January 24, 2014

How to Get Back Up After Lying in a Heap on the Floor.

The whole picture seems a bit cliché.

It’s a scene right out of Eat Pray Love, and a part of me knows this and yet, here I am on the floor. The part of me that realizes this begins to chastise myself for being overly dramatic. But then, for whom am I being dramatic since I am behind a locked door?

There are many reasons that bring us to our knees on the floor in the bathroom—or any room. Those of us that have been in a place of not being able to stand out of sheer grief, sadness, hurt or whatever it was that brought us here, know. It’s that feeling of having your insides twisted and your heart ripped out.

And it leaves you in a heap on the floor.

The thing is, at some point you need to get back up and that’s the tricky part. Because while you have been down there allowing your heart to explode in a million tiny pieces, the world has been going on outside that door. I know it’s difficult to really care what the world is doing when your cheek is pressed into the vinyl tiles of your bathroom floor, but you still have to get up because you are needed. There are people outside that door that need you.

So here I am—all heaped up in a ball with my knees hurting and my eyes swollen and head pounding. Where do I go from here (because this place really kind of sucks)? Maybe if I just scream really loudly I will feel better. Maybe if I punch the wall, I can release this pent up emotion. Maybe if I spout off all of the worst language I know—every filthy word in the book—will I feel somewhat better?

Except I don’t want to do any of those things (especially punching the wall) so I am still here.

I think maybe what I will do first is just breathe, really deeply. I feel like my breathing is so shallow that perhaps I am slightly suffocating, or hyperventilating. I think I just need some air.

With a long inhale and a long exhale I lift up my head and the room kind of spins.

And it is here that I set a resolution.

Not the kind of resolution that we make on New Year’s Eve or the kind where we pledge to eat healthier or exercise more. This kind comes from somewhere deeper, beneath my bones.

I resolve to do what I need to do to become whole again. Because being broken on the floor is no longer where I want to be. I resolve to find a way to stand on my own two feet again, no matter how much my knees begin to buckle. I resolve to do the work that makes me stronger so that I can face the storm without doubt.

I resolve to invest more time in all those reasons that keep me on the other side of this door.

The cold air on the floor seeps into my legs and into my spine and I shiver.

I make the choice to stand up.

Because while a moment ago I needed to be on the floor—couldn’t help but be on the floor—the time to move forward is here. And the only way to move forward is with a step. Because even when we lose the will to stand, we must find a way to get back up and the only way to do that is to just do it. Even when we feel we are tired or incapable, we do it. We choose to be more than this.

We choose to be brave. And that is how we get back up.

“The only way out of a hole is to climb out.” ~ Cheryl Strayed

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo Credit: Jeff Chandler/Pixoto

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