In the Deep End

I had to wear gloves again yesterday while walking with E. and Leonard. But the maples were showing off good-sized buds. E. said it is time to start putting seeds into the earth. But first I need to clear out the dead branches from last year. I need to buy a new top for the one little greenhouse that caved in under the snow sometime in February.

Then I have to read up on what’s to be done with the perennials I’ve planted in the yoga room. Sweep the mats and light the candles and remember that everything is going to be okay. Things could not be better situated “lagt til rette” to be… okay. But despite the well-intentioned platitudes people pass around social media, gratitude is not a fix for mental illness. You can’t “grateful” your way out of bipolar genetics.

I think I tried that. Every morning I meditated, I focused on loving kindness, on gratitude until this big ball of love swelled like a balloon, until it burst. That rubber, silicone – whatever – hurts like hell when it snaps back on your fingers and the world gets ugly.

It’s ironic that I had been focusing all year on the middle path. But I am finding it again, because nothing is permanent, and everything changes and I am not who I was a year ago, not who I was three months ago. It is only natural I should find it again – if only by accident in wandering.

If I could I would stay in this little bibliotekette, in the studio upstairs, in my yoga room and never leave the house but for runs along the trail and in Njåskogen‘s spongy underbrush. I find myself watching the clock and counting down until I have to get to the train station, and to the school, to the classroom. I fight the pinch instead of just relaxing into the discomfort.

I feel like a kid at the edge of the swimming pool. I have dived in before, I know it’s fine. You know – not like on an overcast and humid day when the water is almost the same temperature as the air – but on a hot day, when the water is cold. But you’ve had to shower first because of public pool rules, so you are shivering and your teeth are chattering and you know that once you’re in the water – in a half a minute or less – you’ll be warm again. Still… You can’t force yourself to jump in. Something in your brain says it’s a very bad idea.

At the beginning of this school year the teachers tried virtual reality. It was a problem that had the user walk a plank out the window of skyscraper, hundreds of meters over a busy city street. I was intellectually aware that it was not real. However, another part of my brain was telling me this was wrong – my whole body was telling me this was wrong. I couldn’t see any point in overriding a self-preservation instinct that is there for a reason, that is working well.

Going to work shouldn’t be like walking a plank high above a city street. I shouldn’t feel like my job requires me to be one of the flying Wallendas. But I am having a difficult time finding perspective. I can’t write more about this: confidentiality clauses and such.

So instead I will say that at home life it good. Painting, writing, reading, learning new skills. There is a balance to be had. I know this.

I need to wriggle out of the time-out corner and be okay again. Okay. Right. And. Yep. Okay. (Can you hear my teeth chattering?)

earth worms abandoned
half-eaten on the asphalt –
Spring’s little singers are full
as old, full throat-ed mezzos
and their conflicted, dark arias


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