On Being (Not) Well

I am having a series of low days. There is context. It makes sense for me to feel the way I do right now, in the middle of multiple one year anniversaries of fear and pain and body horror.

I almost died. The doctors wouldn’t tell me what was wrong but I was almost gone and I knew it. And then the pain and fear just kept coming. From June to December I parted with bits of myself. I fractured and was put back together, none of it in a way anyone expected. Now, I look at my scars and shake my head not that I am here, but that any of it happened in the first place.

I’ve survived many traumas. I’ve healed and moved forward and found my balance in a world geared against survivors. Then I created a safe space for others like myself. There were hard moments, times when I was triggered and had to step back and honor myself, but I knew how.

Right now I can’t be sure what I need except self care self care self care. I am triggered so easily. My body wants to shut down. But I am a full-time mother. The kind of self care I need has to wait until they are in bed. By then I am often too tired for myself.

As I write this I am thinking of how, yes, I will corral the kids outside and sit in the sun. I will tend my heart garden in little ways, keep myself off the ground or from combusting, again. I’ve arranged additional therapy and kept to my schedule of time by myself outside the home. I know the tricks to getting well. I’m on my way. But it’s a painful slog and I want to lay down but I will wait until there is someone to give me a hand so I can get back up.

I know many of you have been here. I honor your battles even as I sound my own cry. We are, all of us, warriors.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

6 Discussion to this post

  1. Elissaveta says:

    I am liking this post because of the last line. Because I hope that you will fight through the horrific memories… and be a warrior. *virtual hug*

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  2. Many times over you have taken care of the rest of us. If I could I would bring you here! Take care of you the way you should have been cared for all along. Love You. Every last bit ! YOU!!

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  3. Michael T Heath says:

    There are days, and there are days. Tripping over our own personal struggles, we are not aware of how nearly everyone else on Earth is grappling with their hardships – their demons. We gain the upper hand and calm our storms to see open sailing before us, right where we left off. The rumbling tumult that is our soul catches it’s breath, steadying our nerve and opening our hearts to clarity. From space, storms seem insignificant, minor things on a surface mostly sunlit and at peace. If we could look at ourselves from a distance we, too, would see our troubles in a context of happiness and community that easily outweigh the stresses over a lifetime. Hold strong: better days are nearby.

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  4. […] can get lost in my head which is why I always keep an eye to the sun. Heat and light are grounding. I can follow them home […]

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  5. Daria Papish Mansfield says:

    I ‘m not sure why I did not see this e-mail. Thank you so very very much for sharing this, and for enduring through it. I am not sure if this malaise has actually past, but if you don’t mind I will pray for you. You lit me up on the inside about a couple of your comments about a poem Shareen published on her blog. I will never forget your giving and encouraging heart, because basically poetry is an inclination that is by its nature reclusive and difficult to voice to the outsider. Can I e-mail you sometimes?

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