I am feeling fragile today, and easily broken. The sickness that started in my chest, then drifted up to my stuffed up cottonhead and melted out my nose, has finally settled in my left ear, leaving it feeling stopped up, deaf and useless, and full of something irritating yet invisible. A cupped hand out the window of a speeding car--a handful of caught air--is it something or nothing? But the ear, the ear...a trick of swollen tubes and air pressure and nothing, according to Google, to be too concerned about. And so I spent the morning talking too loudly, or perhaps too softly, trying to compensate, imploring my students to mumble their answers a bit more loudly, and cupping my hand futilely around my useless, wooden ear. Half of me feels like I am swimming underwater, and I fantasize about sticking sharp objects up there, just to relieve the pressure.
I overreacted to a slight from a friend, congratulating myself on the careful wording of my accusatory e-mail, which I thought could be interpreted as half-jokey, though in an anguished, melodramatic sort of way. But with the first three words of his response--"Ouch, what gives?"--I realized that my tone was perhaps not as ambiguous as I had intended, and instead I was just that kid crying in the kindergarten room because no one will share the blocks with her, and her ear hurts. But still. I like blocks too, you know? And it would be nice to be invited to play, once in a while.
A couple hours ago I blew my nose and something popped, hurt, and for a second I was breathless and hopeful. Was that it, was it better now? Was I fixed? A rushing sound, and then all I could hear was my own breathing. "Hello?" I said experimentally, in the middle of my empty kitchen. "Hello?" But it wasn't better. Now, instead of hearing sounds as if from underwater, my own voice echoed and rattled inside my head. I ate lunch to the sound of my own chewing, trapped inside a long, echoing hallway in my mind. I am always inside of my own head, perhaps too much, which is why I write, why I blog--a sharp instrument I use to relieve the pressure. I am used to living inside of my head, but at times, like now, it becomes almost too much to bear. And perhaps that's why my friend's slight, something I normally would have been able to brush off, became amplified out of proportion. Because I wanted, I needed to get out of my own head, even for one night, even for a few hours. But I didn't, and so the pressure builds. I sit alone, and all I can hear is my own breathing, and my own voice, my own insecurities amplified and reverberating against the inside of my skull. I am a prisoner of my own mind, scratching at the walls and screaming for someone to let me out, please, just get me out of here. "Hello?" I call out. "Hello?" There is a deep, rushing sound like the wind. But no one answers.