on quicksand

a routine, of sorts, is in place.

wake, eat, walk, play, eat, rest, play.

wait for daddy to come home.

eat again.

anxiety, inadequacy, fear are part of the routine. a television on a constant loop, drowning myself in chatter.

maybe to feel less alone.

maybe to ignore my own thoughts.

restlessness reveals my weakness quickly, however, hands itching to create, throat itching to speak–

no.

ignored, pressed down, once again.

where determination should live, fear resides. coils around my neck, whispers into my ear.

‘freak. failure. weak. vile. inadequate. pathetic.’ wrapping tighter, tighter, until it is difficult to breathe.

torn between three roles. wife. mama. me.

how to reconcile them?

is it healthy, or selfish? am i justified, or self-centered?

on goes the tv again–cannot face these questions.

vicarious living–photos, films, thoughts. each carefully constructed, flawlessly delivered–proving inadequacy once again.

am i allowed ambition, with a family to care for? am i allowed a dream?

restless days turn into restless nights, waking again and again to contemplate failure and possibility.

i long for new beginnings, change, but am caught in quicksand, sinking further as i struggle.

life is not to be distracted, but to be lived.

i set another snack between my lips, push play again, ignore the thought.

on pain

it comes from nowhere, from everywhere.

an old photo, the brush of a familiar strain of music, a flickering memory.

pain.

sometimes, it is overwhelming. a darkness that blinds eyes, makes hearts stutter, makes drawing a breath a near impossibility.

sometimes it is quick. sharp.

sometimes it blossoms over several days, building slowly, a thief in the night, until it hits a burning, billowing crescendo.

sometimes, it is almost welcome. pain might bring longing, perspective, or determination. it might bring compassion, or it might just feel good to feel.

pain has so many colors, textures. it might be dew-white, slipping through fingers like morning mist. it might be gray skies. it might be the deepest parts of the ocean, heavy, oppressive, and unknowable.

we say things–things like ‘the good days make the bad ones worth it’ or ‘this too shall pass.’

but.

sometimes the painful hours outweigh the weightless hours. sometimes, this will not pass. the pain of loss. the pain of regret. these are scars that will never disappear, can never be erased.

pain is, then, not something to fear, or to avoid. pain is something to expect, to welcome as you might welcome an old friend.

‘welcome. i’ve been expecting you.’