I am not where I was. This grim prison is no longer my home. Its dark walls do not hem me in. I do not suffer each day behind its bars. You will not find me in the corner sitting in that hard chair, staring through the window, praying for the sun to shine on me, to light up my life and not leave me cold and dark-hearted. I did not renew the lease. I simply couldn’t afford it. The rent asked too much of my soul. I am no longer locked in with the key just beyond my reach. I don’t remember moving out, but I dwell here no longer. You can’t keep me here. This place is not my home.
These are not my clothes. Their style and size do not fit me anymore. I can’t squeeze them on. I won’t raise their hems. I am no longer in mourning. I have lost the weight; my heart is lighter now. I will not wear weariness. I will not wrap myself in that blue-gray shroud. I can no longer endure those coarse threads. I am not comfortable putting on those somber vestments. These are not my clothes.
This is not my song. This is not my guttural cry, my plea for help, my mournful music. I no longer sing dirges. I do not note the darkness. You may sing me a sad song, but I will not conduct it. Tears may run from my eyes, but they no longer flow through my veins. I sing with an upbeat now. I move with harmony not melancholy. This is not my song. I won’t sing it.
These are not my companions, visiting sadness upon me—daily coming to my door to tell me the depression is just in my head when I know for a fact that it has infected my whole body. She is a lacking confidant, reopening my wounds with well-intentioned words that only do harm. He can’t be trusted, offering me hugs that hold me back and down. The truth is we were never friends. I was just being polite—putting on a brave face, a fake smile, and all the while hoping these unwelcome guests would get the hint and leave. They do not have my best interests in mind. I’ve let them go. They’re no longer welcome in my home.
This table was not set for me. Its chalice is full of bitters I no longer drink. I do not crave the meal cooked with a heavy heart—never hot and satisfying—always unsavory and lukewarm. If the chef was consumed by death, I’m not eating. I feast at the banquet of the living. Do not offer me stale bread and old wine. Do not serve me your slim pickings; I have untied the knots in my stomach, so there is room for more. There is nothing I can relish here. Now that I have a restored appetite for life, I want to be full. Your attempt at sustenance leaves me starving. I am not eating here.
This is not my bed. You will not find me in it, pressed down by sheets upon sheets of sadness, nursing my wounds, wrapped in a blanket that is not a comforter, trying to escape into dreams. I will not be depressed by the thought of rising up. I will not rest my head upon pillows that are tear soaked. I have woken up from my half-sleep, refreshed the linens, and gone about living. Now I rise with the sun, and even when it’s dark outside, there’s a light within. This bed is not for me.
This is not my burden. I am not successor to Sisyphus. I will not bear a heavy heart forever. Even when my mother passed away—so suddenly—I did not inherit Atlas’s legacy. I’ve worked out—exercised the full range of my emotions, even the heavier ones. Now I’m strong enough to bear the weight of the world, but I can also set it down. It’s not mine to carry. I’m leaving my arms free for delight and laughter and love. I will not let death dictate my life. This burden is not for me.
I am not where I was. I no longer live in mourning. I’m an expatriate now. I’ve surrendered my passport and no longer accept sympathy cards. Don’t look for me there. Don’t put that address on my form. I’ve come to mourning’s end because it’s a dead-end street—it could only take me so far. Those darker states of being still send me postcards, and sometimes I write back or visit, but I don’t live there anymore. I’m not where I was. I’ve moved on.