A Little More

TW: This post contains discussions around intense grief.

I went back to work this week. For the first time in two months. At first, it was a bittersweet feelings. I’ve missed my colleagues; I’ve craved more structure in my life. Yet, at the same time, I wasn’t ready to put summer behind me.

You would have understood that. We probably would have talked about it Monday afternoon. You might have even called me when I was on my way to work.

But you didn’t. You couldn’t.

I was fine. Holding it together like cheap school clue clinging to the pieces of a shattered, priceless vase. The mask was in place. Today, I wasn’t going to cry.

Then, my best work-friend, my partner-in-crime, asked that dreaded question.

“How are you?”

She knew. She could see past the porcelain designs, past the carefully painted serenity and hand-crafted pottery. I swallowed. Hard. And said, “A little better.”

And that was partially true! I wasn’t lying.

I am a little better. I’m a little bit better at pretending everything’s normal. I’m a little bit better at covering up the hurricane inside my stomach and chest, and I’m a little bit better at swimming through the tsunami-ridden seas of nightmares and guilt. I’m a little bit better.

But I’m also a little more.

A little more sad because everyday that passes is one that you aren’t here with me. With us. And I don’t know how to deal with that because I miss you so much that it hurts to even talk about. It hurts to face the sun rising on a day you can’t check on me.

A little more mad because you didn’t have near enough time with us. You loved me for 25 years of my life, and thats NOT enough. It’s not enough. I feel cheated because we were supposed to have so much more time left. You weren’t supposed to leave us. Don’t take this wrong; I’m not mad at you. You tried so, so hard to stay. It’s not your fault. I know that, but I’m just so angry.

And I’m a little more regretful because when you needed me, I wasn’t there. When you knew it was your time, I was at home. In my soft, warm bed. Sleeping. She told me that you asked for me. I’m sorry that I didn’t know you wanted me there. I’m sorry that I was so selfish and went home that night. I should have been there. You’ll never know how many nights I’ve been kept awake by crippling guilt knowing I. Wasn’t. There. I never got to say I loved you one more time. Never got to say a real goodbye. Never got to hug you. So many things I didn’t do one more time.

I’m a little more happy, though, too. Happy that you aren’t in pain. You aren’t suffering with this sinking ship of a world. You’re not unhappy anymore. Up there where you are, you’re driving lap around a pearly city with someone in the passenger seat. You’ve probably for your arm hanging out the driver’s side window– if cars are even a thing in Heaven. I like to think they are. And even if they aren’t, you have to be happy up there. That’s my beacon of comfort, my little candle light in this shadowy corner that I inhabit most days.

I miss you a little more each and every day. “It’s going to get easier,” they say. “It won’t be so hard as time passes.” But I don’t want time to pass in a world YOU don’t exist in.

Is there a happy medium? I genuinely do not know. Maybe I’ll find it.

But in the meantime, I’ll just be a little more.

In the Room With It

I spend so much of my time wishing I was happy. Wishing I was normal. Wishing I could remember things better. Wishing I could smile more, laugh more, sigh (happily, of course) more. I chase after that feeling of contentment like a a beagle after a rabbit— the hunts instinctual and unavoidable and almost so much a part of me that I forget I’m hunting. How long have I been searching for that Thing that seems to easy for other people?

How am I always standing on the other side of a precipice and watching Happiness sail away on a ship with a crew full of the merriest men and women and people? Because there’s always more happy people than there are sad. In this picture, I’m alone. Always.

But the cliff image isn’t really fitting. I wish it was. Watching Happiness sail away with a smirk on her face would be simpler than the truth.

You see, Happiness isn’t so far away. I can see her. 

She’s across the room, everywhere and nowhere, smack dab in the center of a throng of people that I don’t even have the nerve to walk up to. Her very presence attracts a crowd of sunshine faces and songbird laughter. I couldn’t go over there in a million years because I don’t belong with them. I don’t smile all the way to my eyes. I don’t laugh with my head tilted back, beckoning to the moon to join me. I don’t fit in.

I’ve never. Isolation is a friend of mine at this point.

But Happiness does. Happiness stands just there—across that room. So close that I could reach out and shake her. Why won’t you spend time with me? Why can’t we laugh and sing and run hand in hand down perfectly white beaches or careen through dim emerald forests?

I wish she were sailing away from me.

But no. I’m in the room with her. And somehow, that’s a million times worse— seeing her, hearing her, craving her, and knowing she’s always a brush of fingertips away.

Am I happy? No. But I’m in the room with Her.

Credit for the phrase “I’m in the room with it” regarding happiness goes to @billiethedoll93 on TikTok.

Oh, yeah. ADD.

Sometimes, I get lost going from point A to—

Where was I?

A thousand trains of thought zip past a single stationary point, and my eyes flit over each individual one. I find myself more concerned with the shape of my thumbnail— Good God, why is that side so flat when the other is round— than with the task I’ve already lost sight of. Wearing Overthinking like a designer backpack, hunched like Quasimodo— and there goes my brain again singing I am deformed and I am ugly.

No. Stop.

Why do I do this? Why are thoughts nothing more than vapors that slip through my fingers, droplets of water that slide down my hydrophobic body as I penguin through another Arctic Sea? If I focus on one shooting star overhead, if I try and hold it still in my hand— like a blue-haired anime boy named Howl— will it eat my heart out or stay with me?

No, neither. It will twist and deform itself into a metaphysical monster, grappling for another crevice in my body to climb like I’m nothing more than plastic rocks on a fake wall. Then, the monster will make its home in the cavern that is my head. It’s a tight fit— who will scoot over to make room: Yesterday’s Regrets or Tomorrow’s Anxiety’s? When I’m ready for that shooting star thought, I’ll reach down into Samara’s well and pray that A Mother’s Guilt doesn’t tear my arm from its socket.

How am I ever supposed to concentrate when my thoughts are a labyrinth and David Bowie is orchestrating a musical number between my breaths? Do you expect me to be able to remember anything when time has gone all wibbly wobbly and nothing/everything makes sense?

I know there’s a name for this feeling of chasing my own words around in circles, a dog chasing its tail. For the way my feet and fingers and hands and body need to always be moving; the perpetual motion of my mind shoved down into my body before it overflows into SCREAMS.

I know there’s a name for this.

But that thought must’ve taken the one a.m. train to Phoenix. I guess I’ll see you when you get back. Have a nice trip.