Breaking open 

I broke down last night, and it was beautiful.

The fatigue has been overwhelming. For many weeks, I’ve felt nothing but tired. Frankly, I’ve gotten tired of being tired.

Sometimes I’m tired and lonely. Sometimes I’m tired and I want to be alone. Sometimes I’m tired of trying to do so many things. Sometimes I’m tired of thinking so much.

Last week, I was so exhausted and upset, and tired of feeling so worthless, that I wanted to cut myself. I wanted to take a knife and slide it across my wrist, or prick my fingertips. I wanted to sit in the bathroom and bang my head against the wall until I knocked myself unconscious. I wanted to jump from the balcony. I wanted to throw myself in front of a speeding car.

I didn’t want to kill myself. I just wanted to feel something other than the relentless fatigue.

In the back of my head, I knew this was a tipping point, and I had to do something. I waited for Oneal to get home, and I went running in the rain.

I ran around the park. I did push-ups and lunges. I pushed myself until my body hurt. And when I got home, I did two more sets of push-ups. I tried to do crunches too, but my body gave up, and I nearly blacked out.

I just needed to feel something else, and I figured physical pain would do it. And exercise to exhaustion seemed to be the only viable option.

In the office, our teammate Denise teaches yoga every week. I’ve been so envious, and I’ve been dying to join them. Yesterday, Oneal dropped off Lucas at Mary Ann’s, and I went to work, and I was finally able to join the class.

It had been nearly a year since I last practiced yoga. Paul got me a private session of prenatal yoga, which was wonderful for my aches and pains. I managed to practice a few times at home, before I gave birth. But once Lucas came along, yoga just wasn’t happening.

I was desperate for a yoga class. So off to class I went, with my officemates.

For about an hour, I stood, stretched, raised my arms, checked my alignment, breathed slowly. I released the tension in my shoulders and opened my chest. I balanced and engaged my muscles. I stared at the wall, the ceiling, my thumb, my toes. I did my Tree and my Warrior poses, Downward Facing Dog and Upward Facing Dog, Cat and Cow, Boat, Child, Happy Baby, Corpse. I watched my body for pain or discomfort, while gently pushing my limits, testing my strength.

For about an hour, I wasn’t tired. I wasn’t lonely. I wasn’t crying. I wasn’t wondering what time it was, or worrying about whether I had to pump or feed. I wasn’t thinking about laundry or dinner or finding a yaya. I wasn’t stressing out about bills or schedules.

For about an hour, I wasn’t thinking. I simply moved.

At the end of the session, we were all in Corpse pose, winding down, the lights off. I felt like I was floating as I listened to the music over the speakers. Suddenly, I felt like something had cracked open in my chest, and I started crying. A few tears at first, then some quiet sobs. Denise came over and rubbed a balm on my forehead and temples, massaging my head and my shoulders.

Soon we sat up, and meditated for a few moments before ending the practice. Denise went around the room, and when she passed my mat, I reached up for a hug. “Thank you. I really needed this,” I told her, a sob in my throat. She knelt down to hug me, and as I hugged her and closed my eyes, the tears fell.

Later, I realized why I was always so tired. Taking care of Lucas was relentless, never-ending, draining. I felt tired after class, but I also felt strong, like I’d accomplished something. I needed exertion that felt purposeful, that was empowering, that had a fixed duration. I needed exertion with a different purpose. I needed exertion that took me out of my head, that quieted the doubt, that stilled me on the inside.

I slept well last night. Today, I felt aches I hadn’t felt in over a year, and I felt good.

Today, I’m tired, but I’m okay.

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