Mental Health

White Light

"Light Lair" © Evan Leeson, 2013. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Light Lair” © Evan Leeson, 2013. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
“You’re in a good mood today!”

He caught me by surprise. I wondered what my smile must have looked like when our eyes met as I rounded the corner into the kitchen. Then I immediately caught myself trying to figure out if he’d read the surprise on my face from his statement. How flustered must I look right now?

“Well, I have food for lunch, so that’s always good.” I bent over and wrestled my paper bag into the refrigerator. Wedged it in among the glass containers of edamame and leftover Thai food belonging to my office mates. He didn’t know what an accomplishment it was for me to plan ahead. To bother to go out and get food. To remember that eating is important and that my body will do a horrible job of reminding me. My temperature drops and I pile on layers of clothing for hours before I remember that it means I’m hungry.

I wondered if he could feel the congratulations I was giving myself for passing as a cheerful person. How proud I was of being so convincing it was worth commenting on. But there was a little part of me that whispered, “No. Hey. You’re allowed to be having a good morning. It does not discredit all the times you just want to curl into a ball and disappear.”

That’s what is so easy to forget. The work I’m doing. The battle I’m fighting. It feels all-consuming. But there are days when I’m walking into the office and the sun is shining and everyone is beautiful. When the whole morning falls into place and I feel powerful and centered and invincible.

Someday I will learn to stop questioning those feelings. Stop trying to pin them on fleeting blind-luck or something that will be taken from me. I will stop trying to retrace my actions and figure out what I did so different. I will just relax and let it drench in me warm, white light.

Someone will say, “You’re in a good mood today!” And I won’t question, won’t doubt, won’t try to rationalize my way out.

I’ll just smile again and say, “Yeah, you know what? I am.”

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