Shelter in peace

by Kat

The girl who sits before you contains multitudes — feeling far too old to be this young. I’m getting used to this back-and-forth dialogue. That lives in present, past — where trauma echoes and hope lives. I contain bunkers and bomb-shelters, yet another reminder to self, “You are good; this is just hard.”

The coffee on the table nearby is steadying in this fog. Chairs find their way — just close enough to read text and expression of this twice-a-week narrative.

There is shelter in this place, a room contained by time and affirmations of feeling. Of belief. There is a peace in just enough questions when answers would be too easy to explain away. Sometimes why’s don’t help. I am living in the how.

Blue would be too obvious — an explicit expectation for a calm that makes no fucking sense. So the room settled for shades of green and grey-near blue. The sunlit boxes are my favorite. This space contains a multitude of words. Feelings identified in the expressions her body makes — pain, tension, pain. I thank my body for giving voice to what I’m learning to name. Sometimes simpler words leave me as my anxiety rises — a friend’s name… I’m sitting in a — oh, chair.

I apologize to my body for what she understands far too well. Pause for breath before the words flood this box of stories. Sometimes the best I can do is describe the inexplicable. There are no why’s; the how’s and when’s and what’s ache with a body who knows more than I do.

Present tense — wrist aches, shoulders in and of pain. All I have are these words — sometimes I cannot say them aloud without brain and heart attempting an exit. Leaving my body and pounding through my chest.

I’m learning to feel things in real time. My feelings are returning slowly — anxiety felt, disorienting, but recognizable. Anger is a cloud of words, tone questioning this nonsense that she keeps happening. Sadness is a relief away — she comes so briefly. Only when I’m safe enough to mourn. I sit in a chair beside her; trying to explain what I don’t understand myself.

There’s validation in being told I am real, seen, that the lists holding me together are working and it is a feat of bravery to hide, to ignore phone calls, to grieve a storm that hasn’t passed entirely.

Vibrant metaphors find a home here — in this holding space — banking, castles, shelters, waves — then plain words — I hate that this keeps happening. This hurts. Why do I have to be so strong? There are no answers, only the safety found in an expression of kindness, of surprise.

I don’t know what normal is anymore. I suspect she doesn’t either. I find shelter in stories of becoming and sometimes being with is just enough.

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