January 23, 2014 at 12:17 am (In So Many Words)

The worst level of torture happens in our own minds – mostly in the form of perceptions and lies.

I live in a state of an aching mind.  The pressure behind the eyes.  The mean reds.  The emptiness in the pit of my gut, my heart, and my soul.  And most of this ache is something I should be able to think my way out of, if I’m to embrace my own belief systems.  I should be able to choose to be happier.  I should be able to read something positive until I feel it.  I should be able to think in truths and not get caught up in whatever lies I have allowed myself to believe that day.

But my aching mind has been here for months.  Months and months and I just can’t kick it.

Eating doesn’t fix it.  Working out doesn’t fix it.  Reading suppresses it.  Praying seems to make it worse – if only because my image of God is much like my memories of my own dad (smacking me on the head and saying, “Just don’t be stupid” as you can imagine is *so* helpful).

It’s that need to cry and not being able to.   It’s the need to scream at the top of your lungs into a cavern and enjoy the echo back, but never having the opportunity to do so.  It’s the need to sleep unabashedly half naked in the sunlight like I did when I was young and that being completely out of the question.  It’s the need for something, something so generic and so specific at the same time it’s completely absurd and renders me inarticulate.

It’s a terrible want that I can’t kick.  A want I’ve never had before so I don’t know how to kick it, really.

Anger is easy.  I’ve learned to calm my anger.  I’ve become quite an expert at completely suppressing it for someone else’s emotional well being.   Frustration is not so easy, but putting frustration aside is a daily exercise when you are chronically poor and have a toddler.  Wanting material things is easy to kick.  Wanting a lot of things is easy to kick.

It’s easy to kick things you have similar experiences with… but how do you kick a feeling you’ve never had?

Wanting something you can’t even identify.  Something so imbedded in your core it makes you physically ill.  It’s torturous to see shadows and glimpses of this something, but it never comes fully to light.  The ache, the want, just hiding around the bend and under a rock.  Just out of reach.  Just out of sight.   But pulsing, and radiating, and letting you know that it’s there and that you are missing it.

In the mean time, I’ll bury myself in The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and see if I can put it off for another night.


  1. Meb Bryant said,

    I could have written this blog thirty-two years ago, if I had your literary ability, which, sadly for me, I don’t. Since I was born to two teenagers who struggled with parenthood, I wanted to be a better parent. After giving birth to my first child, I sat on top of Confidence Hill wondering why other women couldn’t handle life and motherhood as easily as I did. Wasn’t I wonderful?

    Then, five years later, after giving birth to my second (and last) child, I fell off my pedestal into the depths of hell. I told myself what a lousy mother and wife I was, stopped sleeping, and laughing. I didn’t realize the laughing absence until it was brought to my attention by my husband. I was suicidal and even checked into a hotel, sans jewelry, to complete the job.

    I needed a means of death (not too messy) so I drove to a pharmacy on my way to the hotel. Inside the pharmacy, I saw a little boy the same age of my baby boy. Then my brain fired off a disjointed thought of Judy Garland and how I felt her suicide had not been a kind deed for her daughter Liza. I realized my five-year-old daughter would be able to remember, but my baby boy wouldn’t.

    Instead of purchasing a tool of death, I bought a toothbrush and toothpaste, drove to the hotel and slept for twelve hours. The next morning the world looked a little rosier, so I went home and cleaned house… not the dust kind of cleaning, the “I’m going to get my life back in order” kind. First, I set aside the need to be perfect, explained to my husband that he could change some of his selfish ways or ELSE, and I went to my family doctor, explaining my situation.

    I had enough sense to know my anger had turned into depression and my brain was lacking something from the endless sleepless nights of staying awake trying to satisfy a demanding baby and keeping up the pretense of being the perfect woman. Whew.

    After a few months of swallowing an anti-depressant, my life returned to “normal” and I got my laugh back. (My husband noticed before I did and he cried.) I’m no therapist or doctor, but I think giving birth is a BIG DEAL that rents the body inside and out. In my case, another C-section, this time being numb only on one side. YIKES!

    I cannot believe that I sullied your blog with this post. My apologies, Andi. I wanted to share a bit of my experience and let you know that things get better, but you’ll have to take proactive measures, especially if those around you don’t see your aching. Wifehood, motherhood, and womanhood come at a steep price, but the rewards are ultimately worthwhile. Ask some of us old veterans who’ve made it through the darkness.

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