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What Are You Listening To?

One foot in front of the other – I walk in slow motion as the world hovers around me, disconnected. Only a few more steps and I’ll be there. Heal, toe. Breathe in. Heal, toe. Breathe out.

Chris Stapleton comes into my ear, “I put that record on, Girl you know what song, And I let it play again and again.” His voice is soothing as the muted lime green catches my eye melting into the sunset orange nearby. I zone into the colors; my periphery disappears and a fog sets in. I begin to feel nothing; I begin to feel the numbness set in.

“Cause you’re hanging on, Or is it a love song about someone new? What are you listening to?” The melody continues and carries me into a deeper state of tranquility. A calm yellow catches my eye and grows as if it was coming towards me but I still cannot process. It fades into burgundy and I remember: raspberry, hibiscus, warmth, comfort.

The smell of coffee is in the distance. Slowly, I turn my head to the right towards the scent. Nope, I think as I face forward and settle back into the subdued colors. A soft brown slides into my view and cinnamon becomes familiar to me, like the topping I put on my little boy’s toast for breakfast. I think of him now as he is with his dad. No one is at home waiting for me nor cares what I’m doing in this moment. My arms tingle and my stomach settles low in my body as if gravity were pulling it towards my motionless feet. “And is it something to get you through, Just a sad song playing on the radio station, Tears still fall and hearts still breakin’.”

Breathe in. The colors sharpen. Breathe out. I’ve made it. A sudden tip back into reality reminds me where I am – the tea section of Hy Vee.

I stare for some time, willing myself to make a move. I question how long I’d been there. Cinnamon Apple, Ginger Root, and Sleepytime tea fall into my cart as Pink begins to sing in my right ear through my one Air pod, “I will have to die for this I fear, There’s rage and terror and there’s sickness here, I fight because I have to, I fight for us to know the truth.”

Heal, toe. Breathe in. Heal, toe. Breathe out. My stomach is still low as I slowly carry on alone and lonely, for tonight I only have one list to conquer. The rest of the world can wait as I get my tea. But as soon as I’ve conquered this task… the world of objectification is next.

“But I won’t stop until we’re free Wild hearts can’t be broken.”


A friend shared part of a sermon with me today that talks about our hearts after heartbreak. While I’m not currently deeply religious, this message grabbed my attention (and it was shared with me for obvious reasons). I think that in the realm of love and trust, I have some work to do. Here is a short summary:

“We can and will live in a world that breaks our hearts.” … So how do we handle this? He talks about two options. One, we could become soft and weakened, "Or, we turn off the emotions. We become hardened; we become calloused as to not feel anything. I need to be numb.” He continues to talk about how a calloused heart is unable to love and be loved. It is also unable to grow. “If you numb yourself from pain, you also numb yourself from joy. If you numb yourself from grieving, you numb yourself from healing.” The third option is choosing vulnerability. This is allowing someone to have access to your heart. There is risk of heartbreak, but in choosing vulnerability, we allow our hearts to trust, to be able to love and to be able to be loved. – Fr. Mike Schmitz 3/21/21.

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"I begin to feel nothing; I begin to feel the numbness set in."

I have this intense whole body experience where I am completely numb.

My body is frozen and I want to dance a thousand dances.

I can hear a whisper shouting out my name.

I am numb to the idea of "acting out."

I am drowning in thin air.

J Mueller

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