Thursday, 26 March 2015


There it is again. That tightness of the chest. That pressure. You wonder how it could possibly appear so suddenly. So out of the blue. Is it caused by the solitude, or the company? Are you exhausted by your repetitive day or by sitting and talking with others? You think it might have been the topic of conversation that dragged you down, the sound of hopelessness you heard in your own flat voice. It's still ringing in your ears. 

How did you slip so smoothly from contentment to self-loathing? In the space of a moment. From quiet satisfaction to wanting to rip the skin off your body. Claw at yourself until you are less. Lesser. It's been resurfacing more often than usual lately. More often than usual you feel it creeping up the nape of your neck. You stiffen. It'll get better in the morning you say. You say it until you wake the next day, disappointed to feel the tightness in your chest. It's still there. You start the day with a heavy sigh. Your head feels as heavy as a boulder as you drag it off your pillow. You grip the mattress, hands on either side of you. Here's to another day. May it be lighter.

You grab your towel and your toothbrush. You avoid looking into the mirror, you will find nothing but your deepest insecurities, and your darkest demons. You must find something to eat for breakfast, something that won't leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Then you must do some chores. You must also slot in an hour for reading. A chapter or two, maybe.

You hope that any one of these tasks will lift your mood, lighten the load on your chest, untwist your intestines. Until then you must bear the world. You must tolerate the sound of conversation and laughter. It pierces your ears. You shake your head, lightly at first but then with an increasing frustration hoping to shake off whatever it is that has built a nest in the nape of your neck. That buzzing in your ears. But it cannot be shaken off. You must simply wait for it to leave.

You sit you stand you walk. Right foot first. Right, left, right. It's been almost two days, how long will it last this time?

It will take a kindred soul. Even then it will not be a simple shift. To slip into sadness is sudden, to find a way out is to tame an ocean, you must simply learn to ride its waves.

Words aren't always necessary. Their presence alone will be an immense relief. Like the crisp air that fills your lungs after holding your breath underwater.

(This piece of creative writing was inspired by Michael Cunningham's novel, The Hours, which I'll be reviewing in my next post.)


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