Under Covers

24 12 2012

What holiday inspired blog post would be complete without a dash of ironic melodrama? Not this one! That’s for sure.

I was sick this week. Well, not really. I said that I was sick so that I didn’t have to go to work. But as seven rolled into noon, from the comfort of warm bed covers, I thought, maybe I am sick.

I wasn’t contagious, but my silent revolt from work and worry alarmed me. What am I doing?

Struggling to manage several writing projects, holiday events and fussy clients, I was so buried in frustration and Scrooge-like feelings toward the season, that I was now hiding from my cell phone yelling annoying melodies at me from under the pillow. The anonymous phone numbers flashing across the screen felt like strangers attacking and I was paranoid. They’re all trying to get me! So, I slept.

I slept for two days, and on the third day I forced myself up, tried to caffeinate my mood and headed back to work with apprehension, uncertainty and guilt that I had lied. I still don’t know precisely what caused my personal incarceration.  I even began to think I really was getting sick, but like my paranoia, it was all just a dream.

Some people struggle to deconstruct their stress. Mental breakdowns are socially uncomfortable and marginalized by people who appear to have their shit together. The truth is, we’re all stressed out to various degrees of insanity and paralysis. I take everything too personally, I take myself way too seriously, and my work is often the only thing that matters — causing a kind of blindness that hurts those closest to me. And when something doesn’t work out, if my efforts to provide perfection are capsized in the storm, I feel like my entire world is collapsing. My body shuts down, I can’t think clearly and all I want to do is isolate myself from people. It’s a very real and very tangible reaction to stress.

Luckily I have moments of unbelievable clarity. I feel blessed to have gained introspection that allows me to see the world in dimensions, casted by shadows and light through a symbiotic relationship that forever keeps the world turning round and round and round. It reminds me of that kid from American Beauty, watching that dumb plastic bag dance in circles on the wind.

Ricky – “It’s like God is looking right at you, just for a second. And if you’re careful, you can look back.”

I’ve seen incredible beauty in this world, more regularly than I can ever remember standing in the dark. When the shadows take over, I hide in my bed until I can’t bare it any longer; I step out into the sun, just hoping that I don’t get burned, and sometimes I do.

Sometimes I’m on fire, everything is going my way, my head begins to swell with pride and personal satisfaction, and I get totally burned. I fall down, I hide and I cry. And just when everything seems lost, I’m cooled by the shade. I find clarity in the brilliance of night skies, standing next to the ocean, guidance from those who share this struggle.

I live with an anxious drumbeat that pounds out a cadence pushing me faster and harder, and it never stops. And in the wake of this intense rhythm, I fall apart, stay alone in bed for days, hide and rise to thank the universe for affording me the kind of human circumstance that allows me to do this with absolutely no consequence.

I am thankful for those shadows that keep me strange and attract dark thoughts on the brightest days. They are the reason I find love and beauty in a world that at times pushes me to maddening bouts of hysteria. It makes me sad to think that my experiences happens to other people. What’s worse, that those people would rather ignore the internal fire than find refuge in the truth. Were it not for the polarizing effect of this discomfort I would inevitably miss those subtle nuances in life that evoke the best of me, the parts that make me want to connect with others these shared experiences that all too often are left untouched and unloved. I enjoy the broken, the sick, the strange and the struggle, and I will continue to keep my eyes open for plastic bags catching the wind as I prepare myself to get swept up by the season and the coming new year.

I know my character can be challenging for those who seek comfort in normalcy, but my intentions are good and I promise to always do my best. To my friends and family who love me unconditionally from under the bed covers, thank you for letting me be who I am without apology. Often the uncomfort I feel is merely a reflection of the amazing things happening around me: the love and compassion of my closest friends, being acknowledged for a job well done, the sun setting just behind the cliffs as purple and pink flash into twilight — I’m just struggling to take it all in.

whitney butlers blog

Ricky – “It’s like God is looking right at you, just for a second. And if you’re careful, you can look back.”

Jane – “And what do you see?”

Ricky – “Beauty.”

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4 responses

26 12 2012
BobbyRod

Amazing, friend. Thank you for sharing!

28 12 2012
josephcrotty

This is beautiful!

28 12 2012
Whitney Marie Butler

Thanks for reading friends:)

4 02 2014
WWJD? No, seriously. | Whitneybutler's Blog

[…] I’m not a religious person, I have at one time or another been so moved by beauty that I can hardly breath. I’ve tried to write about it, but like faith, it’s something that […]

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