It used to be leaping from my chair and, in one grand swoop, clearing my desk of everything. A smashed computer screen, pens, paper, and a couple half-full glasses of water littering the floor. “Look at me!” I wondered how you didn’t notice. “Please, just look at me.”
Now my posture tightens. Teeth clench. I don’t break eye contact and I steady my breath. In a moment indiscernible from the next the glass I’m holding is crushed in my hand. Fragments embed in the folds of my skin, sparkling water and a lime wedge. I don’t flinch, just cock my head. “You were saying…”
We learned how to get angry in quieter ways. Learned how to hurt in select places. Practiced shutting off and closing down. Experts at the fine art of suffering in silence. Knowing there is no point in asking for help. This is how it is. Perfected out of necessity.
But now we must unlearn it. Instead we must teach ourselves to sit on couches and hold hands. Take long walks, shoulder to shoulder with a good friend. Stare over dinner tables and cups of coffee and say, “This is really hard. I’m trying, but I’m struggling every day.”