Days Like This

Today my only accomplishment was getting out of bed, and even that didn’t feel worth it. I have these days.

A friend sent me a message, “Hey, are you ok? You haven’t seemed like yourself lately.”

I politely lied, “Yeah, just stressed. Thanks,” because that’s what we do. We have these days that don’t make sense.

I smile for strangers. I get dressed on the days I have to. I get to work (mostly) on time and I make sure my kids have food, water, clothing. I wash dishes before I can’t see the counter top anymore.

Essentials, right? If we do this set of things the pop psychology gurus have deemed appropriate, we must be ok, right? The answer, “Just stressed,” is enough to convince. It is my own barbed wire fence, keeping me safe and you out.

That’s the illusion- I’m not actually safe at all. Some mornings, when the kids aren’t home and I don’t have to work, I wouldn’t get out of bed at all if it wasn’t for the urge to pee. I fight a battle between hiding under covers all day long and knowing I should get out and explore the world around me. Or at the very least, take a shower.

But I can’t. I did manage to wash my face today. No makeup. I think I brushed my teeth and took some Advil. Eventually I put a bra on, under the same clothes I wore as pajamas last night.

I hate that question the doctors ask you, “Have you ever thought about death?” What is the answer they are actually looking for? No, I’ve gone about my entire life oblivious to the concept that one day, life doesn’t go on anymore.

I don’t intentionally think things like, which pills would work the fastest while causing the least amount of pain, or, has anyone tested fate lately by blindfolding themselves and walking into traffic?

I see these thoughts as raw drafts that float in the peripheral of other thoughts, maybe they don’t even belong to me, they just got stuck there floating through someone else’s mind, and now they hover, sometimes into view but mostly hidden between the wrinkles and folds of gray matter. I respond not with judgement but vaguely interested curiosity. This is only meat for an otherwise flimsy, unsubstantial meal. Not something I actually want to chew on.

You can tell what a baby needs by the way it cries. I wish adult tears were like that. Halfway down the stairwell I dissolved into a blubbering hydrant of emotions even I couldn’t describe. My heart was leaking out through my face, and I didn’t have words for it. I have days like this.

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