“I tried to change.
Closed my mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier, less awake.
Fasted for 60 days, wore white, abstained from mirrors, abstained from sex, slowly did not speak another word.”
– Warsan Shire
I’ve been looking for something.
A sign. Some direction. A treasure map. Invisible ink. Writings on walls. I’ve been playing the stupid choice games in my head. Okay okay… if I stand by this elevator and it’s the next one to light up then it means that God is______. Which is a horrible exercise in and of itself because if that’s not the elevator that lights up, you give God a million other chances to answer or change His mind. I’m looking for reassurance. There’s so much that’s not going well that I need to hear from God and be reassured that I’m on the right path. That I’m to hold and be still despite the screaming desire to shed all things and run as fast as I can in the general opposing direction. But I believe I’m to stay and endure. But enduring is not living. I’m giving a version of myself to the world but it isn’t ME.
I don’t know where I am. I definitely lost me somewhere. At least the old me. But the last time I lost her, I understood. It was much more an emergence from a chrysalis than anything else. I know exactly where I left her and the reasons why. This is not molting. There is a transformation going on that is much less triumphant and much more somber. More of a hunkering down or a resignation. This is it. All the times I’ve asked “This can’t be my life… can it?” are being answered with – Yeah… and get used to it. Unless you do something different.
Unless I do something different.
So I’m keeping my head to the curb for the rumblings. Looking for the signs to do something different.
A great number of my relationships as of late have had me thinking of how I fit myself into being who I need to be for them. I compartmentalize. (Damn… as I write it… it makes even more sense). I keep the anger for this over here… and the sadness for that over there… and the overzealousness for this situation up on this shelf… and none of them shall cross swords. I don’t want anyone suffering (or feeling envious) of any of the other things I have going on outside of our particular relationship. I cater. I ask what they want. I listen and try to appease. I edit and censor. I tuck my own feelings, wants and needs away and let theirs take precedence. You know… because not everyone is able to compartmentalize as I can. It’s really a blessing. But others need to let sadness, grief, stress, anger, displeasure, etc. overwhelm every aspect of their lives even though it only originates from one sector. I’ve listened to a friend completely devolve into a 5-year-old trying to make a food order because of the stresses of the world bearing down on their lives – just could NOT get to the point of figuring it out for the sake of everything else that was going wrong. Not everyone can eat stress the same.
Although I’m losing my ability to do it as well as I had in the past. That damned Silver Star Celebration almost had me convulsing on the floor in a full stroke seizure. Last time I felt like that, my mom had died. But… you know – still compartmentalized it to keep others from being weighed down by MY stress. The party (and most importantly the show) must go on. And who am I to be a big damper on everything? I hold that. As much as I can. Looking at the pictures and video from that weekend I can SEE the stress and brimming stroke IN MY OWN EYES… but the party continued. Far be it from me to be the reason things slow down or stop. I can endure. Not live. Just endure.
I say yes to others. I say no to myself. More often than I feel comfortable admitting.
My co-worker smelled really pretty the other day and I asked her what she was wearing. She went off into a missive of this mystical location that had all these beautiful spiritual artifacts and oils and sage to smudge and crystals to channel energy. So I asked her to bring me there. Hoping to be in that space would offer me something… more. Maybe one of those signs.
In a subsequent meeting at work, the hour dragged on. The demotivation continued. The hopelessness sank deep into the crevices of my soul. I looked around at the decor in this new space. Huge white wooden table. Black fixtures on the wall. Grey carpeting All so monochromatic. I daydreamed that I got up, climbed atop that pristine white conference table, pulled a razor blade from under my tongue and proceeded to slice my forearms open, collapsing and bleeding out on that scene. Perhaps in doing so, give the room a bit of color while releasing me from the horrors of having to be there. Funny. I told my co-worker that (one that I actually consider a human being) and he chuckled and said: “They’d probably continue the meeting and be wholly annoyed that you were disrupting it by killing yourself.” I laughed SO HARD. But couldn’t deny that I too thought it would happen. “Will someone get her body off the table and ask building services to come in here and clean this mess?? The NERVE.” I can hear them saying it.
But it’s also never been this bad that I’ve imagined staging my own suicide to get away from my work situation.
“TWISTING MYSELF INTO A PRETZEL”
is the phrase that has been coming to mind a LOT lately. I’ve been doing this to myself. Trying to fit into everyone else’s space for me. Because they’ve allowed so little space. And I so desperately want to be included. So twist into their wants. Tuck into their needs. Bend to their whim. Just to be accepted. Because I don’t want to be discounted. I don’t want to be left behind or forgotten. I’m so desperate for someone to want me around… that I don’t even care if it’s ME they’re getting. Whatever version of me it has to be is what it’ll take if they’ll just… have me.
My coworker and I walked into the small storefront replete with all the things she had described. Dream catchers and special oils, soap by the slice and geodes with purple amethyst. As she perused many different things, I walked slowly waiting for something to grab me. A spirit. A feeling. A sign. But felt nothing. It was just a trinket store.
I identified 2 scented oils that I’d want to try (clocking in at $30 each – ugh) and some CBD Oil ointment for pain that I wanted to use on my Achilles shrugging off that I didn’t need to make a connection here, I guess. I paid for my items and the man pointed to an acrylic container full of stones inside. I locked eyes with him. He spoke “It’s your first time here. So you have to put your hand in and pick a stone. But you can’t look. Take a deep breath, clear your mind and think about what you want.” I took a deep breath and cocked my head back as if asking the Gods for assistance. The two words the flashed before my mind were “Peace” and “Deliverance”. I closed my eyes and reached into the box and dug around. One stone took my fingertip’s attention and I pulled it out. “Give it to me, ” he said. I placed it in his hands and when he let go, I opened my eyes. As I brought my head back down he folded the stone into my hand and enclosed my hand in his. “Don’t look at it now,” he advised. “20 minutes. Then look.” Okay, I shrugged. I put it in my pocket and set a timer on my phone for 20 minutes.
All in all, it was just enough time for me to get to the train platform and wait to be taken home.
The alarm went off. I dug into my pocket and found this message:
Loud and clear, God.
Loud and motherfucking clear.