[Bear with me on this post, if you decide to read: it’s a tad bleak — like, TW-for-talk-of-suicide bleak — but I think I’m getting to somewhere good!]
My emotional reserves are running on empty. Have been for some time. Sometimes a little thing like finding less cereal in the box than I expected hits me like a final straw, and I wind up sobbing on the kitchen floor for 15 minutes.
And sometimes big things leave me laughing so hard and so long I almost get sick, like last Saturday’s video chat with my father, during which he spewed vile invective about every member of mine and my brother’s families for almost an hour — 56 minutes exactly, according to Skype — while shutting down every attempt I made to speak with hand-waving and “no no no no no, don’t say anything!”
And Nathan’s showing symptoms again, like vomiting right after eating (which Hildi then tries to eat, since she likes his food so much better than her own that even regurgitated, it smells like a treat). I figured out this morning that he has been spitting out his pills, maybe for a while? Lodging them in his throat somehow, until after I have checked his mouth and started walking away, when he hawks them back up like a skilled bulimic.
I am filling my well as fast as I can, and still it drains faster than I can keep up. I feel absolutely empty. I feel at the bottom of myself.
What I don’t feel?
I can see this all as situational and say, “damn that sucks,” knowing every situation is always changing. I may feel as though I can’t handle one more damn thing — and yet when that one-more-damn-thing happens, I still know I can survive it.
I may have sobbed on my kitchen floor this morning over half-cup of Cheerios — but finally I stopped, picked up a bottle cap that had somehow missed the trash bag and rolled under the refrigerator (like a certain fateful piece of corn), and stood up to get on with my day.
Is this what it is to be not-suicidal? I had no idea.
I’ve felt so brittle for so long, I forgot what it was not to expect each next-blow to be the final one. Maybe not even forgot; maybe I never even knew there was an alternative. I have diaries from my sophomore year of high school in which I am trying to work out how to kill my soul while leaving my body still available and of service (to whom? is a thing one might wonder): page after page of adolescent theorizing about “emotional suicide.”
I cannot remember a time when I expected to live beyond a five-year horizon.
I cannot remember a time when I was not bargaining with the universe for permission to stay a little longer, “please don’t make me do it yet.”
If this empty feeling today is the alternative to feeling shattered, to believing I am broken — then I am seizing it with both hands and a grateful heart.
If “constantly draining to empty” is the best I ever feel — and even though it is that right now, I doubt it will be so forever — but if this is as good as it ever gets, I still gotta tell ya:
This feels like sunrise.
“I Had No Idea” is part of an ongoing memory project.
Additional installments can be found here.