On my tram ride home last night, I found a post on social media that really summed up the tightness in my chest. I’ve been battling with persistently worsening eye and neck skin issues for the past two to three weeks, not knowing when it will end or why it’s even rampant in the first place.

These weary eyes just want sleep all of the time, no matter how much rest they’ve been given. I don’t excessively party or abuse my body. She knows how much I’v tried caring for her over these last eight to ten years.

It’s like picking at a weed but never finding the root. I’ve never had a green thumb, so maybe it’s the same with my health. Pills, potions, injections, lotions, baths, liquids, serums, sums of the resilience I’ve managed to foster without folding. I was close to giving up in 2021/2022, but life is too precious to take with your own hands. I remember praying every night to not wake up the following day; to either see progress or to just allow the universe to end it all.

There have been breaks, but the fear is consistent. The pain, whether latent or present, is unapologetic. The CTSD, constant traumatic stress disorder, of it all is felt vibrating through my bones, my tendons, my sight, sometimes even my spirit.

I’m just wondering where strength and tenderness are meant to converge.

You see, I’m surrounded by tenderness. I have parents that would give up their own life for mine, a new partner who is the definition of thoughtful and affectionate, a city that is saturated in beauty, a community that sends words of encouragement, and projects that allow me to explore my passions and purpose. But, my exterior is not the supplement.

My body must create the tenderness — an internal eruption that travels down the routes of my veins and the sineus of every connective tissue. If I can cultivate strength and resilience, I therefore hold the power to cultivate its sister in the process of transforming physical grief into a body that knows there is more to life than weathering storms.

I have too many things, too many aspirations on my proverbial bucket list to keep cleaving these weeds with a mere trimmer. Tenderness is at the root. Tenderness is the marrow my body desperately needs.

For now, I’ll search for the tool best suited for the task. I’ll continue to marinate in the external tenderness I am shown in gentle hope that it’ll guide me towards a mechanism that lulls my strength to rest.

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