keeping the rage tender

Fall has fall­en, and I was ready. I was wait­ing. I was trapped for months on end, when my body would­n’t coop­er­ate or anx­i­ety got the bet­ter of me. Even hear­ing Townes Van Zandt sing to me about snow in Raton was enough to make me miss win­ter again. I’d live vic­ar­i­ous­ly in any form of visu­al media I could find, just to remem­ber what it was like to feel the tin­gle of sun on my skin.

Now I can go out, but on my own terms and for the sake of it, not just ther­a­py or a doc­tor’s appoint­ment. It’s giv­en Heather and I a chance to date — to dress up for each oth­er, to trade secret glances about peo­ple who might be the oth­er’s type, to hold hands and show each oth­er off — instead of all the cop­ing we were left doing after falling into the rela­tion­ship so sud­den­ly.

portrait of Heather and Jeff

Rachel Weisz has noth­ing on dem brows.

Ever since she began her career, I found it dif­fi­cult to deal with how lit­tle we saw each oth­er. It felt like we were bare­ly con­nect­ing or hav­ing mean­ing­ful expe­ri­ences when we had such lim­it­ed time. Now that she has a bet­ter shift and a car­pool, we have an extra hour and a half togeth­er on week­days. Combined with Jesse com­mit­ting to hang­outs twice a month to play games or jam, it’s made a huge dif­fer­ence in the way I approach my goals and plan my time.

They’re small steps, but after so much regres­sion, I tend to be hap­py with any move­ment in the right direc­tion. Still, I won­der if I’ll ever find a bal­ance that won’t leave me fran­tic, one that’s con­ducive to get­ting my intro­vert needs met while let­ting me feel secure in my rela­tion­ships.

landscape of Ottawa River

There were years when I was fas­ci­nat­ed with the faces of death. It start­ed as live feed­ings and hunt­ing videos, then soon turned to peo­ple. I could­n’t help but watch if a clip fea­tured some­one dying, more so if they were aware of it about to hap­pen; chain­saw behead­ings of rival car­tel mem­bers, acci­den­tal shoot­ings from cel­e­bra­to­ry gun­fire (usu­al­ly at wed­dings), polit­i­cal pris­on­ers plead­ing for mer­cy as flames creep towards their cages. I’d study each expres­sion to see if I could catch a glimpse of what it might be like to face the inevitable when not giv­en a choice. It was a way for me to feel some­thing, after depres­sion turned the dial down on all my oth­er emo­tions.

I’ve learned that numb­ness does­n’t serve me. When I’m in that head­space, the empti­ness robs me of my voice. I can’t cre­ate. I can’t love. I can’t feel like myself. My emo­tions have always been a fun­da­men­tal part of my iden­ti­ty, but at some point, they became severe enough to cause me dam­age, and I had to step back from them. Now I’m try­ing to find the bal­ance between feel­ing too much and too lit­tle. Between being hap­py with the per­son I am, and grow­ing in new direc­tions.


  1. I used to be a hater, but since you opened up about your strug­gles I’ve been a fan. Stay encour­aged.

  2. I too believe find­ing the bal­ance is the key. Love those smiles.

  3. I’m on a sim­i­lar jour­ney myself, best of luck to you fig­ur­ing out life, love, and hap­pi­ness.

Leave a Reply