It’s a vise grip. I try to breathe into it like they taught me but there is no release. In fact, it further denies me any respite by pulling my scalp tight over my eyes and then back again. My ears fill with air.
It feels like my eyebrows are furrowed even though I just checked them with my hands and in the mirror and they are not.
Breathing does help some. I breathe backward into my head, hoping to loosen it up. But no, it still feels like I’ve just gotten my braids done by the African woman on Woodland and, per usual, they are tighter than all the pants in an 80’s metal hair band. Except I don’t have braids. And my hair has been free for a while now.
A mirage, I suppose.
Nevertheless, my head is a bowling ball. Heavy and black and rolling loosely on my neck which strains under its pressure. Veins stand at attention. Muscles do their Roddy Piper thing and bulge and bulge and bulge like tight rubber bands ready to snap.
And the worse part is this: the realization that pain feels way more familiar, that discomfort is way more commonplace, than relaxation has ever been. When my meds or meditation or whatever it is I’m trying this week kicks in, my head finally releases its hold and tingles with relief and, if I’m honest, that scares the daylight out of me.
How do I embrace painlessness when it’s been years and maybe decades since I’ve known it?