A Different Kind Of Grief

Photo: Mercedes Bleth

I’ve spent too much of this last year grieving. It’s felt like an eternity of dreariness. Some days the thought of sitting up and planting my feet on the floor is too much. I lay buried under my covers, surrounded by fluffy, white, layers of faux-down feathers, fan on full blast, toes curled in anticipation of the cold – why would I leave this cloud cave and face the day? 

Most days I don’t know what I’m so damn sad about anyways. 

The fog of depression blends everything together to obscure the true root of it. See, I don’t think it’s the falls, the mistakes, the people lost that I am grieving anymore. Those are temporary sadnesses, reminders on extra bad days: I catch a glimpse of a picture capturing someone I once thought was a friend and instantaneously feel the burning of fresh tears – a default reaction on an angry day. Unwarranted panic attacks will occasionally wear my ex’s face. But these moments are finally becoming few and far between. I can throw old memories into my trash bin and not instinctively want to save them. I can breathe through my heart trying to pump out of my chest until we find a rhythm matching the pace of my ceiling fan as I stare up at it.

I don’t miss anyone as much as I miss who I once was when I looked in the mirror.

I’m grieving the loss of myself. 

Every day, I ask myself if I’m getting closer to her, if I’m back to who I thought I was yet. Me, Ali-fucking-B-E. 

But I haven’t felt like I know who I am for some time. 

How do I recover from losing myself? What is there to do when I feel simultaneously trapped and lost altogether? It’s as if there is a glass case under my rib cage and the real me is stuck screaming and pounding inside, yet the outside me doesn’t hear her. I drown her voice with distractions. 

As much as I’d love to outsource my pain, no one else can fix this. People don’t have support groups to help grieve our own spirit when it feels stomped out. Or maybe I just haven’t yet gotten to the ‘acceptance’ stage of my recovery.

What I know:

  • I miss my bravery. 
  • The way I didn’t flinch at another person’s touch. 
  • How I used to not feel so claustrophobic any time I entered somewhere crowded.
  • I yearn for my eyes before they were trained for the nearest exit. 

Who was I when I’d say “yes” to anything? What did it feel like to wake up and dare the day to meet me? That me was fun, and she didn’t have to try so hard to be either.

I miss her and I fucking hate her. It’s devastating how angry I am at my past self. How I can’t forgive her for my mistakes. Instead, I carry this innate anger inside that I feel poisoning who I am now, yet I drink it up, slurping willingly. 

Most days I miss who I was when I believed that I couldn’t be broken. This grief centers around not understanding how I could let myself get so lost. Any trace of who I was dissipated and I cannot figure out how to find that spark again. Do I take tracing paper into my subconscious? I could outline the ghosts of myself and see who still fits.

Maybe the truth is that I never loved myself as much as I feel I did now that I can’t hang onto her. Like anything or anyone we lose, perhaps I’ve been blinded by those rose-tinted glasses that make her someone worth chasing.

Despite who exactly I’ve been, I mostly miss being the girl who believed in herself.

I want to smudge the ashes of myself into a piece of art. Into a sign that says ‘trust me.’ then hang it around my neck to stare in the mirror until a new reflection is formed. I reflection with less ‘fuck you,’ more clear eyes with a chin up, not in defience, but acceptance.

I look forward to meeting her.

Alison Burdick Contributor Photo
Alison Burdick | Digital Marketer. Self-Proclaimed ‘Bad-ass bitch’. Devoted Shopaholic. “You-Shouldn’t-Do-That” Type Thrill Seeker. Wanna-Be-Nomad. Known as the obnoxious feminist friend. Likely to steal someone’s puppy. Lives by the Motto “Death Before Decaf.” Biding my time until a secret government agency recruits me to be their double agent.