I like to call it “the heavy.” It is this deep loneliness. When it hits, it feels almost impossible to shake.
Today there was a heaviness in the air, a sort of heaving cough that the universe just couldn’t seem to get over. Everywhere I looked things were a little less shiny, a little more tattered and a little unevenly worn.
It was one of those days when the world just seemed to need a break. It needed a vacation from its usual schedule of up, running and sparkly, and I thought maybe it was trying to tell me that I could use one too.
I tried everything in the book to get my happy face back on, but today it just wasn’t coming.
Days like today were meant to be wrapped up in warm blankets, stroked and sung lullabies, too. Days like today were not meant to be confronted nor concurred.
Sometimes I think there is a universal pain pit that we mistakenly drop ourselves into; the name I have given this is “the heavy.” It is the experience of a certain kind of bada** aching.
I am not sure at what point in my life the heavy first showed up. It may have been after my first heartbreak, or maybe it came with the experience of my first big loss. It is like a feeling of a hole that is scooped out inside of us after someone we love leaves.
But, maybe I met the heavy way before that? Maybe it started when I first left the stars and planted my lungs down here on this earth. Maybe it started way back before even that, at the beginning of time? Now that I think of it, I remember it from when I was in the womb, when the realization hit that I would soon be a separate piece from my mother.
No matter when it truly began, the missing that has never fully gone away was now again fully here.
By now, similar to an old habit, the heavy was like a deeply carved route my soul liked to wander. My feet had memorized each stepping stone, groove, dip and turn, leading to the spot in me that always seemed so bittersweet.
My soul went walking early this morning to meet this lonely lover, when it was still dark, several hours before the sun or I had risen. It must have found its way there by touch alone. The stones it passed were probably slippery and the grass still wet underfoot with dew. It was certainly led there by its recollection of a thousand similar trips before.
How the heavy got to this spot inside of me, I am not sure. How it became this place of great yearning and earnest longing also remains unclear.
Could it be what some mystics were saying, that this aching within was actually the call from a divine?
Days go by without the thick weight of it, sometimes even weeks, but eventually it re-finds me or sometimes, admittedly, I go out to re-find it.
I have tried to cover over the heavy before with lovers, friends, food, wine and cigarettes. Now that I am a bit older, I just like to watch how it comes and it goes. How the aching of it and for it increases and then dissipates. I used to be scared because I thought it might become a constant, but now I know like all other things the heavy has its own way of flowing.
Tonight I surrender to it. I wrap myself up, just like I had done with the day, in warm blankets. I begin to stroke my hair with my hand and I repeat a lullaby I recall from when I was small.
I like to face the loneliness now, instead of trying to escape from it. It is easier this way, and since I am a bit older and my body is a little creakier, I gave up running last year.
The heavy and I are staying in tonight.
This evening we are curling up on the couch together with a hot cup of tea. I will watch it closely, how it rises and falls so beautifully inside of me. We will take this little vacation that the world has been hinting I needed, together. For if in fact this aching is a call from the divine, I want all my lines open to receive what she has been waiting to say.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Toby Israel