Bear Hugs

Sometimes my feelings float close enough to the surface that they slosh with each step. On these days, I have to hold myself very carefully when I walk. There will be spills anyway. Even moving slowly, there will be spills every other step.

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Sometimes I do not feel anything at all. You could send scalding hot coffee straight over my wrist, have it descend halfway up my arm, and still I would not feel a thing. Steady hands. Straight spine.

I don’t know which is more frightening: feeling or not feeling.

It is easier not to feel. It is horrible, to feel. Horrible, horrific. Horrifying. A, B, C. D: all of the above.

Feeling means feeling eyes — your eyes, they belong to you — welling up with tears. Yes, you un-invited them; yes, they are back again.

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Feeling means feeling about five years old, curled into a lowercase “c” on a bed you never want to leave, with your mom rubbing your back. Slow circles. Bump, bump, bump, over the bones. B is for bones.

When I do feel, it feels like this is a big bear of a thing.

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This being anorexia. This, stated by an angular, articulate woman with a lot more schooling than me.

This being anxiety. This being depression. This, being depression and anxiety, both. Printed in bold, this last one, on a sheet of paper I balled up and threw in the trash on the way out.

It doesn’t feel like any of those things, to me.

It feels like I don’t know whether it would be better to freeze — right now, where I am — or turn tail and run. Really run, as fast as I can. Over the river and through the woods.

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But do you know what it really feels like? Like I really wish I’d read the sign, way back in the beginning.

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I don’t know the way back. I honestly have no idea, how to get back. I was remembering the turns; then I wasn’t.

Left or right — what do you think? Or I could just wait right here. I could just wait right here for you to come.

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