Our back door is finicky.  Without finesse, it doesn’t latch properly, leaving room for our pup to nudge it open with her greyhound noodle nose.  Tonight, she did just that, but I have yet to close it back behind her.  There are moments, like the one I’m sitting with right now, that my senses bring me perspective.  I hear the wind, the leaves, the rain, the vehicles on the interstate behind us.  I feel the cool, damp breeze.  I smell the wet earth.  I see my fingers typing and the text showing up in quick succession.  I taste the cookies I bought from the girls outside the grocery earlier today.  I hear the clicks and tinkering of my husband in the loft above me.  I feel the heat of my laptop beginning to warm my thighs.  I smell the garlic, remnants of dinner, still lingering.  I see Bella, curled into her crescent roll pose, waiting for me to be done with whatever human thing I’m doing that prevents her from being the recipient of undivided attention.  I taste butter, oregano, tomato, onion, and ricotta.  It can feel like existing is an endless lesson in monotony and numbness.  Many of us learn to survive by being unaware, being moved by the force of expectations, obligations, and responsibilities.  When those movements seem to result in more heartache, learning not to feel is a natural response.  We often don’t have the option to be released from the demands of our daily lives.  Jobs must be worked because bills must be paid.  Alarms must be set because children must be fed.  When so little seems to be within our control, despite our best efforts, choosing not to feel is a way to find some autonomy, regardless of how healthy it may or may not be.  Many of us don’t choose this at all, but instead, our brains begin this process when we are young and we continue, unknowingly.  It’s not that we don’t have emotions or feelings or reactions.  It’s more that we just place them in a box in a closet in a room down the hall and to the left somewhere, often finding that box by accident later and imploding or exploding, because opening it left us to feel everything all at once.  Not wanting to feel emotions that big again, we get a bigger box, this time with a lock, and we try again.  But later, we find the key, we can’t remember what the key belongs to, so we adventure and the cycle continues.  It is too overwhelming to feel at times, but feeling is essential to healing of any kind.  Some healing is excruciating, unlearning and undoing and unwinding only to take raw heart flesh and stitch it again into something stronger.  Feeling small things, like letting myself be aware of my senses, is a step towards not being completely decimated by my closets and boxes and rooms through secret passages.  It takes courage to try again.  It’s far easier to throw a shirt into the garbage and buy a new one than to mend a hole.  Mending takes time and the adjusted product never looks the same, but it will never be the same after being ripped anyway.  With perspective, sometimes, I can see with more discernment what I’ve been tossing when I shouldn’t and what I’ve held on to, boxed away.  Then again, sometimes, I’m numb and that’s ok too.  One can only have so much discernment and perspective in a day.  Too much of it, and I’ll be locking myself into one of those boxes, lost in a loop of gray, because nothing ever really is truly black or white.


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