Hot tears stream down your temples.
They run in a quiet yet small stream that remind you of riverbeds made of black Egyptian kohl eyeliner.
Your hot tears trickle onto your bed where you lie on your right side in the shape of an L, bent at your hip creases.
You are letting go.
You tell people that you are not a crier. You know that this only partially true and that we all cry, some of us just more—or less—willingly than others.
Ironically, you also consider yourself a fragile human being, but this fragility has encouraged you to move through your life with a nicely-built, thick shell—a shell that you falsely think is impenetrable to outside attack.
And you know that you are quite vulnerable in reality. Over time, you’ve encouraged yourself to drop your mask—watching it shatter and crack into fragments—only occasionally gluing it haplessly back together to don it once more.
You wear a mask of ego, of confidence and of an easy social butterfly—and sometimes you are these things—it’s not a mask, it’s the real you.
Your eyes are clamped shut and you hear a rustling at the edge of your bed where you still lie sideways in an L.
The soft whisper, whisper of movement is your tiny daughter as she comes in gracefully—delicately—to wave bye-bye to you before Daddy takes her to pre-school. The tears fall harder—now less of a quiet stream and more of a gathering storm.
You hear your husband in the kitchen, moving quickly and capably, to fill your last-minute request of child prep and school drop-off because your headache makes you feel that you cannot face the muted light of the cloudy day, much less the bright faces of other children and their bustling parents.
You’re thankful; thankful for a man who so lovingly steps in and for a daughter who, with your eyes re-closed, you feel gingerly brushing your hair for you—it’s a loving gesture from one female to another, even though one is only a girl of barely three.
You’re grateful for—no, mesmerized by—the old soul that inhabits a body of such miniature proportions.
She hugs you gently, and looks deeply into your wet eyes as she pulls away. She smiles and runs after her Daddy as he opens the front door.
The door shuts and you let your tears fall heavily onto your turquoise and rose-colored quilt.
This is the anatomy of letting go.
You saw your massage therapist yesterday and she released a spot underneath your shoulder-blade that you’re not sure has ever known relaxation—it’s uncomfortably close to your heart.
You drift into such a state of peacefulness that your skilled therapist notes your tranquility out loud. She tells you to stay there, so you do.
You observe later that the release has moved up from your shoulders—from the back of your heart—and into your throat.
Your throat becomes irritated and you lose your voice, much to the disappointment of your duet-loving daughter.
Still, you recognize that release—that letting go—isn’t meant to be comfortable.
You’ve held onto these emotions so forcefully that your muscles have knotted in places and your jaw can’t help but clench in your sleep. You dream of crumbling teeth.
And you slept well last night—much better than usual despite your aggravated throat—and you woke with a headache so fierce that you thought you might throw up.
Your head pounds while the space behind the back of your heart is strangely calm and still relaxed.
Your voice is still gone and there’s an enormous pressure between your ears, but you know that this is simply your clung-too past leaving your aching body.
You clumsily find your phone and call your doctor, making an appointment that gives you just enough time for a hot shower.
You know that she’ll most likely tell you that you have another sinus infection—you’re almost positive—and, yet, it doesn’t matter because you know that this is simply how it feels to let go.
This is the anatomy of liberation.
You pat your dripping hair with your warm blue towel after you’ve turned off the shower. You throw on your running clothes, not because you think you’ll walk or run in them today as normal, but because they—in their own funny way—are an armor of a different kind—one of health and wellness, of happiness and ease.
You know that your pounding headache won’t last forever, although it worsens when you bend over to tie your jogging shoes. You know that it won’t last forever because you’ve become both too tired and too strong to hold onto your suitcase of burdens anymore.
It’s now your turn to open the front door, and you look over your shoulder at your daughter’s pint-sized pink and white table and matching chairs.
You visualize her waving bye-bye and you do the same, and though your hand doesn’t move, you are saying good-bye—and you know that you’ve just made space to carry whatever lies ahead.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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