Trucks rumble by on the road just beyond my window. The sun lights up the room as the cool air from the vents above filter into the office where I sit and stare.

It’s been slow lately and that lack of daily activity for a good stretch of time leaves my mind free to wander. Sometimes I day dream to a time and place in the future with what I hope will be. Other times I create scenarios in my mind, almost like a test to see how I’d manage such a situation.

Then there are those times when I travel back and open the door to those memories closed away in a dim, stuffy corner of my mind. I trip and stumble through boxes of pictures and notes, smiling faces of people I no longer speak to peaking through the dust and clutter.

It’s easy to sit down and begin to rifle through these memories. To read the notes and hear the voices of past acquaintances, the laughter we once shared ringing joyful.

Suddenly the mind whirls into action and shuffles off all of the negative memories, allowing only the good and happy times to float forward. Your mind clouds over, seeing only the reasons the friendships had started, forgetting at once why they needed to end.

Like a rinse cycle spinning away the dirt and dust from the passage of time, all that is left are the purest remembrances. The stories, the smiles, the laughs and the bonds made over common dreams and wishes. As the pictures flip past your eyes, the moments that were cherished so much flickering faster and faster, the confusion sets in.

Why did it have to end? Do they ever think back and remember me? Why did it have to hurt so much?

Then the pictures slowly slip from my hands and fall to the floor, covering the ground around me in mental images from a life I no longer live but a past I can never out run.

It will always be with me, in my shadows, wandering beside me.

Don’t Turn Off The Lights!

The stairwell rings from the constant dip-dip of a leak somewhere within. The stained metal walls echo each bump and scrape as we shuffle down into the dark abyss. Rust paints the walls in drawn streak like vomit drying from giants standing overhead.We’ve stepped into a deep steel chamber of stairs leading down, down with no bottom in sight.

Creaking beneath our feet, the stairs stumble long, turning after every 10th step, taking us deeper and deeper. We pass a slit cut into the tainted steel walls every other floor and light shines in to illuminate the grimy rails that hug each turn.

My father is ahead of me, holding my small hand. I must be about seven years old based on how his warm, dry hand envelopes mine. Our footsteps sound dull and flat in this rusted tin-canĀ  as we march steadily forward, down towards a funeral for a friend.

No one speaks and I feel as if I should try to comfort my father. His brown coat hangs limply on his worn figure as he marches on, leading me with his head hanging low. I try to speak but can’t find my voice, can’t drum up the vocals needed to make words.

I know why we are here, to mourn the death of a friend. But who the friend was or how we know them eludes me. The metallic clanging of the many feet trodding along the whisper thin, scrap metal stairs ring low in my head. A soft hum of mourning embraces my mind and heart.

As we reach the bottom of the stairwell, a stack of cardboard boxes await us, each filled with soda cans. Shiftily we search for any watching eyes as the people in line before us snatch up a box and duck beneath a low hanging doorway. Into another dim room with dust clouds floating through the thin sliver of light afforded by the slightly shuttered window behind us, each person in the funeral procession dips into the inky blackness and disappears.

I told tight to my father’s hand, uncertain of the dark room ahead but not necessarily afraid. Just grief stricken. I feel the feelings of loss tighten around my heart, squeezing inside my chest. Panic rises as I feel like I can’t breath, like all my happiness is being pressed from my soul and I begin to weep.

My father turns and I see nothing but aching sadness in his eyes. He slowly presses his long, pale finger against this lip and motions for me to be quiet. Then, as silently as a ghost walking through the memories of their living days, my father lets go of my hand and stoops to pick up his box of dusty, old soda cans.

My tears roll in silence as I watch his stooped back slip into the well of darkness ahead. Shuffling feet against the metal and the soft banging of hands using the railing for support circle around me as my tears fall, in sync with the leaking stream from above.

I reach forward, my sobs bubbling from my small body, and grab an old, dilapidated box of cans. They bounce against each other, tiny and thin, making small clacking noses as I step forward.

Looking up, my tears blurring my eyes and a stinging inside my nose burns as I try to hold back my sadness, I realize the inky well ahead of me is grief. The physical manifestation of sadness.

This room, these stairs, this place is what sorrow would be if it took form.

And I can’t get out.

Making My Way Through

The best way out is always through. ~Robert Frost

I give in.

I always try to put my best foot forward and ignore the signs that I’m unhappy or sad.

Somewhere in my mind I’ve made myself believe that happiness and joy are the only emotions worthy of feeling and anything else is to be bottled up. Kept inside tight and closed. As if I’m a failure for feeling sad and unhappy, angry and spiteful.

But no more. I have earned the right to feel everything even down to the very worst of emotions.

I won’t lie and say I’m fine or that I’m ok. Because I’m not. I’m broken and very hurt.

I won’t take people telling me to cheer up or to be happy. That will come in time. For now, I grieve my losses as the lessons I’ve learned slowly sink in.

As for my son, he needs to see and understand that people are not perfect. That life is a balance between the good and the bad. That it’s ok to be sad, to cry and to be upset. But that our best chance for being the best version of ourselves is to feel everything, learn from them and move forward. To take care of ourselves as a first priority and not to fake happiness for the sake of those around us.

I am sad for now.

I will be happy again because I refuse to live under a dark cloud forever. But I also refuse to ignore my feelings. I will be ok and for now, I will make my way through it just so I can come out the other side wiser and stronger.

The One In Which I Do Nothing But Complain

Today is one of those days that I woke up under nothing but grey clouds and I can’t seem to shake the chill of negativity. This is a running ledger of those nasty ol’ negative thoughts because it’s better for them to be out here than stuck inside my head where they circle round my mind, bringing me further down.

For starters, I’m tired. Both physically and emotionally.

So tired I can’t seem to find the energy to finish what I’ve started or to keep up the routines I enjoy. It’s sad that when push comes to shove, responsibilities come before the things I love, and not the other way around.

It’s also sad that I have responsibilities that instead of being something I enjoy or something I can find some happiness in, these responsibilities just drain me further. I guess if life were fair, we’d all be doing something we love and something we are passionate about while we take care of what needs to be taken care of. But that’s not reality now is it?

I’m also drained. I feel I have nothing left. Nothing left to give, to share or to have for myself. I’m starting to fear I’ve sacrificed too much and now I’m running on empty and would have to start from scratch to find myself.

And if that’s the case, then I’m no good to anyone. I’m nothing but a dead weight bringing anyone around me down. Why would anyone want to have that weight around their neck? I wouldn’t.

I’m not sure if I should cross my fingers and hope that when this passes, those who care for me are still there, or if I should preemptively cut ties to save everyone from my darkness. Why hurt those around you when you know you can prevent it, right? That’s love, isn’t it?

I feel like a 5 year old kicking the ground after losing a board game yelling “IT’S NOT FAIR!” Because…it’s not fair. None of it is. Life, being an adult, having responsibilities. I guess I just need to accept I’ve lost this round of the game and I just need to move on and try to win the next. Even though I’ll still complain that it’s just not fair.

Emotional exhaustion can do weird thing to your mental state. It makes you say and do things that normally would go against your beliefs and your convictions. It’s like you are so tired your mind starts to panic and then it allows for you to consider options you normally would be completely against. And instead of making it look like you are being open minded, it raises eye brows of those who know you and makes them question your motives.

And being questioned only makes you feel shittier. Makes you want to back track and violently unring the bell. To beat the shit out of the bell. Then panic sets in as your logic surfaces and you realize what you’ve said and how it probably looks. Damn it….that unringing of the bell isn’t working. Your words are out there and you are stuck having said all that you have.

Sigh…. I need more sleep.

And a new brain. Oh…how about a whole new body?

That would be sweet.

(This post is brought to you by PMDD. Don’t leave home without it because if you do, it’ll track you down, find you and kick your ass.)