When we’re cut by glass
“Tell me a story, and I’ll be your friend.
Can’t give you forever, not even a weekend.
Let’s make this the last time now I play pretend for you.”
If It Makes You Feel Better by Kyra
Years ago now on a morning when I was interviewing community educators, someone asked me if my work as an advocate made me happy.
I made the judgment call to answer honestly and said no, not because I don’t experience fulfillment, but because it’s not a question I’m oriented to in the way the question intended.
I experience three emotional states in subsequent percentages.
Most days, I experience about 70% suicidal ideation.
The remaining percentage is split between two things: 15% a sense that children and youth connect to me positively, and 15% a sense that the work I have gifts for is important.
It just so happens that 30% of me has the strongest hold, and the most intimacy with my relationships, especially that with my body.
Yesterday I was at the park with a friend visiting from out of town, and she sat down to sun bathe below the swing set. As I joined her down there, moving my hands back on the turf, my finger grazed a shard of glass.
Calmly I just looked at her and asked, “can you pull the glass out?”
I walked over to the water fountain to clean the quickly forming pool of blood, and as I rinsed it the pressure of the water increased the amount of blood flowing from my pinky.
In this space that felt too familiar to encourage a scan of our environment, and an otherwise random bit of luck, something jolted us to keep from getting complacent.
The two bandaids that fit into my wallet were put to good use.
As I stare at my fingers now three out of five are bandaid covered as they turn over an obsidian stone.
Obsidian is known for absorbing energy, particularly traumatic energy, and it gives a place for storing feelings and their residue.
It provides a kind of finger pacing, moving between fingers the way legs walk back and forth across hallways and corridors and stairwells.
There’s a calculus to how we enter and exit moods that doesn’t make for good math.
More often it’s theatrical, arranged as a stage director might direct, annotating on the edges.
The rhythm of how our emotions reveal information to us is jagged and cavernous, and it harkens to one volunteer’s sincere question of my happiness.
When I think about life I can’t commit to one feeling, because if I did that would leave me less aimless than numb.
Numb is how I spent my teenage years. It’s how I entered into my discernment, which necessarily put an end to how long numbness could guide me in arguably an emotional discipline.
One where our senses best tell us what mood takes hold of us in any one space or presence.
One where that mood isn’t revealed by someone else’s mood, though they do and will blend.
There’s a disjointed character to any care work, positioning information that includes more than our internal feedback.
Like a body it doesn’t track time, it tracks amount, and not even partitioned amounts. What we feel is the cumulative, never the genesis or revelation or joy alone. We feel everything we could feel, and search a lot of times in vein for where to lay it down.
I wonder sometimes if random acts like being cut by glass aren’t actually incidental, but are how our environments call us back to release.
Breaths we haven’t exhaled.
Laughter that we don’t have energy for.
Exhaustion that’s become boredom.
Sunbathing when it’s more overcast.
Pacing that no longer is fast enough to do anything substantial.
Objects that fit into our hands a deceiving high amount, playing tricks on our eyes but not our hearts.
Small enough to fit in our palms, which have a direct line to our heart chakras.
Textured enough to be more than one thing. To be everything if we need it to, and less when we need that too.
To be pure feeling, or paused feeling, or an aura of the space and company were in.
The impulse to alternate being allowing blood out, and putting pressure to stop it is one I haven’t mastered, but it is one I trust to fluctuate.
With my mood.
With my advocacy.
In my relationships.
In my attachments.
In my perception.
Tuning in happens in iterations, and the boundary setting is not obvious to me.
What it is instead is fluid.
Responsive to information I hold onto while I look for an outlet for what’s not meant for me.
Our emotions may not give us a full picture, but they give us part of it.
Even if all that is can’t be felt as words, felt by others, or sensed by us alone.
“Let’s make this the last time now I play pretend for you.”