Home » Uncategorized » Don’t Play Misty For Me

Don’t Play Misty For Me

Sometimes, out of nowhere, I feel… icky. Being the overly analytical person that I am, I don’t usually accept that feeling, but instead try to attribute it to something. “Oh, I’m sick!” I’ll think, feeling relieved. Because “icky” without a source, is bad news. If I’m not careful, I open a vortex of insecurity for myself by questioning what makes me me, in my hunt for the source of the icky. I break myself into pieces and examine them for problems.

I think my structure, the bones of myself or my crunchy outer shell, is made up of the things I do every day and the people I’m with when I do them. Career: I am a writer. Home: I am a wife and mother. Socially: I am a hermit, with a small group of really good friends.

I try to do these things well. I want to do them well. Especially the home things, which are the most important. I try to be a good partner to my wonderful and supportive husband, and a good mother to the adorable small man we made. I am earnest about these things, but I’m also sometimes messy and inconsistent, tired and distracted. Like everything else I do, I am uneven, lots of heart, not that much energy. I round everything off with cookies and coffee.

Inside my crunchy shell, I’m a squishy gel of potential reactions to things. Add some coffee at just the right time, and I am inspiration for a bunch of heartfelt, smart-assy thoughts. Say something mean to me, and I am a puddle of hurt and tears. Say something mean about someone I love, and I am an inferno of outrage.

Apply no outside stimulus, and I am quiet and still.

At first.

If I stay that way long enough, my brain provides a stimulus for me – a thin black smoke that settles over parts of me. It solidifies and contracts. As it draws in on itself, it drags and scrapes, and it sounds like scratchy whispers: “You call yourself a mother? A mother wouldn’t feed her child that garbage.” “When you said what you said, you were hurtful, and now everyone knows how horrible you are.” “It’s funny you think you are a good person. Look at all these terrible things you’ve done. Kneel on these stones while I read you the list.”

I know, I say. I should do better. I should be better.

Sometimes, I jump up and push my way through it, and it dissipates. I can look back and see its shadow reaching for me, disappointed and waiting. Sometimes I stand and lean forward and pull it with me. Over time and with effort, I peel it away. And sometimes it holds me in place, contracting and whispering. It gets under my skin and displaces my structure, and I am none of those things I thought I was before. Instead, I am what it says I am, until it feels like I’m nothing.

I am fortunate. The black mist hasn’t won for a really long time. It used to be constant, a relentless blanket of darkness, thickest around my heart and lungs. But it withdrew. I don’t know why. I don’t know how, so I am vigilant, and I don’t underestimate it. I look around and realize I wasn’t alone, even though I felt that way, and I memorize the people nearby so I can find them through the mist. I say sweeter things to myself the rest of the time, and I let myself rest, and I try to cut myself some slack. When I can’t, I know it’s time to jump up and try to outrun it, like I had to today.

I know what it looks like, and if I see it settling on you, I’ll say something. I know I can’t fix it. I’ll just try to remind you that the whisper is lying, and you aren’t alone. I know from the other side of it, you’ll do the same for me. The mist is humbling and an equalizer.

Robot Hugs Gets It! 

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5 thoughts on “Don’t Play Misty For Me

  1. Very well-said–you express this awful experience with great clarity. I’ve been here, too. It’s nasty and dreadful. I’m glad that the black mist doesn’t have the upper hand with you now. Here’s to keeping it at bay–or maybe somehow exploding it entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: I Like it Gentle, too | smilecries

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