I am a house on fire.

I’m eating again. My nightly cocktail of sleep meds allows me a few hours of rest. I take my medicine every day. I force myself to do chores and keep up with my inbox at work. I signed up for a membership at a fancy yoga studio. I go to the gym. I go to the grocery store. I cut back on my drinking and smoking. I document my little wins on the notepad in the kitchen. I see friends. I make plans for the future. I take myself on day trips up the coast and spend hours combing the beach for rocks and shells. The tide pools soothe me. I seek out calm. My razor is single-purpose again. My nervous system is still adjusting to this shift away from chaos. I’m hopeful that my overworked brain will follow in suit. Everyone seems to watch me closely, prodding me along on this odd journey of forced healing. My friends tell me to stop making jokes about killing myself. I think this is fair. It’s been a hard year. Everything inside of me feels like it’s been picked up and violently shaken before being put back down.

I thought about praying the other day. I gave up on God years ago but to offload my troubles to an entity in the sky sounds luxurious. I want to sit in the calm presence of blind faith. I want to drop to my knees on the sun-soaked earth and weep, letting my tears turn to streams that give life to flowers. I want to know that my pain is worth something. I thought I could play with fire but instead I scorched myself. I think of the monks who set themselves on fire and meditate as they burn. I did not go down so gracefully. I am the old Victorian down the block that caught fire in the night and was left with nothing but an exterior. I am still choking on the smoke, rubbing the ashes out of my eyes.

I looked in the mirror today and the woman who stared back looked so lonely. I stroked her cheek, wishing I could hold her and make her whole again. I scroll through photos of myself from this time last year. I miss her. I want her back. I think she had goals and dreams that were bigger than just being loved but I can’t quite remember these days.

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