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 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.

2 comments

  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.

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