So, that advice has sat with me for days. It was real, it was honest, and it was with my best interests at heart and all from someone who "gets it". That advice was from someone who, in no way needs to sit and listen to me or give me advice on this. I was extremely angry, frustrated, and sad about it through the week. All year, I said I would be back this year, that I would be strong enough to handle it, and that I would be "better" by then. And so, this feels like a failure of sorts. I know it's not when I really think about it and I know nobody thinks it is, but that's what it feels like. I wanted to be there to capture Matt's smiling face as he came to the finish line. I wanted to be there to support all those involved. I wanted to be there to show that I could. I'm frustrated that others are able to go even though I know many people affected who will not be there this year because it is too hard, too soon. This is one of the hardest decisions I've had to make and it sucks. Yes, there will be more marathons, but that does not help. THIS is the significant one.
I spent three days crying and shaking. I tried going for long walks, meditating, everything. But, it wouldn't stop. I wake up very early every morning and my whole body is just slightly shaking. Every time. I'm exhausted and people are noticing. As of Wednesday afternoon, I had decided I would make plans to get completely out of the city on marathon Monday, though still holding onto a glimmer of hope that I will suddenly be able to attend. I figure if I stay home but don't go, I will obsess over the media coverage and it will not be good. So, the plan is to go on a day trip, somewhere along the coast since the water is where I find the most peace.
My memory sucks. Like, really sucks. I forgot where I parked about 5 times this week, even when I had only been home for an hour and was going back out. Like, walked all the way in the opposite direction before realizing. I forget to eat, I forget calls and emails I'm supposed to return. It's frustrating. So, if I forget anything with anyone reading, remember I need many reminders.
Wednsday morning, I was set off by something and I couldn't stop crying. I had no coffee or food at my house (I can't even remember to grocery shop lately and too exhausted to cook anyway), so I figured I'd grab a tea and breakfast at Zume's and then go for a long walk. I pulled myself together and as I was ordering, a friend walked in and was ordering next to me. He said "Hi" and I felt the tears coming. That's all it took, someone saying "hi". The lump in my throat that has been pretty constant felt like a golf ball and I nodded and walked over to wait for my order. He talked to me a bit and I couldn't stop the tears. I feel embarrassed when this happens and also feel bad for whoever is there. I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable or like they need to say anything special. There are no magic words or things anyone can do at that moment. A quick hug, and I was off to go sit on a small dock down in the navy yard. I sat there for an hour, just thinking and watching the water, crying on and off. Then, I went for a 6 mile walk along the Charles. The walks were helping clear my head and make me feel better, but aren't working as well this week.
I had a great shoot on Wednesday evening, which was fun and distracting. I always feel the most like "me" when i'm out taking pictures of my clients, especially the little ones. After, I had to get home and get ready for an interview. A Globe reporter had been forwarded my name and he was looking to talk to people with the "invisible injuries" that no one had really focused on. He said they are doing a large story coming out Tuesday that will highlight ALL of the injuries from last year. I was nervous to share my story so publicly and talk to someone who I didn't know, but also relieved they someone is finally bringing attention to this issue. He showed up with another reporter and I spent almost two hours talking to them. My leg shook the entire time and they seemed genuinely interested in the whole thing, remarking that the anxiety sounds really difficult and that there must be many people out there going through the same thing. They were very nice and even in that two hours, it wasn't enough time to really tell them everything, since there is so much. After, they had a photographer show up who set up lighting on my sidewalk to take my picture. Anyone who knows me, knows I HATE my picture taken, especially after the 20 or so pounds I've gained in the last year. He made it easy and though it was an awkward experience and my legs continued to shake, it was okay. Please pick up the Globe on Tuesday and read the stories.
Yesterday was a little better. I sat in Zume's and shook but also did some work, read, and talked to some people. I can see people's faces when they notice i'm shaking again. It's worry and sort of an "oh shit" expression. Some look nervous and just say hi and get as far away as possible. But most just talk to me like normal after and know it's there but okay. A friend came over and sat on the arm of the chair, putting her arm around me and asking if I was okay. I said yes and that the shaking was just there and would go away again over time. We then talked about happier things. I went to a spin class after which was good to help alleviate all the shaking I had done. And best of all, I wasn't crying yesterday. I had a physical with my doctor in the afternoon. I shook in eh waiting room with people just staring at me. It takes everything I have in that moment to not snap and tell them why i'm shaking so they stop looking, but I just try and ignore them. The doctor noticed as soon as she came in. She is a new doctor, so I told her what was happening. She said she wanted me to take some medication for the next couple of weeks on an as needed basis and consider longer term medicine and care, as she feels PTSD is largely under treated (yes, I agree). I told her I do not want to take meds to deal with this beyond if I need it these next two weeks, but that I would consider it depending on what happens going forward. I couldn't wait to just get out of there because I felt more anxious the longer I was in the building and waiting room (I got to sit there again waiting to get blood taken and people staring again).
Today, I will go to the Dear Boston exhibit at the library with a friend who was there on April 15 as well. I'm sure it will be emotional, but the memorial is where I found solace last year. For weeks, I went every single morning at 6/7am. It's a reminder of the good that comes out of such an awful time.
I was planning on attending the Sports Illustrated shoot tomorrow at the finish line. We knew about it and it was portrayed as being for survivors, first responders, and their family and friends. Now, it has been publicized so all of Boston wants to be there. That's fine if that is what they want, it just came as a shock seeing it advertised after it was portrayed as a more intimate event and a bit of a disappointment as I was looking forward to it. Anyway, I now do not want to go and be in a very large crowd where anxiety will be triggered. I'm afraid of what it will be and not sure I want to put myself in that position. Keep a look out for the Boston Globe cover from last week, a beautiful tribute to those directly affected.
Let me take a minute to say I'm dreading all I see and all I will see on "Boston Strong". Let me tell you, I've never felt more weak in my life than I have at times over the last year. Boston Strong just aggravates me for what people think it means. Everyone I've met along the way who was there that day is strong. They leave their houses, they work, they try to move forward, but they don't have to be strong every second. This is one of the hardest things most of us will every deal with and it's okay to break down and feel it all. THAT makes us all strong. That makes us human.
Before I sign off, please also check out this beautiful project that I was honored to be part of. I've come to be friends with many of these people and the power of these photos is amazing. Dear World
Thanks for reading,