Monday, May 5, 2014


full of broken thoughts
i could not repair
 - from "hurt" by nine inch nails

that is anxiety. thoughts upon thoughts. never resolved but overlapping, evading, rising and falling like breath itself.

vagrant thoughts. deviants. pushers. peddlers. fools.

like an endless list of life's afflictions and joys, anxiety is a thing you can't understand unless you experience it. i began experiencing it in high school, though it took many years to discover the label that feeling would eventually have. ang-zie-uh-tee. the bully roaming the playground of my mind.

yesterday a friend said mantras saved her from a life of these broken thoughts. what's a mantra all about, i asked. this morning, while awaiting her reply, i attempted to define it in rough terms: a mantra is a succession/progression/repetition of words or sounds. i began today's blog with something of that sort, a verse from a song ... so maybe i do know mantra, in verse. verses often come to me serendipitously, it seems. i repeat them, in my mind, with my voice, through the speakers in my car. music so often leads me to write, and writing saves me.

if i could start again
a million miles away
i would keep myself 
i would find a way
someone recently told me i'm only concerned with taking care of myself. i had hurt him. he took a jab. i stood for it. maybe even deserved it. then a sucker punch: he said single motherhood was my "sob story." he didn't leave me an opportunity to recoil from that one, so, as i do with bruises, i pressed on that one over and over, contemplating the pain. after a few days, it came down to this: while his intention was pejorative, a product of his hurt, he had actually said nothing but the truth. single motherhood is a sob story—an experience worthy of tears. any woman who's gone through it would say the same.

i'm not only concerned with taking care of myself, i'm massively concerned with it. i accept this as not a flaw but a responsibility. i am the origin of all that emanates from me as a living being. everything i give and take in this life starts with me. and i've been given the most important reason to take care of me: my son. what i make of my life is what shapes his life. taking care of me is taking care of him.

and what about others? there are always others, you know. coming in and out of your life while you're trying to get it right. letting others into my world is like my dad mowing the lawn: when he comes across a rock, the blade either spits it out or he has to stop and throw it out of the way. either way, both the lawnmower and the rock are worse for the wear. i try—painstakingly, taunted by that relentless, second-guessing thief of joy, ANXIETY—to let others in. it's as hard for me as it is for them, except as far as appearances go, the hurt that stands out is theirs.

if sunday morning is easy, i'm monday morning when you've slept through your alarm. i'm  the one with that stupid, cliched "wall." me. i never would've thought, though all it takes is backtracking through the years of relationships with friends and family and acquaintances. the only way i manage this awareness is to match it with awareness: i can't hate me for being me. for every flaw i have, there isn't a solution<—epiphany, if there ever was one! when it comes to me + others, complication is a foregone conclusion. so the best i can hope to do is a sort of backwards golden rule: don't do unto others what has been done unto me: don't lie. don't evade. the rest will be ... will be.

hurt, like anxiety, is relentless. broken hearts and broken thoughts can't be repaired. and in this moment, i feel like saying so what. it's more important that we deal with what we have than to wish we didn't have it. my heart has been broken so many times. i recovered—not perfectly, but inevitably. my thoughts too have been crushed and smashed, by anxiety. so what. i have an endless supply of thoughts. some of them bigger and stronger than even that beast anxiety can conquer. that's why i'm here, writing. even a dark song by a dark guy like trent reznor can become my mantra.

i am still right here.