A Time to Grieve

It’s been a while since I’ve written. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything. Since my last post documenting my unconscious excursion into the night, I’ve been seeking unconsciousness as an escape from existence. On average, for the past several weeks, I have been sleeping at least 18 hours a day…usually more.

My physical health has decayed and even walking to the bathroom causes my heart rate to soar and my breathing to become labored. The 5 minute walk to the beach to see the sunset seems impossible now. While I have forced myself out of bed a handful of times with the intention of turning things around, I find the pull of gravity on my upright body to be insufferable when combined with the weight of my memories and the state of the present world around me. Without fail, I acquiesce to the desire to climb back under my covers and take shelter from reality. And, also without fail, sleep brings me the oblivious comfort that I need; a place to stay away from all that is real and unbearable.

I know this isn’t a good longterm plan. I’ve been honest with my psychotherapist about my escape into sleep and, while I can tell she is concerned, she has been graceful in letting me frame it in a “self care” narrative. And perhaps it is…even as unhealthy as it is quickly becoming for me. I have spent a lot of years fighting to survive this world in any way I can. From the young age of five years old, I have found this existence to be too much…too frightening and too heavy to withstand consciously. For the majority of my life, I found escape into other parts of my mind.

For over 45 years, I kept my eyes open in another person’s consciousness while I slept. In my efforts to fuse my broken mind back together, I’ve sealed off my traditional escape routes from reality and, like water, have found another. I’m grateful my therapist recognizes that shaming this new escape route would leave me with no options for survival…that I need time to adjust…that I need a time to grieve.

A time to grieve for the young child who was molested by someone she can’t quite remember, for the young girl who was raped by a stranger, for the teenager who has isn’t sure if she seduced her own father and for the adult who was slut shamed and became a slave to her own damaged sexuality and sense of self worth and dignity.

A time to grieve for the young girl whose mother called her “Big Dummy” and “hollow leg” and made her doubt her own intelligence and created a lifelong struggle with food addition and a distorted body image, for the teenager who tried to tell her mother about the men who had hurt her and was told she was seeking attention, for the young woman who embarked on a life of rebellion and addiction as armor against the impossibility of ever being enough while always being too much.

A time to grieve for the young woman who thought she could become the mother she always wanted but never felt worthy of the role, for the empty nested mother who recognized with excruciating clarity how far she’s fell short from goal of being a good mom and how her adult children struggle as a direct result of being raised by her, for the lonely old woman who spends every holiday alone in a life absent of the kind of family and belonging she always hoped to have someday.

A time to grieve a physical body that has only become familiar and precious after years of abuse, the lungs and airways so obviously ruined by the decades of smoking, the digestive system paralyzed after years of bingeing and purging to feed a hunger that couldn’t be reached, the arthritic joints and weak muscles that bear witness to their misuse and neglect.

A time to grieve the end of four marriages, the blur of the multitude of lovers, the betrayal of friendships, the misplacement of trust, the unfulfilled livelong quest for relation and belonging, the anguish of relentless isolation and loneliness.

A time to grieve a life that feels without purpose other than suffering and regret, a lifetime spent seeking career and connection only to end jobless and alone, an existence that cumulates into a seemingly endless series of meaningless days

A time to grieve the lost opportunities, the imprint of shame, the broken legacy.

A time to grieve the misfortune of being born.

A time to grieve being me.