It’s the second day of the year.

It’s the second day of the year and, despite my best wishes and most secret hopes, 2016 has not started off very well. But as I decided yesterday, I have two big goals for myself this year: to write at least 100 words every day, and to be unapologetically myself for once in my life. So with those goals in mind, let me tell you about today. (See post tags for content/trigger warnings.)

It’s the second the day of the year and I did not go to sleep until the sun started peeking through the blinds in my bedroom, sometime after 7AM, after wrestling with my own head all night. This is not new–it has been happening for a little over a week now. The problem isn’t that I can’t sleep (although that’s not easy in this cocoon of self-loathing) but what happens when I do: vivid nightmares that are just as awful when I can’t remember them as they are when I can. Once the sun is out, the world seems less frightening, and sleep is slightly easier and much more inevitable. The problem, really, is that sleep is fitful and interrupted and so I end up lying in bed for entirely too long and then the day is gone–I end up venturing out of the room at some point in the late afternoon, when the sun has been chased away again. And so my sleep schedule is fucked, and the nightmares are back, and I know exactly what’s happening to me (again).

It’s the second day of the year and I woke up in the afternoon after the sun had left again, remembering that four years ago today I woke up next to someone who didn’t love me, wouldn’t love me, couldn’t love me–and I told myself it was enough because I was tired of being lonely. I remembered that even as the relationship devolved into a relationshit and got abusive I told myself that it was enough and it was fine and that I knew what had happened last time I’d broken up with someone  and did I really want to be alone again for four more years? (HA.) And then I remembered that I broke up with him six months later, and that the stalker-y aftermath of the breakup lasted so much longer than that–and that even now hearing his name brings all of it back as if time hadn’t passed at all.

It’s the second day of the year and, as I wrote the date on a letter I began writing but will not send, I remembered the Christmas cards and Chanukah missives and hand-written letters that I painstakingly prepared weeks ago and that now blink at me accusingly from the bottom of my purse. I remembered all of the unsent messages on my phone, and the drafts in my email, and the speeches I meant to call to deliver but never did. The distance between me and the people I love has grown increasingly vast over the past year, and a big part of it is that my social anxiety has reached level 49 (no, really, my SPIN test said 49 and that’s 93% higher than the rest of the population, apparently, and only 2 points below “very severe”). I realized then that this spiral has been a long time coming but that I have grown so very, very adept at fooling even myself.

It’s the second day of the year and I spent a large part of it hiding behind my own hair, mentally playing out elaborate fantasies in which I blinked myself out of existence. The roots have grown in from the fire ombré I tried in July because I thought that, if my hair was more vibrant, it would be easier for me to feel sunnier. While I did love my fire hair, it mostly reminds me of going on that one date with that one guy (“I’ve got the fire hair, you can’t miss me”) who ghosted shortly after. And now that the roots are in, greasier and kinkier and darker, I’m wondering what I would look like if I let it grow out, gray hairs be damned. After all, I’ve just got a few grays in the front and they are more silver than anything else, sparkling against the dark, mousy brown like they’re waiting for their time to shine. I wonder if I will find myself, Leiram or Eliava or what have you, under the eight years of hair dye.

It’s the second day of the year and I am remembering, slowly and painfully as if I were to call the phone of someone who is gone, that getting better is a journey and depression is not a dragon you slay once and then pass into legend. It is a hydra–and the heads I cut off last year have come back in pairs, each one bringing a friend (anxiety) as they set up residence in my head. But then I remember that I did cut off those heads that, for months and months although I was struggling with life much more than in many other years, I was actually better. I wanted to wake up in the morning. I started loving my job again. I started feeling useful and worthwhile again. I saw glimmers of myself in the mirror, of the self that I have been striving to be for 26 years.

It’s the second day of the year and, even though everything hurts right now and all I want to do is disappear, I know that there will be a third, and a fourth, and however many days more for me to live–and that not all of them will look like today, dark and damp at the bottom of a hole.

Im yirtzeh HaShemsi Dios quiere–God willing.


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