#relatable (pt.2)

June 29, 2016

“Is everything okay?”

The computer glitched and broke up the sentence but I heard it. I watched my face on the screen split into a smile, a deceiving scar. Confused, he asked again. In that moment I had to choose whether a wall comes down for him or not. It’s funny. How would I concisely summarize everything? What if they’re not actually worth the amount of grief I’m going through? He doesn’t want the whole story; why is he asking again?

“No, but I will be.” The wall stays up.

I deflect. “But is everything okay with you?” He had had a pretty rough day already and I did just drop some heavy stuff on him. Planning a trip is hard and I messed up big time. This time the stress was in his tired voice. I hate that I had something to do with it. He told me about his day, counting the “strikes” on his fingers as he berated himself. After offering the few unsolicited encouragements I could, he thanked me and I signed off abruptly.

He may not have a problem sharing, and I do appreciate that, but it’s a trust issue for me. I don’t trust myself to let him care about the issues that throw me off-kilter. He doesn’t get that part of me because he already has enough. You’ve done enough. This is as far as you’ll come.



June 28, 2016

“Are you okay?”

I heard the beginning of that question and immediately felt a knot clench in my chest. I don’t know why but it felt more like an accusation than concern. Quickly (almost too quickly) I laughed it off. “I’m just tired, but you must be too.” The fatigue showed in his face in that harsh, unforgiving light as I’m sure did mine. The stress was in his rumpled collar and I wanted nothing more than to iron it, but I was a million miles away. I didn’t want to tell him, mainly because my insecurities make me believe he doesn’t actually want to know and my issues are too much for most, such as they are. In fact, it’s hard for me to tell anyone what has been going on.

The simple truth is it’s easier for someone to empathize when the experience is relatable. One finds one has the ability to endure the verbal onslaught of a tsunami of emotions when one can relate to the struggle. Another dimension of this is the comforting/affirmation phase of listening. It’s awkward when you want to console someone or offer advice but can’t because it’s not something you’ve previously experienced or had to deal with. But that’s really only applicable to the emotionally immature. My point is, venting can be a burden.

I know I have good friends I can call out to for help, but sometimes you get so beaten down that you need someone to reach out to you or just sit in the muck with you. But it’s never fair to expect that from your friends, is it? So perhaps some things you really do need to battle alone. Because you’re just too tired, sad, afraid, and hurt. I don’t know. Maybe that’s what being an adult means. I can’t say I appreciate him asking but it made me realize that no, I am not okay. I am all sorts of anxious greys and sad blacks. My heart is withering and stiffening and it’s downcast where I hide.

I will be okay, eventually.

I hope it’s soon.

I don’t want to be sad anymore.

Photo by Yacine Hichri, CC BY 2.0 Part of my hospital chaplaincy duties is to write a reflection on how it’s going. Identities may be altered for privacy. All the writings are here. — I did my firs…

Source: Resilient and Fragile: To Rise and Fall, In Reverse and Farewell

June 1, 2016

And into the great chasm she cried, “See me, find me,” before turning back the way she came. Pointless, as usual, which in a word is called insanity.