Slow Pain

May 12

I’ve been slow this week. Not mentally: I’ve been as mentally sharp and alert this week as I could wish. Analytical, focused, capable of sustained work every day. But physically, emotionally, socially: slow. Moving through fog.

The aforementioned ability to focus mentally confused me. I would have said I was depressed this week, except I didn’t exhibit any of my tell-tale signs of bona fide depression. No muddled thinking, no lying paralyzed in bed upon waking, no descent into messiness and disorder. Granted, I skipped make-up for a couple of days and dressed in sweats, but that’s the worst it got. I was slow, but not lethargic. What’s the difference? I don’t know, exactly; lethargy involves apathy, a lack of feeling and motivation. This week’s slowness was something else.

Still, friends were worried. The ones I succeeded in talking to commented on how I didn’t sound too good. My Mom took to monitoring me daily: “How are you doing today? Everything okay?” The friends I corresponded with by email or text got increasingly concerned. A couple people told me to “be happy!” Because they love me. They want me to be happy.

I cried a lot. Which is unusual for me. Not usually a crier. I never quite knew what I was crying about; or rather, there were so many things to cry about, I wasn’t sure which trigger was being activated at any given moment. I didn’t have the dull despair of depression; not that I was bubbling with enthusiasm, it’s just that I needed my energy elsewhere.

Friday evening I walked outside, slowly, and sat on a slope in the long grass. Late evening sun, golden bright. New clover and trees freshly clothed with leaves. Sweat bees and crickets. I sat and let the sadness flow, and it felt… not pleasant, but right. Real. I cried a little, not caring why; I was sad, that was why, and it felt right to be sad. I thought of my acupuncturist reminding me to breathe through my feet, and I tried to breathe through my feet, and I felt the downward flow of grief. So much energy that’s been locked up in my body for years and years. Dislodging, melting, flowing downward. And I felt, not a perky happiness that all is well with the world, but a satisfied happiness that I’m able to sit with the world as it is. With myself as I am.

Today I got an email from the very perky Kate Northrup called Permission to be where you are, even if where you are sucks. I breathed deeply, and smelled the first wisps of pleasant-happiness that I’ve detected in a few days.

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