Tuesday, March 22, 2011

[ the Mississippi's mighty ]

but it starts in Minnesota
at a place that you could walk across with five steps down

I bus to school as often as I can.  When I do, I get a much more intimate picture of the Mississippi than I do as a driver on 94; I can see the crest of the falls at Saint Anthony Main from the 6, or the slowly-widening expanse of burbling water at Washington Ave from the 3.

Well, at least, I can now.

A month ago the river was completely iced over.  Beautiful and still.  Covered in drifts of snow, with dark-blue ice glaring through in spots, glinting in the winter sunlight.  Quiet.  Serene.

But any Minnesotan can tell you that underneath, the river is still churning, still rushing along.  It only looks serene from the surface.

This is how I feel.  A month ago, the surface was serene.  Only those intimately acquainted with the ice knew what kind of churning and groaning lay underneath. The coping mechanisms were well refined, keeping everyone unaware of how hard my brain was working just underneath the beautifully blown snow.

Then the spring sun hit it, its warmth a dream of healthy living and thinking.  Within a week, the river is not ice but churn, foam, wave, burble.

and I guess that's how you started
like a pinprick to my heart

It shocks me how quickly my brain has learned to identify the repetitive and obsessive thoughts that terrify me, and how delighted it is to remember to sing or to pray or to read and to watch as the cycle breaks down.

It shocked me to realize that my friends are much more like themselves, and much less like the judgmental terrors the sick part of my brain tried to make them out to be.

It shocks me how beautiful I feel.  Not perfect, by any means, but beautiful.

It shocked me how my coping mechanisms have dictated so many relationships - have kept me from fully engaging with the people I love.

but at this point you rush right through me and I start to drown

I am not yet where I want to be.  Much work still lies before me, and much pain and unwrapping of my past and present.  But I have a dream for the future -healthy thinking - and I can see the river of my heart beginning to open.

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