My eyes crept open, half conscious and half restless, I reached for my phone. The unadjusted brightness burned my eyes as I read 10:57pm before resuming darkness. I’d rolled around for the better part of an hour, feeling a tightness at the base of my throat and a lump in my chest. I picked up the phone again and began scrolling aimlessly through Pinterest in an attempt to distract my conscience.
All that was repeating in my head was “surrender.”
The more I scrolled, the more the pictures grew fuzzy as my eyes filled with tears of frustration and anger. I was preparing to erupt.
Abandoning the phone and curled into a “half-pigeon” under my heavy comforter and let my eyes pour out. All I could do is feel the soft embrace of the mattress below me, my cold skin coated in tiny goosebumps as sobs choked out from depths of emotions I rarely allowed to surface.
I found enough fragile strength to sit up. My hands puddled in my lap while my chest heaved, preparing for another burst. Desperately turning my face toward the sky to resist, floods of hot tears drowned my vision in defiance. Through the loud groans of my cries, my raspy voice stammered,
“Less of me.” “Less of me.” “Less of me.”
Over and over, pleading. The words flowed from my constricted voice to a listener I wasn’t sure I believed in. My eyes clenched shut, cheeks burning furiously as tears continued to stream. My body trembled as I repeated those words, gasping out breaths from my nose and mouth.
I couldn’t remember when the tears stopped, leaving only the stinging of raw skin below my eyes. My body’s incessant trembling slowed to a subtle rock side-to-side. The words continued, though nearly inaudible from my hoarse throat.
My eyes slowly opened as I returned to where I was in the darkness. My body was exhausted, begging to be rehydrated, but I couldn’t move. In the months following relocation, hospitalization, relationship rearrangement, and excessive hours at work, I neglected to realize that I was ignoring myself. Recessing my pain in an attempt to seem “normal” or “happy.” Tonight, I exchanged pain for hope. Grieving every yesterday and “could have been" just to be present. It shook me to each cell and fatigued my whole body, but I was clear, mentally, for the first time in months.