I wake up heavy. For a moment, I attempt to smile. But the weight of my everything presses down on me and I recede into the dark heaviness. Be happy, I think, you have no reason not to be. Work with me, I say to my brain, but it just fades away. I try so hard to control everything in my life, chasing dreams and success and recognition, but when I turn inwards it slips away. I’m always running, running, running, but I can’t define the finish line.
My body rises, slow-moving and uninspired. I go through the day, drinking coffee to jolt my body toward a normal speed. As long as I keep running, it works. When I pause to take a breath, the heaviness comes crashing on to me and I reach my hand out from under it, gasping for another distraction, something I can control. Let me study, I can master it. Give me a book or a blank paper and I’ll luxuriate in the familiar ease of it all. But when I try to study my brain? The ease becomes oppression; I can understand and intellectualize the workings of my brain but I can’t shed the pounds of feeling. I’m a doctor who knows the anatomy lying underneath like the back of my hand, but I can’t get through the fat. I’m sad because of X, I say, I will feel better if I do Y. Do Y, I say. Please just do Y.
I don’t do Y. I start to try, then fall back. What if I try doing Y and fail? Failing, vulnerability: this is not me. I long to feel loved, fulfilled. But to be loved you must accept love; to be fulfilled you must make space. I open myself to too few people, too few experiences, and then demand too much of them. I was not raised to be vulnerable: I was raised to run. I was raised in privilege and I attack myself for this, questioning my right to be anything but happy. I look at the strange projection of myself that exists on a screen, pointing to my smiles and the people that surround me: look, you are happy. Brain, be happy. Do Y. Please just do Y.