the pit

“My only advice: stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it.”

-Judy Blume

It’s so dark down here. And cold. It’s dank, in some cases rank, and to be perfectly frank… It’s a pit. It’s THE pit. And it’s all there has ever been, in the whole of my thoughts and my raw emotional instability. It’s where I belong, and where I must stay for the countless hours that drag by in a place they call “life.”

I curl into a ball. I need to feel smaller, to feel like less of a target, to hide. I lay on the chilled, uneven ground, my head resting on my hands. The first tear rolls across the bridge of my nose and drops onto the back of my hand. The only warmth I’ve felt in how long? More tears follow, but the warmth of them is fleeting. The vines slither and wrap themselves with a gentle squeeze around me, almost a comfort in their persistent hold. In this persistent place. I am reminded once again there is no recourse from the pit. It simply is.

I hear something faint, almost imperceptible, coming from above. I look, and see the gray cloud-covered sky. There is no sun, no more warmth above than below. It’s a long and steep climb, with barely any footholds. Certainly not worth the effort, when laying here in the cold darkness has become commonplace. I hear the noise again, and am annoyed and frustrated. I hold onto myself tighter and squeeze my eyes shut, allowing more tears to escape and add to the musty nature of my predicament.

A ray of light enters the pit. At least, it would seem so, as it’s in stark contrast to its surroundings. I raise my head again, wearily, and peer up through squinted eyes at a sky whose clouds are just beginning to break. I hear something again… is it laughter? As I shift myself to see more clearly, I realize the vines are quite brittle when their strength is tried. Was it ever warm up there?

The walls of the pit are slimy, slippery with the murky residue of my mind. I find a place to grab on, it seems almost secure. Slowly, slowly I keep reaching up, dragging my feet to find purchase amongst the rot. The clouds continue to dissipate, as slowly as I climb.

I stretch out, releasing from myself, and my feet nestle softly next to my husband. He absently massages my foot. My children are laughing at a joke he’s made about some show on the TV. There’s a lazy game of Scrabble on the coffee table. I’ve not been here. How long was I gone?

I let my fingers run along the side of the couch, feeling the rough seam. The faint smell of dinner is lingering in the air. Did I eat?

It’s becoming more clear. It really is warmer up here. How could I have forgotten? I lay along the edge, watching the joy, the laughter, the Love. I pray that I don’t fall back into the pit too quickly, that I remain in the sun – although it’s the contrast that raises my gratitude higher. For now, I am here. There are no vines encircling me, only Love.

I stretch out again and switch the foot that my husband is massaging. He looks at me and smiles. I am here.

“I wish someone had told me this simple but confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.”

– Jenny Lawson

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