In a huff, I marched away from them. I left Sofie and Ben, standing at the base of the hill and stormed onward and upward. My body was stiff with anger, although I don’t even know what I was mad about. Even then, I’m not sure I knew what I was mad about. I just felt irritated and irrational. I needed the walk to blow off the steam, and I needed to storm off to feel better about being angry for no reason.
Understandably, Ben didn’t begin to follow at first, but after a while he began to make the hike up towards me. I could feel him following, so I slowed down just enough that he could catch up but not enough that he could tell that I was slowing down. I can be ridiculous and unyielding when I’m in a mood.
A storm was blowing over Edinburgh, and the tops of the long grasses were waving in the wind. The sky was split down the middle-storm clouds dark blue and purple on one side while the other side was sunny. It felt like the perfect weather for how I was feeling. When I got halfway up Arthur’s Seat, I began to see the city below me. It glowed in the split light, and it was breathtaking.
I breathed in, deeply. When Ben caught up, we talked. I was angry, but I don’t remember what I said. And in the end, I finally broke down. The wind whipped against my face, the grasses were waving wildly, raindrops had begun to fall slowly, one at a time, landing around us. And, to top it off, the sun was beginning to set. Every emotion had taken hold of me. There I was, in this beautiful city for the second time, and I was fighting with Ben over God knows what.
I don’t remember what he said to calm me down. I don’t remember any words except that I finally just said, “This year has been really hard.” As I said it, I burst into tears. And then I just stood there staring at Edinburgh, listening to the breeze, the city sounds and smells having disappeared. The hum of other tourists melting into the background. I sobbed, finally feeling a release.
All the stress and sadness and joy and fear and anger and frustration and excitement that I had been piling into my heart since Sofie’s birth was coming out in this city. That was probably the moment when Ben and I realized that I needed to talk to someone, to find a way through this postpartum depression or anxiety or emotional break I was going through.
I will never forget that moment. The words were, obviously, less than important to me. But the feeling of standing on that hill, feeling so angry that my body was rigid, and energy was ready to explode out of me, ready to flatten the city. Feeling like that and erupting into tears instead, finally feeling free of everything I’d felt all year was such a life-changing moment for me. And I have Edinburgh to thank for that. This trip that I insisted on taking with a 9-month-old, trekking across Europe for a whole month, was the thing I absolutely could not have survived without.