“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared dreaming before.”
– Edgar Allen Poe
I’ve gone all week with so little sleep I’m not certain this will make sense; not that any of it does anyhow.
“A break-through of ‘cognitive dissonance'”, the counselor informs me. As if that brings me any comfort. My fingertips blood red from the constant wringing of my hands; the remainder of the flesh devoid of color. The pain of doing so, while a necessary distraction, still demonstrates how very different the worlds are that he and I live in. The minutes eternally pass by until I can retreat to what I know, back to my world inside a box. “It isn’t good, it isn’t bad, it just is”, his parting words still ringing in my ears even now.
I just want to run. To allow the wind to carry me to some other-worldly place where I’m not dysfunctional, to dwell among the smiling, laughing faces and not feel life being squeezed out of me.
“It just is”. Let’s break that down.
The only time I feel any sort of comfort anymore outside these four walls is in the wild. Trees that whisper soothing words that the wind gently carries. A brook calmly bubbling in earshot; songs of birds sweetly permeating the air.
Hope, something I’ve always held close. Hope that someday, someday I WILL get better. Surely this job is the one I’ve been seeking, maybe this coffee shop is the place I can rest my feet, perhaps this city park will bring me joy. Hope. Hope that I no longer have.
Coming to grips with the monster that resides underneath the strained smiles and confidence, the non-me exterior that I have tried (and miserably failed so many times) to hold onto. To show to others I’m just as “normal” as they are. A disaster waiting; only a matter of time before this exterior crumbles and I resort back to solitude. Unanswered calls, texts never looked at, emails deleted.
Distractions, ever present. The alternative? Looking inward. An ongoing malfunction that only exponentially grows with the ticking of the clock that is life.
So I run. Backpack on, shoes tied tightly, the sun long since set; all check. A now-familiar stretch of road, slick and black with rain, stretches out eternally. Umbrella gripped with whitened knuckles until I blessedly can no longer see the synthetic brightness of a streetlamp; the blinding exchange of a car lighting up the otherwise calm darkness. Here, here I can breathe. No one around for the facade to show its charming, ugly self.
Increasingly desperate rain penetrating the bottom half of my body; meaningless, save the additional noise of the squish with each passing step. Hours go by, my body starts protesting; I ignore it and press on, towards my (always) unknown destination.
Answers, those bloody fucking answers to the most important questions I have, hang dangling like a carrot on a stick. My feeble attempts to grab at it continuously brings only further frustration.
What is my purpose? Clearly, I’m not meant for society; consumerism, commercialism, hatred fueled on by the collective desire for greed and power. Am I to be a wanderer? A hermit living off the land? Or just continue to rot, displeased with my (lack of) accomplishments?
Where does this leave me? Dependent on a government I hate, suffocated by any outside interaction; a gnawing (and growing) distaste for not being “normal”. While the Valium I gladly accept to stop the eternal search for impossible answers in my head, they do little to improve my overall mental state. Instead of a whirlwind of what-ifs, I now face the beast head on. It’s no longer a matter of what if.
It just is.
Returning after many traveled miles (I must beat the morning traffic back home, after all), I see the familiar sickening glow of civilization becoming increasingly brighter with every passing squish of my shoes. As I shuffle past that first god-forsaken streetlight, I feel the familiar panic start to set in, quickly followed by a new emotion: revulsion.
Distrust, pain, anguish, self-loathing and contempt keep me from leading a “normal” life. I’m finally facing the fact I am who I am. It’s becoming increasing harder to keep the bile of that fact from spewing out of my frothing mouth.
Life. Living. Enjoyment. Satisfaction. I need to rediscover those again, rethink the puzzle that has no clear solution.
How do I just let go? How do I learn to love that which I’ve hated the entirety of my short existence? Will I ever break the stick and get the carrot?
I continue to run…. after all, it just is.