I couldn’t tell you the sequence of events that got me here. I can’t pinpoint the moment when my trajectory turned disastrous or my own mind decided to sabotage the set course. But I can tell you about the now, as I sit here with my face pressed against the cold tile of the shower wall, clothes still on and fingers desperately typing – hoping to regain the feeling of direction. Everything around me is solid, immobile, firm. Incongruously I notice my kitten, perched on the edge of the bathtub, curious but cautious in a way that makes me both laugh and cry. What is it about the lows that make even the soft and gentle stay away? What is it about these moments that make me flee to the stark and cold?
I wish I could tell you this is something new – taking refuge in bathrooms, but unfortunately, they’ve always been “the safe space”. See, when the world becomes too much and the sensory overload threatens to tear my every nerve apart, I retreat. There’s something in the sanctity of a room where you’re expected to be alone – where no one is going to bother you except for maybe a polite knock on the door, looking for any noise as the response of “Yes, I’m still alive in here”. No one wants to know the going on’s of a person who’s locked themselves in this room – they’re expecting a whole other kind of disgusting release.
And so, I sit. Limbs slowly losing tension as the cold seeps in. Is anyone else that way, where the cold calms more than heat? A hot bath at this point would send me over, but porcelain perfectly chilled by the -45 degree winds blowing outside? Heaven. All the while, the hellish brainscape of competing thoughts still burns with the flames of uncertainty.
And so, I breathe. Conscious and trying; trying to create a rhythm that makes sense to the heaving of my chest, while in my lungs the air feels both heavy and non-existent.
And so, I cry. The tears forming chasms down my cheeks, as they etch out the stones of my clenched jaws and loosen the tension held day after day.
This disembodied dichotomy is not lost on me, it’s lurked within my whole life. I strive for happiness, but end up fixating on the wrong. I hope for friendship but withdraw at the earliest sign of disapproval. I crave reliability but use flakiness as the divide between me and the ones who can hurt me.
So, I sit. And as the tears dry and air comes more freely, I notice what I hadn’t before: a kitten, curled around my feet; tiles that have warmed from the heat I’ve given them; words on a page that was previously blank. The world is here, and it takes, but it can also reflect what we give it.