The Raging Storm
I have been trying, for two days now, to find ways of writing about this, but I have failed terribly at every attempt. Every word I type feels too heavy. Or too bizarre, or too unwelcoming even in my own eyes, to a point I wondered, “What am I doing with this writing, if these words have ceased to make sense even to myself?”
But it is the thing when anxiety hits you, sending you into a spiralling of emotions, no matter how long you had been feeling the signs start to build up in the pit of your stomach. So that when it hits you, your hands let go of everything they have been holding, the sound of their breaking tripling the anxiety within you, and dragging your bleeding body through these broken pieces.
It is the thing that anxiety does to you, so that while groping in the darkness of the raging storm, you cling onto anything that comes by, even when your whole existence has been built on you keeping everything to yourself, weathering storms in darkness, and covering your battle scars in silence.
So when the raging storm found its way to me this week, my heart could no longer keep it to itself.
My friends have held me afloat this week, raising my head above the floods, building walls of love, care, and abundance around me, reminding me that I am too full of life, too full of ambition. That I am deserving of all the goodness and kindness that the world has to offer, and when I do not receive these things, they will always be there to speak softly and tenderly to me.
When the storm was too much to be contained within the boundaries of my skin, Beverly sat with me on the phone, at 1:00 a.m., reassuring me that she will always be there. Even when I was sobbing and heaving mid-conversation. When I was losing my breath because the words coming out of my mouth were too heavy for me. When I was stuttering in my speech, because these things were tearing me down to bits. When I was saying I do not know whether I should feel this way, because maybe I am too much?
But the kind magic of her words held me in warmth through that night, so that even when she let go of me and asked me to try sleep, I doubled down on my bed and cried like I never have before. Still, it was her words that gave me strength to see dawn:
My darling, you are too full of life to be half-loved, and I am glad you know it. You are safe with me.
These are the words that held me together even when morning came and I was still breaking apart from the anxiety. So that I was leaving my house as early as 7:00 a.m., because the ghosts were too much to bear, and running into the comfort and calmness of Diana was my only saving grace.
Diana sat with me throughout the day, constantly asking, “Are you okay? Is there something or anything I can do to make you feel better? Do you need to take a walk?” So that I was struggling to fight tears, because how does someone leave her office desk for you, and does everything else for you, and when everything still crumbles at your feet, she says, “Please ask your boss for a break from work. You cannot survive like this.”
Because I know Eric on a personal level, I like to think that he dropped everything he was doing, and his heart momentarily stopped beating when I asked him to give me a break at work because I was having an anxiety and panic attack, and was not functioning properly. So that he sat with me on the phone, speaking to my heart in the language he knows best; softness, and warmth, and love.
So that he kept asking, via text, whether I needed him to file an official leave form for me. Whether there was anything he could do for me to make me feel better. Whether I would like to talk about what was troubling me. Whether I was safe wherever I was. And when I was not replying fast enough, Eric called me, and stayed on phone with me for the longest time we have ever done before, even when there was total silence between us, punctuated only by my heavy breathing and muffled cries.
Later, when I ask him why he did this, he says, “I wanted to make sure you were alive. You are my friend, and the only thing that matters to me is your life. Everything else can wait.”
No, there hasn’t been a time I have been grateful to have Eric as my boss as much as I have done this week. I haven’t worked even a single bit, yet I am not worried that I might lose my job.
I still have not found a way to think of my friends’ kindness this week, without starting to cry all over again. I still think of Diana, after office hours, taking me back home, as if I am child, and sitting with me in my house, until my other friend, Imma arrived straight from work. I remember, with tears in my eyes, their words and love laughters filling my house, and wishing they could stay the night, with me.
I remember, with bubbling warmth in my heart, Imma dragging me into her house, making food for me, and constantly asking, “Are you sure you don’t want to spend the night here? I do not think you are safe being alone in your place." And myself insisting that I wanted to leave under the disguise of ‘I am travelling very early tomorrow’, when all I wanted was to just cry, alone.
The one thing I hated the most about this period of unknowingness, was being unable to find peace and comfort in my own house, as has usually been the norm. So that my heart still beats loudly when I think of going back home. My spirit almost leaves my body when dawn approaches, so that I am always up before daybreak, too afraid to stay by myself.
I still have not found a way to think about my friends without crying, because every time Min Ada texts or calls, I just want to disappear into her arms and live there forever. Because this woman has carried my burdens for the longest time, has tucked my secrets in the warmest parts of her heart, and has continually poured too much love into my heart and soul. Sometimes, when people ask me about her, I keep wondering whether she feels as safe with me, as I do with her.
Sometimes, when these things become too much and I am tempted to question my existence, Sharon’s words keep lighting up my soul:
I shall always be here. Do nit be afraid, just tell me what you need me to do.
And when I am still unable to calm down even after all these, it is my friends' words that slowly drift me to sleep:
You do not have to carry everything on your own. There is no joy in seeing you crumble under the weight of these things. You do not have to talk about it right now, but there shall always be a place here for you; full of love, happiness, comfort, warmth, kindness, and softness.
So that when I pack my bags to catch a breather in Nanyuki, even when the anxiety is still bubbling beneath my skin, I rest in the knowing that the Universe did not fumble, not even once, when sending friends my way.