The helter skelter arc of my heart / by Christina Rosalie

I took the day off from work, feeling crumpled and exhausted and near-to-tears. Work, post-traumatic stress, and life in general, has me feeling more anxious and more depressed than I have possibly ever felt in my life. Mostly, it’s the whole post-trauma stuff, which seems to permeate everything else. Because I am an optimist, a glass-half-full dreamer, it is unnerving to be here on the brink of sorrow. Doubt, like an unbalanced weight, threatens to pull me over the edge. And perhaps the worst part of this is I’ve always been a mind-over-matter type of person and suddenly I’ve come slamming up against the fact that I can’t just mind-over-matter this all away. My body has internalized the stress of it all, and I’ve been sick in this low-grade kind of way that has me always feeling thin skinned and raw.

So I took the day off and reveled in a morning all to myself—no toddler, no kids all asking for help in unison, no colleagues asking for favors—just me and some writing and a tall frothy latte.

Then I took a nap. It was that weird kind of sleep where semi-consciousness hovers close. Every few minutes I felt like I was almost awake, and, for a moment upon waking after an hour of sleep, I felt sure I had not slept at all. But I had, and the day outside had gone from grey to a perfect autumnal blue.

I took Bean in the backpack for an hour hike through woods, stopping every so often to listen to the sounds of the woods and smell the crisp autumn air. We’d stop, both of us nearly holding our breath, and listen to the sound of water, to the occasional crow calling overhead, and then, suddenly and more than once, to the report of a gun. Damn hunters. I sang softly walking along the spungy trail, not wanting to be mistaken.

Home again, DH and I immediately launched into an argument, that in retrospect had everything to do with the fact that I wanted to be taken care of and hardly anything to do with whatever puppet topic we pulled onto the stage. But later, after I’d left for town he called, and we talked until we came to some sort of understanding, and he met me there for dinner. It was cold out, and I was glad for my down jacket. We at kebabs and crepes from street vendors, and sipped creamy hot chocolate from the local chocolatier, and had a lovely time.

So I guess I’m stubbornly scrabbling out of the hole I’m in. It seems a lot like one step forward, two steps back, but there’s movement, and many exquisite moments. I am grateful for this—that I have not lost my capacity for joy.

(Here are a few pictures, still with the crappy camera.)