Mental Health · Relationships · Writing

Tread

"It was probably just a dream..." © astronautalis. Ibiza, Spain. 2015.
It was probably just a dream…” © astronautalis. Ibiza, Spain. 2015.
At the gym between sets of back squats Chris asked me if I like writing or if I just do it because I’m good at it.

I wanted to fight him in parts.

First, because he’s likely never read my writing. Second, because of course I like it, right? Third, because how could he ask me such a thing? As if he were somehow challenging the idea I’m a writer at all. Despite the fact that he’s one of the few people who regularly refers to me as such.

But I think I just wanted to fight him because I didn’t know how to answer him. Instead I told him I like the things writing does for me. More accurately, I don’t like what happens when I don’t write. How I feel trapped under glass. How the world is far away and everything is trying to flood my brain at once. How I can’t hang on to any one thing. How life becomes completely overwhelming, how everything becomes too much.

I told him I have to write because it’s not safe not to.

Later Leif asked me what I wrote about this week and I wasn’t able to answer him. “I don’t know. Stuff and things. It’s on the internet, dude. If you want to read it, go read it.”

“But then I would just be another person who reads your blog and never talks to you about, wouldn’t I?”

At first I wanted to tell him that’s just fine. If I wanted to talk about this stuff then I wouldn’t be writing about it. But I caught myself. Realized that’s just another thing I tell myself that isn’t true.

I write in public. I tell people I’m a writer. I want them to ask questions like that. I want to be able to find the words to answer them.

It’s in there somewhere. The ability to connect. To explain. To not feel so broken and fragile. That’s what I’m always writing about, isn’t it?

An explanation of the way I’m feeling, presented in hopes that someone will finally have the spine to talk about it without worrying about hurting me. So someone, somewhere will take off the velvet gloves and just talk to me like I’m a functional adult.

They’ll say, “Hey, I see you, and I feel something like that, too.”

Poetry

Safe

"sleeping cat" © pmin00o, 2001. CC BY-ND 2.0.
sleeping cat” © pmin00o, 2001. CC BY-ND 2.0.
Fever dreams without the sleep.
Some days are just made for
dragging knuckles across concrete.

Walk the city for hours only to
collapse in a heap on
the rug where we wipe our feet
when we come home at night.

Leave on my shoes, coat, and backpack.
Stare straight ahead into the dark,
lying on my belly.

For hours I gasp for air.

My husband gets home and helps me into bed.
I sleep only partially and
wake up regularly to reach out into the night.
Press my palm against his shoulder and
my feet into the curve of the back of his knees.

Breathe.