Self portrait: standing at the back door / by Christina Rosalie

I stand at the back door watching the rain. The air smells of water and sweet dying grass. The oak leaves still cling to the trees like bits of rust, and the wind stirs them wildly.

I’ve spent the past three days doing nothing. I keep bringing my mind back to now again and again, asking of myself only to heal. My body is weak from the fever I’ve had, and as I left or right, my eyes ache from the sudden sharp movement. My body feels fragile like a porcelain doll’s.

I can tell that I’ve been pouring too much energy out lately, and have been doing nothing to fill up my inner well. I look in the mirror, and see once again, I’ve aged. I step on the scale, and though the pounds haven’t changed, the percentages have—I’ve lost muscle recently. Lost muscle, and courage too.

So I spent these past three days lying mostly still, watching the light change, folding laundry, making simple food. I don’t feel ready to go back to work yet, but at some point, today or tomorrow, I know I will. It isn’t a choice. So I try instead to imagine a different outcome. I try to envision strength and boldness and verve. I call a therapist and make an appointment. I feel heat rising up in my body as I talk to her on the phone. It is so hard to admit to needing help.

I’ve been so damn independent my whole life, and always, I was that girl who everyone else came to when they had problems. It’s hard to be in the passenger seat now, fumbling for words, for tools, for anything to give context to this new vantage point.

I stand at the backdoor watching the rain fall in dark splotches on the smooth slate threshold. The sky is the color of crushed violets and ashes. I put on my boots and go for a walk.