Sleeves

Some weeks the world just feels wobbly. Not bad exactly, but fuzzy.

On Wednesday, I made it to 10:30AM wearing the wrong shirt. There was nothing actually wrong with the shirt I had chosen but I was yanking at the sleeves from the moment I put it on at 8:12.  My arms, much like every other part of my body, are on the short side, which means almost every top, every jacket I buy has sleeves that are too long. For some pieces, like my winter coat, I’ll hem the sleeves so they end at a reasonable place, but for the majority of them I end up either pushing the sleeves up so they bunch over my forearms, or leaning into the cozy, past my fingers cocooning that is only intermittently in style.

On Wednesday, I pushed and pulled, folded them up, unfolded them. I had worn this shirt at least fifteen times already over the last year and never had a problem with it but on Wednesday I couldn’t handle it. At 10:30, seeing the solid block of meetings I had that afternoon, I abandoned the cup of coffee I had just poured, grabbed my bag and ran to a store across the street. I grabbed the first shirt I saw that met my two default criteria- gray, and roughly my size.

Ripping off the tag in the bathroom, I slipped it on and it felt like the first gasp of air after holding my breath past the point of comfort. The material was warm and soft, and miraculously, the sleeves ended right above my wrists.

It was World Mental Health day, which somehow I wasn’t reminded of until much later that day. Somehow, in all of the residual excitement about the annual American honoring of the Italian dickwad who showed up where he wasn’t invited, I missed this other, equally American holiday. I was reminded when I was scrolling through Instagram in bed that night. I saw countless posts from celebrities, sporting perfect “no makeup” makeup, reminding me that it was ok to be mentally ill. It's a really nice sentiment but for me, it never really helps. I passed the point of feeling ashamed of my mental struggles a long time ago, but I still have to deal with the actual symptoms. The stiff, constant vigilance required to monitor my feelings at all times. Trying to be one step ahead of myself and, mostly, failing. The low level anxiety (read: fear) that is permanently coursing through me. I try to balance it by being extra daring. It rarely works, but the task keeps me busy. I add a little bit to each scale, back and forth, trying to make them level. At the end of a lot of my days, I curl up, exhausted, sleeves past my fingers, and attempt to detangle, so I can start it all over again tomorrow.

RoseComment