The breath before the scream

I’m learning that I’m not as good in the quiet as I think I am.

I don’t mean your day-to-day, run-of-the-mill, garden variety quiet–the kind that steals moments at sunrise, whispers between the breaths of a child’s laughter, fills vacuous space inside our heads. No, no that quiet. I’m good at that quiet.

That kind of quiet is fuel for my introverted soul, which craves and loves and cherishes it.

No, I’m talking about the big quiet. Maybe it is something akin to peace–a tranquility that lives in my soul, a silent hum in my bones. Some may coin it happiness, others may see it as joy. Others still may refer to it as the calm before the storm. All built on the idea that the battle has been won, the long journey ended, the last chapter read. The hard work is done, so now I should rest.

I’m a fighter; I am good at fighting. I know how to survive because I’ve been doing it most of my life. Pulled myself out of depression, picked up the broken pieces after heartbreak. Survived bullies and walked through isolation. Oppressed, ostracized, made to believe I was less than. I ducked and rolled through all of life’s punches: car trouble, money trouble, verbal and emotional abuse, relentless anxiety, an even more relentless patriarchy, Christianity, infidelity, abandonment, loneliness, anger, the list goes on and on.

How do I stand still after I’ve been running for so long?

Maybe I don’t know how to be at rest. Maybe I prefer the eye of the hurricane to the safety of a beach. Maybe I need the chaos to not only breath, but thrive.

Maybe I’ll always be looking toward the horizon, even as I’m lounging in paradise. Looking for a higher mountain to climb, a wider chasm to cross. Maybe this is an itch I can never fully scratch.

What if I stop being able to recognize the good things I have because I’m always seeking something better?

What if I wander for so long I can’t find a home?

What if change becomes so constant that I can’t accommodate consistency?

I need to learn to slow down. To let myself relax. To learn how to be at rest, while still breathing.

Like a dreamless sleep, or rising dough before it enters the fire.

Like a yellow light, like the sky before rain. Like the whisper of sound before a tea kettle screams.

Maybe I don’t have to slam on the brakes and put myself in park.

Maybe I just need to ease off the throttle, throw up my hands, and coast.

Written 3/29/17

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