Where do we go from here? A place that’s not tangible that you can’t turn and whisper to or even pat on the back. The place that lives inside your mind: The place where I have dwelled and found comfort in for so long. Mind you, it’s not a place of fairytales or even that which you can visit. You usually just stay there and look out onto various variations of a self you can’t seem to get back to or furthermore, leave behind.
I’m 31 years old this year and four months in I still can’t seem to figure out what I’m doing with this life I’ve been given. It’s neither here nor there and yet I can’t quite seem to put my finger on the moment when the thing I’ve always wanted came to be. Being happy you ask, no that other thing: being content and satisfied with the wont’s, the cant’s and the for someone else’s. I’ve arrived ladies and gentleman and honestly I even got a bonus because here, where I am, feeling is a white wash version of itself. I simply go through the motions and I have no remorse for giving up so easily because what difference does it make at the end of the day. No one listens and well it doesn’t change anything and above all else the voices in my head have silenced themselves and if ever there was something to celebrate, I’d say that takes the cake.
Needless to say I have still managed to become a version of myself that I recognize and identify with and aren’t even afraid to look at in the mirror, but still can’t seem to accept. Life’s become a visit to the dentist and the anesthetic hasn’t worn off yet. But hey who am I to complain because while everything has no flavor and I sound a little funny… there’s no pain and its all I’ve ever pleaded for with the man upstairs, the powers that be, and the Gods! Just once answer my prayers, hear my voice, take me away from this place and here I am. It never rains in Southern California, but that doesn’t’ mean it doesn’t have its share of snow storms, volcanoes and depressions. And there you have it, I’ve said it out loud and that makes it real doesn’t it? Of course not, but why? Is a thing only real if you can touch feel and taste it? Breathe in its aroma and smash it? Own it, steal it and trash it? Corrupt it, Love it and stash it away until you find another way to excuse it? And then the wondering begins, how did we miss it, are we really that naïve to believe that it is only they who posses it?
No time for rabbit holes and rhymes, it’s a real thing. I thought I’d gotten rid of it and instead I just gave it a costume to wear and offered it free reign to follow me around undetected. Praying and waiting for just the right moment to once again volunteer its services. But we all have it in one form or another, the hell we can’t seem to leave, get right or escape. For some of us it shows up in the form of bills, in others its toxic relationships or horrible bosses. We turn to the left hoping you have it worse, with our offenses equaling none and that those on the right will one day get off their high horses and fess up that they too are not perfect. But how we deal is what defines us.
And then I had a dream that I was going through a chest. The chest was something I’d never seen before but I found myself curiously opening the hinges. I felt a stretch of familiarity and couldn’t explain the intensity and then I saw it. It was a jacket, the most beautiful jacket you’d ever seen. Victorian in style I was stoked to have stumbled upon such a find and I felt overwhelmingly compelled to try it on and as I whirled the cloth around my body to insert my arm I suddenly felt cold and as though something had taken over the air and space. Ignoring my better judgment, I placed one arm in and admired my reflection: it fit and I was going to look amazing in it but right before I tucked my other arm in the sleeve I threw down the jacket. It was my past creeping back into my soul trying to drag me back down to a place I had since fought blood sweat and tears. It took everything in me to leave that jacket and the chest behind because of what it represented; my refuge. A safe haven I had built despite the discomfort of my past.
And yet how amazing it felt to perceive warm inviting arms wide open to receive me without question of my disloyalty and the desperate urge to return to the long-ago of that place in my life that I refused to go back to. But that’s the funny thing about depression; take a second to reflect with me. In that moment, regardless of what it meant to go back to that dark place I would have traded my soul because THERE I knew ME a little bit better and who was I to leave my younger self stranded in the ashes of a black hole I created for her? It was easier to leave her there and move forward. There, where I felt the only thing that defined me were my shortcomings and my mistakes, my unattractiveness and my lack of experience because without them who was I?
Though, let us not forget Pleasantville USA where I am the belle of the ball and all I’ve ever wanted has come true, besides the happy part of course but even then I suppose I should be “happy” that it’s not where I used to be, right? But being the ugly duckling and getting passed off and sold short by people I once trusted doesn’t compare to the hurdles I jump through daily. You may not see it but I am suited up for battle every day I show up in your company. And truthfully I am not always a great fighter, I am not always the man up front, I am not ever the decorated soldier and by all means I am hardly ever the worthiest of the highest praise, but I show up; and out of all the fights I’ve ever fought I’ve gotten knocked down and can’t honestly say that I’ve won one of them, but I get back up. What does that look like? Despite my circumstance I will always show up fighting; strong, ready, willing and able.