The Darkness Where Healing Begins

I slept 34 minutes, this morning. After a restless night of trying to force myself asleep, I complied to my body’s awakeness. Instead of dreaming I thought about the Rosemary Carmel latte I would indulge in at a local coffee shop here in town. As 11 o’clock and midnight rolled around, tears started to fall down my face.

“Not again,” I said to myself. It was like this dark monster had filled my room and was about to wrap its hands around my neck. Insomnia. I have been here before. Last summer, I went without sleep for about two weeks and nearly killed myself. Before tucking myself into bed I asked my friend about holistic approaches for depression and insomnia, she gave me great suggestions that required too much energy for my desperate want to go to sleep right then, but I promised to give them a go the next night. As midnight rolled around I began regretting my lackluster attitude on trying her tricks.

I sat up in bed, massaging essential oils in absorption spots.

Nothing.

I cracked and took my sleeping medication. It was my last resort, but I knew it would help.

When three-thirty rolled around and my alarm went off, I felt like a drug addict falling off of the wagon with no good coming out of it.

No sleep.

As I tossed and turned I wanted to call my best friend crying. I became scared by the fact that another year would be taken hostage by this depression and insomnia that lingered all of 2016. When I get into fits like this my mind likes to play the blame game; often I am the one to blame. “If you weren’t a bitch maybe your roommate wouldn’t have assaulted you.” “Maybe if you had your shit together, the man wouldn’t have assaulted you, giving your rib cage a stress fracture.” (Which reminds me I need another follow up appointment.) To detract from this game, I go somewhere else. I began to travel in my mind.

At first this substitute game would give me anxiety. I use to be the girl who traveled, but no more. What if I am too scared to ever leave my home again? But last night, it felt safe to travel. I asked myself, “where does healing take place?” Years ago, it would have been a foreign place where I knew no one. But last night, it was Idaho. With no rhyme or reason, Idaho just sounded peaceful. I began to wonder if sunsets were as scenic as the ones in Kentucky that I have been longing for. Truthfully, I don’t know much about Idaho except for the fact that my ex-boyfriend’s family lives there and I have seen some pretty beautiful pictures on Instagram. But I take comfort it not knowing; it allows me not to have any expectations. And it must be quiet enough if we aren’t always hearing about it.

All morning I was debating if the nausea was from not sleeping, the medication I took on an empty stomach or if the flu was settling into my system. Part of me was hopeful it was the latter, at least it would buy me a few days of rest. After negotiating with myself that the day was going to be okay and everything was alright, I was alright I found myself at work ready for the day.

A woman came in, earlier this morning. She works in the same school district I once worked at. We swapped stories and she mentioned her children. At first she looked at me with those sympathetic eyes that I have seen time and time before, “there is nothing for you here in this town, you need to leave.” Now of days, our tiny town has become so large, that the sympathetic eyes aren’t really comforting. They are more of a sign suggesting, “college is over, time for you to move on.” I began to feel defensive. What was up with all of these people suggesting I leave suddenly?

“I’ve thought about Oregon,” I admitted. Straight away she told me there wasn't enough job opportunity there and people go to Seattle anyway. My heart hunched inside, "hey lady, I am trying okay!" 

“I am waiting for him to make his move, I don’t want to decide,” I sheepishly joked it off. I felt the need to validate why I was staying. Embarrassed to explain any further, I felt her judgement. Only stupid girls put everything into the hands of a man. She didn't have to tell me that, I already knew and it made me feel little. But ... I wanted to tell her why. Again validating why. His hands seemed stable. They held my own many times. I trust him, in ways I have never trusted another human. If he decided, if he just pushes me along, then I will be okay.  I am too tired and too weak to do it myself.

She began to tell me about her kids growing up in Littleton, and how they were students when Columbine took place. Later she would suggest that her daughter didn’t begin healing until after she moved to Seattle, a few years ago.

“Recently I traveled to Idaho, and found the best town.” She said it in a way that was more of a suggestion than it was an offering of conversational exchange. “It is like from (this street) to (that street), a real nice homey feeling, with a beautiful scene.”

My heart leapt a little bit, Idaho.

This must have been a sign!

I confessed that I was up all night thinking about Idaho and how perfect it was she came in today. For the first time in a while, her suggestion of traveling felt comforting. Safe. So I asked her to write down as many details as she could, which included what airport to fly into.

We must have lost track of time talking, because she remembered she needed to get to the grocery store as she looked at her watch. Motioning towards the door I wanted to reach out and ask her to please stay, I was afraid I wouldn’t be brave enough to book the plane ticket if she left.

She looked at me one last time, “don’t settle. Remember there is so much to explore. Healing can be found anywhere. And you can always come back. You can always come back.”

Idaho, I am excited to meet you soon.