Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What's beneath the surface, a look inside the box

    When people ask me how I am doing, my usual answer is “ok.” If I am feeling deeply pained at that particular moment I say, “I am surviving.” I don’t want to hand them the box of emotions I am truly feeling, it’s too heavy for anyone to carry, including myself. I feign a smile and change the subject. They may truly want to know what's below the surface but I can guarantee they don't know how to deal with it. They may drop my box of emotions and run, quickly throwing it back into my arms. "Take this back, it's too much!" They will surely try and make my box try to feel lighter, "at least you have another child," "He is in a better place," "God has a plan for everything," "Everything will be okay." They think these are hands reaching out to lighten the load. They are bricks stacked upon the box of emotion making it harder to carry, making me feel like I am not carrying the box correctly at all.
What's in the box? What is beneath the surface? There is a woman hidden in there, broken to pieces and terrified that life will never be okay again, that she will never be happy again. She wants to die sometimes, not kill herself but just slowly dissipate into the atmosphere and no longer feel.  There is so much fear. There is so much regret. Questions float around inside the box, "what if you hadn't tried to take him to the hospital that day?" "Did he know how much you loved and needed him, could you have told him more?" "You are a psychology major dammit, why couldn't you save your own child?" "What if you could have said the right words that day, what would they have been? Why couldn't you figure out what to say?" "If you had stayed with him, instead of going to the bathroom he wouldn't have been alone long enough to shoot himself" The thoughts I don't "allow" myself to entertain but they are all right there, floating around inside my head, inside the box, waiting for me to catch on to it and give it attention. I stuff it down, deep inside and try not to think.
The box is filled with loneliness. I didn't lose my child alone, I lost myself, I lost the relationships with people around me. Everything changed in the instant he made the decision to end everything. He took half of me with him that night. I live in two worlds, one foot in life, one in death. I walk around, a half a person, trying to pretend I am whole. Trying to keep in tears. Trying not to sleep all day to avoid life.
  When I open the box, I feel arms reach out and tighten around my throat. It's hard to breathe and my throat continues to tighten. I panic and feel like I am suffocating. I fumble with the lid, trying to stuff it all back in and secure the lid before the contents seep out and envelop me. See, I don't just hide them from the people around me, I am trying so hard to hide them from myself. I am not ready to revisit the box now I have packed it tight. For right now, it's safer for me to just carry it with me, strap it to my back and carry on, one step at a time through this new life I never wanted but must learn to live.

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