This winter has kept me out of my skin. What I will remember are cold dark days, wet dark days, sometimes sunny dark days and me unable to rest or find a pause of restfulness in them. Being in my body has been shall we say a challenge. Panic, panic attacks are inane words of my state. I describe it as my days of un rest.
Unsafe. It can happen on the brightest of days and moments. The girls watching a sitcom, I am cocooned against their bodies, I close my eyes and I wake up scared. Their warmth and laughter and the evening dark gathering in the air outside cannot protect me from myself. Three girls, how I had kept them safe within me.
The biggest danger in my bed. It is my bed. A generous California king that can hold if needed a family of five and their dog. It leans against the window and light pours in on some winter days and tries to warm me. Or is it warn me? It, the bed, warns me to jump out of it and run. Flee like it is about to be bombed or mobbed taking me with it into a fire.
There is no fire. I know. I can see. It is a simple room. A bed side table on one side with my books and a clock, some medicine bottles, a pair of spectacles, a lamp. On the other side, my husband’s side table covered in his language learning books and wires and gadgets. On the ground near it always discarded clothes that he has stepped out of as he steps into the ones he will wear into the world. He makes it look easy. This stepping into the world. A cozy intimate bedroom one would say. Why, even I would say it.
My body does not let me rest in the room or in the bed. Especially during the day. At night I take a bunch of herbs to soothe and relax, ashwagandha and passion flower and HTP5 and sometimes a xanax or a melatonin. Passion can happen on that bed. In the dark. In the day it could have been a tent in a war zone, the way I flee it. Rest is for the wicked.
Could be that my work these days is all about mining my dark and that of the dark stories/myths apparently lit with the light of ancient wisdom and goodness. I have found hiding within them the darkness of subservience and obedience and coercion that we have been taught since the time we have been born. Sita the queen, Sati the goddess, see how they shine as they burn. You are not a good girl. See how you don’t shine.
I have come downstairs now to the couch in the living room. It is bright orange. More home furnishings meant to comfort and hold a family. Cushions, chairs, tables, a TV, musical instruments, photos laminated and framed, a piano, the back-greying dog sleeping on the purple bean bag, one eye always open like me, the remote near my feet urging me to give it up and watch something.
Noting. That is what my therapist had once told me to do. Note what is in the world around you. Make that safe corner in your home. So I try. There is a brown harmonium with a broken glass frame, a statue of dancing Shiva who went mad after his wife committed sati and he almost burnt the world down with his anger, children’s books and yoga books topsy turvy on dvds that line a shelf. Keeper of Lost Cities and Harry Potter with Anatomy of Hatha Yoga. The dvds reflection of a home I tried to make in foreign land. Bollywood movies and Bengali movies. Lagaan, Queen, Swades, Dangal, 3 Idiots, The Lunchbox. More.
Noting. I ate too much this morning. Sometimes I do it even before I think or know the fear is near. My stomach always seems to know and feeds me in anticipation. I cannot digest the eggs and nuts. The sun is in and out of the window.
The dog is having a nightmare. He barks under his breath in his sleep and breathes in deeply. The sun continues to come in and out from whatever clouds are in the sky today and my face moves from light to shadow with it. I continue to note. Maybe it will be enough for today. Sit still through the light and the dark. Brave.