May and June had me feeling like a lump of clay – slammed, taken for dizzying spins, shaped precariously thin, kneaded to forms I do not wish myself to be. Sometimes, people tell me I have a gift for intuition, knowing the right words for those in suffering, and making them feel at home. But being innately empathic can sometimes be a curse as much as it is power. In a way that Plath said, “Even when I feel nothing, I feel it completely.”
My biggest struggle is regulating my urgencies and knowing when to step back for my own good. It is picking up everyone’s emotions and wanting to make everyone feel better, while also reminding myself caring is allowing them privacy until they feel safe enough to take down their walls without being constantly asked, “Do you need help?” There have been daylight goodbyes and nighttime awakenings, plus several confused in-betweens.
On days like this – and there are many as of late – I take my rickety bike out and return home outside. The squeaks of its old pedals, along with birdsong, are familiar melodies. The little air squeezing itself inside my mask and the sight of gnarly trees make me feel safe. I find myself a spot surrounded by giants – grass, leafy barks, even gray clouds – away from fellow humans I always feel compelled to support, and close my eyes to forget about them even for a while. Seated on the hard edges of my bike’s seat, I hold on to brief affirmations.
This late noon, guided by the soothing balm of someone’s voice, I muttered “I am not my emotions. They happen to me, but they are not me. I am worthy of looking after myself. And I am here now, in this moment, for myself.”
I blinked my eyes and lifted my head up to strange tree patterns. I watched the flight of dozens of frantic bats at dusk against an approaching rain and lightning flashes quickening on the horizon. This, right here, is healing. It is showing up for myself. And I surrender to it – completely.