Mind over matter

I haven’t written in weeks. I looked at the date the other day and realized that last time I posted to this blog was July 31st. I haven’t missed a month since I started writing just over two years ago.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t been writing.

I am nearly always writing.

I have taken copious notes on a daily basis, all in the name of creating a clear, concise dissertation outline. I have composed emails, written grocery lists, and the words of many, many stories of my own and a few from the women in my community of friends and family.

Just as I am always writing, I am nearly always in my mind.

These past few weeks, I have allowed the external locus to overwhelm my inner ‘scape. Vandals thrashed my car, and I battled with my auto insurance company. I received a quote for $3,500-4,000 for work on my house in Alaska, and I began contemplating trying to sell it so as to avoid the seeming inevitability of bankruptcy should any other repairs need to be done.

Each moment of every day seems to fill with unnecessary, mind-numbing, anxiety-riddled thoughts. And I cannot seem to escape them. They follow me everywhere.

When I finally fall asleep in the early hours of the morning, they are with me in my dreams. The finish is peeling off of my ukulele. The man I love is leaving me behind. People who have caused me pain are penetrating old wounds that have not yet healed.

I am consumed.

And I am tired.

A friend once told me that as long as I keep people who have wronged me in the past “in prison,” I am bound to the same punishment. I cannot leave until I let them go.

Letting go.

It is not a pastime that comes naturally to me. I collect rocks, leaves, feathers, shells—the stuff of the earth. I have piles of t-shirts and a collection of instruments, books, earrings, and an unwieldy tower of empty boxes filled with bubble wrap sitting idly and without purpose until a future time when yet another moving day should appear on the horizon.

I also collect worries and concerns deep inside. They pile up until they sit atop my tummy from the inside, causing pain in my chest and making it difficult to breathe.

Forget about sleeping.

The nights are long and disquiet.

I listen to the sounds of traffic, and somewhere in the dark recesses of memory remember a time when red-breasted sapsucker, winter wren, and rooster called me to rise in the morning.

I try to pay attention to the breath moving in and out of my nostrils. I try to conjure images of safe places where I feel happy and loved.

I roll onto my right side and prop my pillow up under my neck to try to ease the pressure on a shoulder that still pulses with the pain of old injuries.

I roll onto my left side and wrap my arms around a pillow shaped like an owl with buttons for eyes, the same pillow I held close to my chest as I stepped off a Cessna onto the airstrip in Gustavus just over two years ago.

I have been filling boxes with books to donate, and I started a pile that grows higher and wider with each item added.

I come home from work and watch episodes of “Lost.”

Nothing seems to help.

What am I waiting for?

Am I hoping I will magically learn to sleep again. I have been struggling with bouts of insomnia since I was a small child, when I would look at the clock each hour and tally how many hours of sleep I would get if I feel asleep at one, two, three in the morning.

I used to panic, worried that I wouldn’t survive the next day at school from lack of sleep.

Now, I am resigned, and tired.

At least, when I look out the window, I can see a moon with four beams of light escaping in four different directions.

I know I must let go, but I don’t know how.

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