Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Anger I Had Thought Long Gone

Today my past and my present collided. In a seemingly innocuous request a co-worker asked me to look at a book and determine whether or not it would produce better results to scan the cover or take a photograph of the cover and then scan it. Knowing our VERY limited photography resources, I told her to scan the cover but to make sure and use some kind of de-screening option otherwise she would pick up the moiré / rosette pattern but asked to see the book anyway.

As she handed it to me I freaked out. I just started babbling incoherently. You see, my previous place of employment has published a book about its history, and somehow a copy of it made its way into the hands of my present company. As I realized that today I would have to confront better-left-untouched emotional baggage a slow burning started in the pit of my stomach. I was suddenly very hot, I was flushed, my pulse began to increase and I began to feel slightly dizzy. Now normally these are all signs that my body is about to feel really amazing however today it was quite the opposite. And, as my mind likes to go zig-zagging ‘round the world, it’s a subject I would like to give some thought.

Fight or Flight

It’s an interesting phenomenon. When face-to-face with an uncomfortable situation we have two choices: fight or flight. For most of my life I must confess to choosing flight only to then spend hours ruminating on how I could have fought. When it came to family I mostly chose “flight” because it was easier to get out of the uncomfortable situation by simply agreeing and moving on. Were I to have chosen “fight” it would inevitably have led to a discussion (read: lecture on what’s wrong with society and its decaying moral values—my family is more conservative than I) and a rather long one at that. With most everything else I chose flight because I had such little self-esteem. I simply didn’t have the faith in myself that I needed to fight. It was easier and less exhausting to simply feign apathy. I have spent a lot of my life in a state of depression and had no one to turn to and nowhere to turn for support. And as anyone who’s ever dealt with depression knows while in the its grip every simple and mundane task becomes overwhelming, time-consuming, and subsequently exhausting.

My depression is the tide. It comes on slowly, appearing to be tame, just inching up on me while I am standing at the water enjoying the sunset. I watch as the orb of gold fades, melting into the horizon and I think how soft the shoreline looks bathed in a red glow. The ocean’s tranquil blue-green hue deepens to indigo. I dig in, marveling at how child-like I feel with squishy sand between my toes and water beginning to creep up past my ankles. I walk out a little further.

I await the arrival of an inky sky splattered with marvelous bits of light as if an artist has dipped his brush into the last bit of the sun before it sets and with a flick of his wrist scatters a touch of its brightness into the night. I begin to feel the undertow and the grit swirling around my calves. I pay it no heed as I am enjoying the salty air and the wind in my face. I am still. I am quiet. I am serene.

When I have had my fill and feel ready at last to rejoin the world I find the water is well past my knees and I have drifted further than I intended. I turn to leave but the current is much stronger than my struggles forward. I eye the shoreline, searching for help. I discover a half-life to my now insignificant steps. The water is above my waist and try as I might, I realize I will never reach the shore so instead I give in to the sway, the ebb and flow of the liquid darkness surrounding me—thus my flight, my surrender.

It is only recently that I have begun to fight for only recently have I truly discovered that I am worth fighting for.


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