man covering face with both hands while sitting on bench

Growing Pains In The Time Of COVID-19

At this moment, my mouth is dry from the caffeine-induced dehydration, my eyes are twitching from lack of quality sleep, and the right side of my head is throbbing with stinging pain that feels like a steak knife being driven into my skull and then being ceaselessly twisted inwards until my eyeball is repeatedly poked to the point of internal bleeding.

I have been tired, yes, but sometimes it feels worse than being tired. It isn’t just exhaustion, either, because exhaustion is defined as “a state of extreme physical or mental fatigue,” or “the action or state of using something up or of being used up completely.”

I am neither of those things.

First, my body still has the youth to run a marathon.

Second, my mind is still sharp enough to dream.

Finally, I am the opposite of “used up.” In fact, I feel as though the bigger, and perhaps the truer, part of me has not been used enough.

These days, my life is consumed by pressure I knowingly brought upon myself. Such pressure consists of, but is not limited to:

1. Becoming a morning person

2. Staying healthy and put-together

3. Being smiley and happy all the time

4. Being polite and proper

5. Being 100% dedicated at work

6. Making sure I am calm and collected at all times

7. Embracing the changing of seasons from summer to fall

8. Constantly looking for everyday things to be grateful for

9. Actively searching for reasons why the town I live in isn’t too bad after all

10. Convincing myself that my internal suffering is a mere byproduct of my inability to assimilate my current reality

But most days, most, if not all, of the above are simply impossible to commit to. And yet most days, I put on a mask and force myself to do them anyway.

And I do this because for a while now, my life has been more stable than it ever was. And every dose of pressure that I put on myself is my stoic attempt at keeping and maintaining such stability.

I just never thought that sometimes stability could be so turbulent.

And such turbulence, I am now convinced, is due to the fact that while my external reality is finally serene and peaceful, my internal reality is drenched in blood in the midst of a great war.

My main dilemma is that I want so badly to remain whole, but I also badly miss the sense of relief that only comes with falling apart.

Some days, I just want to be a mess, to make a mess, to be messy. But I worry about the possibility of me ending up being incapable of cleaning it all up once the dust settles.

Some days, I want to get lost again, to feel again what it’s like to literally have no idea where I am headed. But I worry that I might permanently lose the map to get back home.

Some days I just want to bathe in danger again, to feel fear and excitement at the same time. But I worry that this time I won’t be able to save myself anymore.

What are you supposed to do when comfort and security are the foundations of your castle, but adventure and uncertainty are the lightbulbs in every chandelier inside it?

I drink chamomile tea right after I down a large cup of strong coffee.

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