By Alicia Moore
(Part 1 of 2)
A brilliant, beautiful friend of mine was murdered six weeks ago. It has taken me nearly all of that time to unravel myself from the tight ball I contorted my body into. It was as if the news had made my belly muscles contract, pulling me into myself–knees to chest, arms wrapped like rope around my shins. I thought about the sound of her voice, her laugh, and the deep boom of her heart. I thought about the way she walked; her body once animate. I recalled her bone broth soup, her special salad recipes, and what a bad driver she was. I remember drinking kombucha and green tea, hiking, and talking about art. She deeply loved art.
It was almost like the death of her had paralyzed me. I was stuck on the couch, unable to will my body to return to the world outside. You see, when someone dies, and I know anyone who has lost someone knows what I’m talking about, there’s a portion of your brain that wishes to go back in time and rewrite history. You almost feel like your heart will split in two, or that you’ll suffocate if you can’t go back. Because how can it be possible? How can they be inanimate? Invisible? Gone?
And all of these thoughts just bounce from one side of my brain to the other, like a pinball stuck in one of those eternal ricochet cycles. And I just want that damn ball to drop so I can play the game. I don’t want to watch it hop around endlessly as it gains more momentum. Because as the speed intensifies, so does the heat, the madness. My palms begin to sweat, my head spins, and I cannot fathom why I can’t will the ball to come down, to rest.
This is anxiety.
So as I sit in my little ball on the couch, not really moving, shrinking, tucking my body into the crevices of itself, I create a sort of rhythm. A deflection of thoughts and fears. And I tighten, allowing only choked gasps of air out.
This is anxiety.