continue to move, but my brain is distracted by the continuous squeak in the backseat. My orange pencil falls under the seat. Rage wells within me. I stab the Styrofoam cooler repeatedly.

I am angry.

It was always dark and quiet. I was tormented and comforted but never relieved. Gallons of tears never solved the emptiness that held me. The darkness was only the outward manifestation of the inner darkness I was feeling. There were never answers as to why I felt the way I did. I wanted them. I wanted relief from the chains. It’s dark and quiet now.

I am empty.

My life is great. I have food in my refrigerator. I have a roof over my head. I have a husband and son. I have friends. I have the capacity to learn and grow. I am strong. I am confident. I am stepping into my own. I am climbing the hill one telephone pole at a time. And yet, something is wrong—very, very wrong.

I am confused and disheartened.

One thought on “Darkness

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