I woke up today. I hit the snooze button more than 10 times only to realize that I’m awake and just hitting it for no reason. I stared at my ceiling for 30 minutes listening to the alarm ring and my dog bark not knowing if I could get up. “Maybe if I call in today, I’ll just tell them I’m sick. I mean I am, just not in the way that they think.” I finally got out of bed. Every ounce of my body fought me wanting to lay back down. I’m tired. I shuffle into the bathroom. I don’t look in the mirror. I can’t. I already know what is waiting for me and i am not ready to face that just yet.
I brushed my teeth today. That’s the first time I've done that in days. The old me would have been disgusted with myself. I don’t care though. I don’t smile enough for it to matter anymore. I spit into the sink, wiping the toothpaste and blood from my raw gums from my face. I throw on some jeans, wear the same shirt I wore to bed and pull back my hair not bothering to brush it out. I tell myself ‘Maybe if I have time, I’ll shower when I get home from work’. I know I won’t though. I drive to work in silence, reminiscing on how I used to turn up the radio to get myself awake and ready for the day. Where did that girl go and why haven’t I seen her in awhile? I don’t dwindle on that for too long. There’s no point.
I went into work today. I didn’t cry when that frustrated customer yelled at me. I was calm, quiet and reassuring. I didn’t have to go into the bathroom and cry this time. I kept it together. I am proud of that. I wanted to talk to my coworkers but I am not ready. I know that if I do I will get a series of “Are you feeling ok?’ “ Are you getting sick?” and I don’t want to have to explain anything. I go to the bathroom. I finally look in the mirror realizing that I have make up smeared across my face from the day before. I wipe it off, avoiding eye contact with myself. I still font want to face her. Not yet.
I leave work to go home and get ready for the next job. I throw on my work shirt and fix what’s left of my make-up. I practice smiling to myself. I feel my lips and mouth curve into the motion but know there is nothing behind it. I grab the rest of my things and drive silently to work. I talk to myself the whole way there, convincing myself that I need to smile more. Act happy. I have to face people this time. I can’t hide behind my computer here. I’m greeted by a group of funny happy teenagers. I’m glad they are here. They make it easier. We work and talk. I can talk to these people. They don’t ask questions. They are too blinded by their own light to notice that mine is dimming and I'm ok with this. They are growing into beautiful people and I'm proud to be apart of it.
I made it home. Exhausted, I walk in the door to see him. My heart sinks as I see that goofy smile of his grow on his face. I am not the same girl that he fell in love with and I am afraid that he’ll find that out one day. He opens his arms and beckons me to climb into the bed and lay next to him. He asks “How was your day?” his voice level. Peaceful. It helps me swallow the tears. “Fine”. My voice cracks. He lifts my face to face his. His beautiful green eyes stare into mine. I desperately try to look away. I can’t let him see. I can lie to everyone else but not to him. He holds his gaze and asks “What’s wrong?” I’m quiet. I feel the pressure building from my chest into my throat and feel my face getting hot. I can’t hold it in anymore. Tears rapidly drop down my face. I tell him everything between sobs. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I tell him of how I have felt and how pathetic it all feels. I look at him with anger in my voice and say: “I have to fight myself to do basic things.” He’s quiet for a moment. “But you are fighting. Most people don’t make it that far”.
He’s right. Everything that I did today seemed like nothing to me when in reality it was progress. I had made small improvements that aren’t noticed by other people but for me, I had won the battle with the demons in my head. I hadn’t noticed that they were demons when they came in. Their voice matched my own and I believed it was me. I excuse myself to go wipe off my face of the smeared makeup and tears that were there and that’s when I saw her. A faint glimmer of her behind my eyes, behind the black and the pain. She was there. Waiting for me. I smiled. Meaning it this time. Hope was there. Even if it was small, it was there.
Tomorrow is a new battle and the war will rage on for a while, but I fought today and I won.