Those of us who have come from broken homes, or have loved someone effected by addiction, know only to well the enormous pain of fear and heartbreak.
It is easy to lose oneself when facing such overwhelming emotions.
Over time you begin to change.
It starts with simple things like your smile. It wobbles on your lip, no longer reaching your eyes.
The tone of your voice changes, becoming harder, sharper and more shrill.
Your words change too, as they fall from your lips, a broken mass of accusations.
Peace of mind is no longer available. Instead your brain races from thought to thought, each more alarming than the last.
Other family members become neglected. After all, they’re doing ‘fine.’
You say yes, when you mean no and then get angry when someone calls you out on it.
Everything becomes a chore. You no longer find joy in the little things you once did.
You feel alone and misunderstood.
You’re exhausted upon awakening and sleepless at bedtime.
You wonder if you’re going crazy, or going to die.
Tension is a constant companion. You develop high blood pressure.
People notice the change and speak to you about it. You don’t listen. Secretly you resent their intrusion.
You’re job is effected, and so is your marriage.
You’re isolated, but don’t really mind. Relationships with others requires an energy, you no longer have.
You live in darkness and despair, existing in a world of what ifs and if onlys.
Then one day you look in the mirror and no longer recognize the person looking back at you.
As you stand staring at your reflection movement quickens within.
Who is this bitter, negative, person? Where did I go?
A sense of longing and grief wash over you.
You stand alone on the edge, wondering…. Should I jump?
At this moment a word from another place resonates. It is quiet and precise and you hear it clearly.
Don’t, it whispers.
Something bigger than you breaks wide open and you begin to understand, you’re not alone.
You never really were.
Relief courses through you. Plump, satiny tears, wash away years of toxicity built up around your heart.
You fall to your knees, your hands curling in your lap.
Mumbled, incoherent words, tumble from your lips.
A soft, gossamer-like cloak, enfolds you.
You are comforted by it’s presence.
You rise, stronger and wiser than before.
The decision to live rather than to merely exist, is acknowledged.
A visible trace outline is all that remains of the woman you just were.
You still see her there, on the floor, as she lies on the cooling tiles. Her shape no longer fitting yours.
A final glance in the mirror brings back an old friend.
One you haven’t seen in many years.
You watch her smile, her eyes big and round and filled with hope. A tear escapes one corner and she laughs, suddenly free.
The very thing she’d been afraid to do, now gave her the strength to do it.
Resilient and courageous, she is home.
No longer afraid to feel, she walks away free.