The window was sealed almost permanently; hinges caked over with rust and dirt, glass obscured with cobwebs and stained with raindrops from last season’s monsoon. But she had been gasping for air too long and the supply of oxygen was frighteningly low and her throat was itching to the point of being raw and- she knew that inhaling rations of air in pitiful lungfuls would soon turn fatal. So she sucked in one last breath, formed a fist and smashed through the grimy glass that had kept out light and life for far too long.
One brave sunbeam burst into the room and swept the sinister shadows from each corner. A shriveled imp stirred suddenly and shielded its one good eye. Today, the characteristic glint of malice was absent from its eye; the sun’s glare had overpowered it completely.
And yet, it persisted…
“Not even that kind, selfless, deserving, intelligent…”
“Not today. Not ever. It’s time for you to go.”
The new year sat snugly in her pocket, with the reassuring weight of freshly minted coins, whose edges were sharp enough to leave small cuts in the flesh of her eager fingertips. She felt the impatient yet satisfying itch of a wound almost healed, the blood beginning to dry from her ashy knuckles.
Refreshed, relieved- she watched as the sickening imp half-crawled, half-dragged itself out of her prison turned sanctuary mumbling to itself: “Don’t linger too long in the shadows, I could be back before you know it…” Content, hopeful- she shrugged her shoulders and forced them back and out with much difficulty. After growing accustomed to the constant hunching and folding, the tendons were so sore that they stretched audibly and groaned their protest at this new, daring stance. She shrugged once more, and her shroud of expired hopes and stale regrets fell to the floor with the faintest rustling sound, like breeze through fine flamboyant tree leaves.
The new year rested lightly on the tips of her ears, the morning’s first wind chill nipping playfully at her flesh-Wake up! No more oversleeping for you! She brushed the sleep from her eyes and looked boldly into the sunlight, so bright it almost obscured her view of that mysterious beyond she had been aching for. The new year tickled the small hairs in her nose. It was almost irritating, this nagging anticipation and imminent newness…
The new year traced the straight lines of her jaw, and teased her sharp collarbones. Rejuvenated, alive at last- she set one shaky foot beyond the termite-ridden threshold and into the other side of tomorrow.
(In case it may seem familiar, the evil imp also made an appearance here: https://shewhowritesreality.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/the-last-affirmation/)
🙌 👑👑👑 #firstlady #amreezy #queenof #allthetitlesareyours #shewhowritesreality #imissyou 😝😘
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***In the spirit of “fresh starts” and finishing my master’s degree, here’s my first post for 2018. And if you have any connects with Sallie Mae, please let a girl know. Being a broke artist is only cute in novels and on TV.***
I’ve spent the beginning of this new year much like I spent the last few weeks of the old, fatigued, irritable, and most of all guilty and self-loathing for not being more grateful to be alive and mostly healthy. Whether one is a skeptic that enjoys pointing out that “the new year” is artificial and arbitrary, or a conspiracy theorist who thinks that the New Year’s fervor is manufactured by the calendar and gym industries to con people into spending money they don’t have, the yearning for a fresh start to avoid last year’s wrongs and hurts is almost inescapable. (I clearly haven’t left unnecessarily long sentences behind in 2017). This pursuit of newness is probably what fooled me into thinking that a different date would somehow provide some respite from a condition that I am still in the process of learning how to manage, and hopefully overcome.
I would love to focus this post on affirmative statements, on writing into existence things I would like to see happen over the next few months (figuring out a concrete post-graduation plan, preferably one that includes me living, working and writing in New Orleans), but positivity feels hazy and a little out of my reach at the moment. What I know for sure, is that I no longer have the desire or capacity to juggle other people’s emotions, and to help them painstakingly sort through their chaos while sinking in the middle of mine. I’m no longer interested in being anyone’s panic button, on-demand, therapist or cheerleader, nor can I continue playing mother to grown people when I can barely take care of myself on some days. I’m trying to be comfortable being someone who isn’t always available on the first ring or seconds after the latest text. My phone number cannot continue to be an emergency hotline that only works one-way.
I wish I could say all this is coming out of some re-dedication to caring for myself, but it’s really because “burnt out” has been my default state for months. If I may extend the metaphor a little too far, I would mostly be a pile of ashes at this point. I don’t think that I’m in any way more deserving of joy than the next person, but here’s to hoping that I can find a little more of it to write and to live this year.