Lost In The Forest


There are times when it feels like it takes all my effort to keep the beast at bay. We each have our own beasts: financial burdens, relationship woes, weight issues, an illness, family problems, an addiction–the list is endless. My beast has been hiding in the bushes probably my whole life, blending in and camouflaged by the surrounding landscape. That landscape has been partly the creation of my own mind and parts of my life that simply lay hidden beneath the surface, like a creature that lives below the surface of the earth.

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For many years I have lived my life with this beast only in my peripheral vision; it was often a silent marauder coming to me, slipping in and out of dreams and reality. But I was young, strong and mostly unaware. Life was a whirlwind of distractions: that carousel spinning, making me dizzy so I mostly didn’t notice this strange visitor who crossed my path.

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When it did happen though, my heart became larger in my chest and I could feel it thudding in the front of my chest. My head felt heavy and my temples hurt…the room might tilt, if only for a moment, and reality would feel different. I knew something was closing in. It felt the air getting less and it was hard to breathe.

But the moment would pass. The world would return to normal (as normal is it can be) and I would forget, tuck it back into the recesses– the folds of my memory.

Now I am older and the habitat in which the beast dwells is thinning. Maybe climate change has effected that forest too, or maybe I am chopping the trees down myself? It seems I can sense this thing is coming closer; there is more clarity in which I feel its breath. I am familiar with the scent and know when it might be approaching at times. But there are still those unexpected moments when it creeps up on me and takes me by surprise, and I feel that weight again sitting on my chest. If I listen hard enough, then, I might hear the low growl of its voice telling me to beware…

It might be near, very near now, but what it wants, I still do not know. Why it hunts me is a mystery. And try as I may, ridding myself of it remains a secret lost within the darkness of the forest.

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8 thoughts on “Lost In The Forest

  1. This is a beautiful piece of writing, so raw and open and heartfelt. I used to work with a Mormon woman, super nice young lady, who was married to an equally nice young man. One day she said to me that the devil was following her and didn’t want her to be happy. At the time, I thought her statement was a little out there and clearly stemming from her religious beliefs. However, the older I get, and stuff has happened, I think maybe she wasn’t so far off. Your post reminded me of this.

    1. I guess each of our beast presents in a different way depending on our perspective, but I get this completely. How frightening for her! And how scary for all of us who has one lurking….

  2. So beautifully written…. And yes, our mind works in such mysterious ways that the beast does seem more terrifying as we grow older…. Is it that the beast is growing stronger feeding on our fears and worries…
    Maybe a strong loving companion is all we need to keep it in chains, and bring back the old days!!

    1. Thanks so much. I’m not sure that I am truly more terrified as I grow older or just more painfully aware of it. In a sense I suppose this is scary because it shows me all my weaknesses and this means others may see them too. But it also means I have a grip somehow on them (the first step to healing is identifying the problem), so pulling it into the light can be a good thing. The hard part is keeping it there because it is slippery and wily. 🙂 Being single, there is no loving companion as you describe, and I’m not sure this is the answer anyway. Fighting our beast must ultimately be our own battle for only we can really know what it is….xo

  3. If there is one thing I have learned it is that beasties don’t care to be brought into the light of day. Once identified and named they lose a great deal of their power. May you name it, claim it and tame it soon my friend. 💖

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