Where the edges became frayed / by Christina Rosalie

I’ve been shy here, lately. Perhaps dodging myself a bit. Not really sure how to pick up where I’ve left off—I’ve been so sporadic with posting lately—yet I really am missing the regularity of sharing moments and comments. I’ve been fragile this winter.

For the first time since November I felt like I could breathe in again this past week without anxiety fraying the weft of my heart. Miraculously (maybe) or intentionally (with great effort) I’ve stopped feeling like if the world will clatter to a halt around me: a mess of splintered parts if I stop doing everything I do for a split second.

Depression, however fleeting, put me right up against the edges of things: the tattered cuff, the broken branch, mud-spattered snowmelt at the edge of the road. It stained my heart ashy, the color a clouded sky turns after dark.

Not something I was used to, wide awake at night, each day starting out with tight breath and tears close.

I think it had something to do with the fierce longing that I have so often voiced, that eats away at me like a smoldering fire if I’m not careful. A longing to be both here and somewhere else: making a homestead, doing the exact opposite of that (whatever that may be.)

It also had to do with the fact that I was feeling imbalanced at work: I was giving too much, yet not willing to give it. Lately I’ve been feeling less depleted there: allowing myself to focus thinking critically about learning, and children; somehow honing this as a craft.

Perhaps this was what was hardest for me: reconciling the fact that I am still a teacher even as I long with my whole being to be able to write full time. I let myself start hating my work simply because it was the thing that was stopping me from doing the work I was yearning to do. It almost felt like a betrayal to dedicate myself to my work at school, not that that rationally makes any sense.

I realize now that really I was making myself bitterly unhappy because everything in my life was skewed. I resented my work, and myself for doing the work, and this resentment had a corrosive quality like salt and lemon juice. Everything felt scoured and sour. I felt inadequate as a writer, without enough hours in a day, and that inadequacy burned a hole in the very center of my creativity.

Recently, gradually, I’ve been letting myself sink back into the small fragments of my life, not yet whole the way I wish it could be, but certainly a mosaic as it is. I started doing some running again, down our mud slicked road with grooves down the center six inches deep. I started painting. And I got word that I’ll be teaching second graders next year which excites me. I like teaching older kids. I love watching them become thinkers, with writer’s notebooks and organized work spaces, and I like them more than I like the younger ones who need so much reminding about things like nose blowing.

In the end I keep saying it was the winter, and I keep feeling like since the arrival of the first mellow (if not warm) days, my mood has evened out and I’ve become more peaceful. But I cannot say for sure. What is it really that ever makes us sad? I don’t think it can ever be defined entirely by the narrow perimeter of the weather, or for that matter a job or another human being. Somehow, achingly, each arrow of sadness is drawn from the sheaf of our own unquiet soul.