Invisible Heaviness

The weight of the air around me is heavier than it should be.  It presses down on my shoulders, threatens to buckle my knees and begins to nudge the ache that lives just below the surface of my consciousness.  I’m not sure where the weight comes from, but even the gentle breeze of fresh morning snow twists and turns into darkness when it enters my atmosphere.  

I want reasons to feel this weight and I have none.  The world is the same today as it was yesterday and the day before that.  The expectations have not changed.  The patterns repeat and I count myself lucky to be surrounded by people that I love and who love me.  I have a healthy body and I am proud of how self-aware I am, most of the time.  I journal and I meditate and I move and I am thoughtful about most things.  Yet the weight exists and I wonder what it would be like to hurl myself off a cliff, Thelma & Louise style.  

Yes, those are the hidden thoughts that sneak in, chased away quickly by the rational and the obvious.  But the thoughts do creep in and, even as I write this, I wonder if I will include it here, in the final iteration, because then it will be out there in the world and I won’t be able to take it back.  Ever. 

The weight of the air around me is heavy, but I can walk through it.  I have witnessed the heaviness surrounding others, but I have often failed to name my own.  I do wonder if it is something that I am allowed to have.  Long ago, when I was a teenager, my best friend saw my pain and heard my story and wouldn’t allow me to back away from it.  “Just because it’s not as bad as someone else’s doesn’t make it any less difficult for you.”  It was around this same time that I heard that it was not possible to overreact to something; you were simply reacting.  

Our stories are our own.  They happened to us and they formed us into who we are, for better or for worse.  Our stories are all that we have.  When we feel the pull to diminish their importance or to dismiss the thing itself, we also diminish the impact that it has on us.  But the impact is really what matters, and it is not for anyone else to determine if it is valid or not.  In the telling of the story, we find an audience –sometimes an audience of only one–  and we are able to clear the air just a bit, releasing the tension and lightening the load.  In the telling about the heaviness, the veil drops and the truths are revealed.  And, ultimately, once that happens, the air thins out and the darkness recedes, at least for a time.

13 thoughts on “Invisible Heaviness

  1. Your words about story and the way we think and rethink what we put out into the world is so poignant. Would you be okay with me sharing it early on in March? (IF so, please email me with your permission and the permalink so I can keep track of it.)

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  2. Aren’t you so glad to have those friends who validate your pain? They are some of the best humans. Thank you for your honest and vulnerable post, I am feeling the weight of the air with the winter too.

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  3. You drew me in with Dumbledore’s words but yours took my breath away. I have been using the word heavy to describe my own current feelings and this spoke to my soul. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. There is no hierarchy of pain…I think Roxane Gay said that in an essay or an editorial. It is certainly true as you describe the personal reality of experience felt by one, owned by one, shaping one. Powerful expression here.

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  5. What a good friend you have! Reacting is reacting and we should allow ourselves, at least, the mercy of being able to react without judgment. “Heavy” is a good word for describing how things feel sometimes. I’ve felt that too.

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  6. I appreciate what you capture–that feeling of wanting reasons to feel the weight but having none. I’ve been feeling that, too. I imagine you actually speak for many of how hard it is to carry this invisible, nameless weight. And I love the idea of in telling a story we find an audience, even if it’s an audience of one. It makes me think about the beauty and terror, both, of having an audience. Thank you as always for your words.

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  7. I missed this post the first time – but am so glad to find redirection back to this slice of life that all of us can relate to and might have been able to write – even if not so magically as your post. It is an invisible nameless weight that we all carry as we take the risk to share with an audience. I try to remember that THIS RISK is what we ask our students to do every time we say it is time to write! Thank you for this…..I’ll be thinking about it for a while.

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  8. Oh, my, Amyilene, you captured so much in this short post. With beautiful words, you touched me heart and I found myself agreeing completely. All of us have a story to tell and our unique “heaviness” needs to be spoken and embraced in order to begin the healing process. I’m so happy to meet you via SOL and I, for one, can confirm that you are truly “a writer”. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be back for more.

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  9. Your first paragraph is so vivid that I feel myself catching my breath. I have also felt this weight (a lot more frequently before a few years ago when it became so heavy that I started therapy – which I highly recommend – and learned that for me, it’s called anxiety, and there are ways to shake it away), so I relate, and I especially liked how you described the way that it often hits with no exact reason. I appreciate you sharing and describing it. I loved your last paragraph about the power of stories as well!

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  10. Oh, I am right there with you at the beginning and at the end. Tears welled in my eyes when I read: They happened to us and they formed us into who we are, for better or for worse. Our stories are all that we have. – Thank you for putting it out there, Amyilene! Your honesty bolstered me.

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