laying low

At some point, the most I could do was sit by the win­dow and face the lawn. It’s hard to say how many hours were spent look­ing out­ward, inter­rupt­ed every now and then by food I could bare­ly taste or swal­low. For a per­son who needs to stay active to cul­ti­vate a sense of worth, it was a sign I was beyond her reach, and at a point where I was no longer able to help myself.

When she began to cry, I asked what was wrong. “I didn’t think you’d give up”, she explained, some­thing made appar­ent when I couldn’t man­age a veneer of pleas­ant­ness for the sake of being polite to friends or strangers alike. I once told her I would stick around for her sake, but in that moment we both under­stood it was a promise I couldn’t keep.

Self-portrait

I won­der if I’ll ever be able to. It’s hard to remem­ber what life was like before I was so emo­tion­al­ly exhaust­ed. Even when the exter­nal sources of stress are far away and my head is above water, it still feels like I’m drown­ing. When that gener­i­cal­ly redo­lent scent of taxi leather hit my nose, it used to mean I had a plane to catch, a flight to take me out of the coun­try, an adven­ture await­ing; now it’s a por­tent of deaf­en­ing­ly silent wait­ing rooms, and psy­chi­a­trists who know too lit­tle and talk too much.

I keep my fret­ting fin­gers trim but the cal­lus­es keep heal­ing over, cause I can’t con­cen­trate long enough to improve (also why it’s tak­en me so many months to write this). The house is a bare­ly con­tained mess. My phone is over­flow­ing with notes, texts, voice mails, things I can’t keep on top of. It’s been for­ev­er since I talked to Darren, even longer since I made a trip out of town. I’ve grown sen­si­tive to loud nois­es. I bare­ly rec­og­nize my own face.

That’s how I know I’m not ready to process parts of the past yet. Going so many years with­out a reprieve has left me drained of cop­ing resources, and when I’m bare­ly man­ag­ing my needs for safe­ty and sur­vival, there isn’t any room left for growth or improve­ment. I need more time to heal, to replace upset­ting mem­o­ries with new expe­ri­ences, to be in a sta­ble place before revis­it­ing the most trau­mat­ic parts.

Heather by the window

For the moment, that means work­ing with my nat­ur­al ener­gy pat­terns and momen­tum as I try to devel­op healthy habits. It’s left me up at odd hours, eat­ing irreg­u­lar meals, and large­ly house-bound. Heather tends to my needs and nev­er leaves my side for more than 15 min­utes. I’m for­tu­nate to have a small sup­port group help­ing me look after things — drop­ping off gro­ceries, bring­ing my car for main­te­nance, pay­ing the bills, dri­ving me to appoint­ments — small tasks that seem daunt­ing when so unsure of myself. Misun even offered to help sell the house and fly me to France so I could live under her care indef­i­nite­ly; if only one could be car­ried by the love of one’s friends alone.

It pains me to be here wait­ing, feel­ing like I’m miss­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for hap­pi­ness every day, but I’ve learned that progress can’t be rushed. Not just cause I have to tread so care­ful­ly through the past, but because I’ve been down for so long that it feels like it’ll nev­er be up again. That’s why I have to trust her when she tells me things will even­tu­al­ly be okay. Until then, I spend my time lost in the Dark Tower, appre­ci­at­ing a sobri­ety I wasn’t pre­pared for, look­ing for duels in the bor­der­lands, try­ing to feel nor­mal again.

3 comments

  1. Looking good Jeff! I was hap­py to see a new unread noti­fi­ca­tion in my RSS reader :)

    Let’s play TF2 on the No-Heroes servers ( “con­nect payloadextreme.info” ) sometime.

  2. These pho­tos are so beautiful.

    There is no rush. Emerge in ways that work for you.

    All my love.

  3. hey broth­er its been too long and it pains me to see you hurt­ing tho i dont know exact­ly what your going thrugh you know i been to the dark­ness and back. its a hard fight and you have plen­ty of love fam­i­ly and friends to help stay the corse if ever you need any­thing you have but to ask
    love ya bro
    rob

Leave a Reply