Thursday night I cried for an hour and a half, which is almost disappointing, because I managed
to reach the two hour mark the night before, and I’d hate to think I’m losing my touch.
I cried until the tears turned and ran down the inside of my face instead of the outside. They were still real, but they were now pooling in my stomach instead of on my pillow. Sometimes I choose to pull tears inside rather than show them to the world; this time they just weren’t strong enough to force their way out past all the pressure pushing in.
Every night this week brought a different kind of pressure: being caught in a nasty snowstorm and stranded in Pocatello for a night; missing classes due to said stranding; lack of sleep and proper nutrition all semester finally catching up with me; finals; white-glove checks. And then on Wednesday my older brother, my closest brother, coming and telling me he won’t be able to be at my wedding. It was something I already knew but we had never discussed. I held him and we cried for two hours.
By the time Thursday hit I was just hoping to get through the day. My Chinese teacher stopped me after class and asked, “Are you okay? Some days you seem…” I looked her in the eye and said, “Some days I’m here, some days I’m not. Today I wasn’t.” She nodded. What do you say to that? I made it all the way to seminar, and read my blood essay. That went well. I had been reliving and re-writing it all week, which probably contributed some to my current state. Then, as I walked home, I called my mom. Normally calling my mom is a good thing, a chance to vent, or a release, or a source of good advice. But this week happened to be as rough for her as it was for me.
How did I get caught between my mom and my brother? I still don’t know how I managed that one. My mom is telling me things to pass on to my brother because she can’t talk to him. He won’t answer her calls or her emails. He’s threatening to cut off contact with our entire family (in hopes of “finding himself”; we’ve all heard that one before), but decided this week that he couldn’t cut ties with me, and so when he moves he’s agreed to give me his new phone number. Will that forever make me the go-between? Yet I refuse to let him disappear, so I guess I’m taking on the mantle willingly.
Everything that had been beating at me all week had come to rest, and was now just there, close enough to be an extra layer of skin. I couldn’t take full breaths, because my lungs couldn’t expand that far; this new skin was not giving any ground. And it was shrinking. It tightened around me, pushing through my actual skin and squeezing my resisting organs experimentally as it drove anything mobile toward a central point: my stomach. The stomach protested; it was already full of tears, and now all my other emotions and stresses were being chased like refugees from my mind, heart, and limbs to hide within that poor organ. My stomach was feeling such contrasting pressures from within and without; I was pretty sure I was imploding. I wondered how long it would take; I was really tired, and wished that tightening noose would just finish collapsing me so I could either die or get some sleep.
Well, it turns out the human body doesn’t like to implode. Mine didn’t, anyway. It decided to rebel: if the pressure wanted to make it implode, my stomach was going to do the opposite.
That’s the first time I’ve ever puked from stress. It worked wonders—once I had a physical problem, I was somehow able to shut out the rest. No more finals, no more wedding, no more family—all gone in the pain of losing everything I’d eaten that day.