WHEN I AM SICK

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Submitted Date 03/05/2019
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When I am sick, I take care of everything but myself.

Inside the walls of my mind, there is a room that I do not take care of. But inside the walls of a physical home, it is the only distraction I get from the emotions within myself.

I brew up a bitter, long steeped tea of deception through early hangover mornings and nauseous nights.

When I wake up in the morning with my head throbbing and my stomach churning an endless whirlpool of booze and regrets, I do not think about drawing myself a warm bath. I ignore the tall glass of water. I think about the hurricane, painted and splattered around the room from the girl that I was last night. With her clothes on the floor and her purse thrown to the side. The empty wallet waiting for me to look through, to find no remnants of what it had been confidently full of. She’s left me trash and dirty socks.

I take a warm shower like a chore, drinking water is torture. Vitamins are looked over and I pop the medicine to temporarily numb a pain that will only come back again a few hours, dull and ready to ask for another round of meds, dull like the knocking it will have on my head throughout the whole day, but I am already with the vacuum and mop, cleaning the carpets and wooden floors. I am folding the clothes and getting the laundry ready, making the bed. I am diffusing essential oils and opening the windows for the first time in what feels like forever. The only time the house gets cleaned is when I am hurting the most.

What a distraction a home can be. When I spend most of my life telling my body to be quiet, or my emotions to bury deep back into the pit of my heart and stay hidden beneath all the sound pollution of the city and fake laughs that my stomach lets out at breakfast, lunch, and dinners with friends, or work. Waking up with the hangover, waking up with the sickness, is just as scary when there is no one else to have to acknowledge that my body really needs me this time. Really needs me to listen. Really needs me to take some notes on “what not to the do during a night of drinking”. To wake up feeling helpless only for oneself is a headache itself.

I try to make myself a soup. I try to eat. I try to drink lemon water and take probiotics or just sleep. But sleeping is always the easiest thing. And it’s not because everything hurts or I am too ill to make myself food or change my clothes or go outside for some fresh air, but it is because I am just not used to doing this. I am not used to listening to my body, but when every bone aches and screams and my stomach churns with the feeling of bruises all throughout my abdomen and back, it demands a headache of attention.

When I am sad, I do all I can to find the things that will shift my attention from heartbreak or disappointment to something a little less disappointing.

When I am sad, I will find a world of distractions to swim in and hurt myself more in by ignoring the brokenness that resembles the feeling of the hangover and the aching body in the morning.

When I am sad, I make myself food, the kind I should be eating during hangover mornings, or I do not eat at all. I drink until I see empty bottles of beer or wine, or I buy friends too many shots of tequila at the bars, so I don’t feel as alone in doing something to mask the pain. I smoke cigarettes until my throat aches. I convince myself the next morning as I turn down the small lemony cough drop that the ache is a cold that I can get over myself. That this ache is not the aftermath of a broken heart, but it is the ache of a sick body. I blame myself for not having a better immune system. A better army of white blood cells to protect me from the damage I inflict on myself. And I move on with my day.

I sleep as if I should be sleeping when I have the flu, and when I have the flu, I stay up all night, fighting off the urges of my body screaming that it needs me to sit down. To just rest. To let it do its work once and for all, but I light the end of a smoke instead.

Maybe I will always feel sick or weighed down because of the room in my mind. The one I ignore to clean the one I live in. The one with the memories and remnants of broken glass from all the broken things and unfinished relationships that I try to hide but keep stepping on, cutting the soles of my feet each time.

I wish I could rent out the home in my mind to someone who could just do all the fixups. To repair the leaking facets and unclog the backed-up drains and sewage that has been rotting for what feels like ages. I wish I could pay someone to deep clean the floors and polish the windows, maybe even replace the torn wallpaper with something brighter, something new. If they could take every item and place them in neatly folded and wrapped boxes to send to be burned away and disposed of. Memories embedded in items I do not need to be living within my mind still. Things that I do not want to remember thrown around the room or hidden inside of my closet, under the bed and inside of the mattress, things that I know of, eating away at my thoughts as I sleep or things I have forgotten, still laughing quietly in the dark of the closet when my mind pangs on another memory that I thought I had gotten rid of.

I wish that someone could just take a long look at the room I have made a mess of in my mind and tell me every way I can make it better. To find a cure. To say that Feng Shui works to make me happy or forget or not sleep all the damn time.

I feel like I have been sick all my life. I never had the time or energy to pick things up off the floors and store the memories away. I try so hard to take care of other things that I pack my bags to move into another’s mind and help them clean and organize the beautiful and dark parts of their rooms, in their hearts, in their minds, I try so hard until I am left until I leave. Until my job is done, and I am left feeling homeless, only knowing there my minds home to walk back in and throw all the trash and weight of the ghost of a person I got to know too well.

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