Healing on the Margins

Our lives don’t always allow space for us to heal. My dad passed away on a Friday and I was back at work Monday. I took two days off for the memorial. At the time I was only 6 weeks into a new job, and still 6 weeks away from being out of my probationary period. I probably could have taken more time off, but my company clock watches and it felt important to prove that I was a Good Employee – someone they wanted to keep on staff. 

My experience is not unique.

Life is jam-packed, things come at us fast and rarely do we have the space or luxury to Go Slow or take a break. Most of us have to try to heal on the margins: of 9-6 M-F; of people who rely on us; of our responsibilities. 

Sometimes healing on the margins looks like crying for 30 seconds in the bathroom at work before pulling yourself together-ish. Sometimes it’s listening to Harry Potter audiobooks (Stephen Fry ONLY) on repeat just to try to calm down and not have a full-blown panic attack when the grief feels all-encompassing and so SO unbearably permanent. 

I have been tired these past five and half months. So deeply, existentially, on a cellular level, TIRED. Most nights I get home looking like I’ve been through the war. (Those of you who, inexplicably, end the day still looking as fresh and put-together as the second you stepped dewy-skinned out of your morning Evian caviar shower or whatever can eff right off mkay.) In the throes of this exhaustion, I have wondered how I will manage healing, how I will wrangle my routines back from the vice grip of apathy, how I will coexist with sadness and still go to a barre class (woof).

But grief is not static. It shape-shifts. Its requirements, its source of nourishment, change. Only a couple weeks ago, writing something about this would have been forced, draining – unthinkable, really. 

But here we are. Still tired. Still healing on the margins – but learning how to make the margins wider, and listening as my grief dashes upstairs for a yet another outfit change before we leave the house.

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