Saturday, November 07, 2009

Older, Farther Away

The sun filtered its rays through the blinds and onto the spread of the sheet before me as they did yesterday and the day before that, unfettered and bright and harsh. I sat up in bed, apprehensive and unnerved struggling to shut my eyes and strangely determined to keep them that way for what I could only describe as a substantial amount of time. Alert and steady, my eyes shot a glance at the cell phone appropriately positioned on the bedside table which read ‘7:30am’ matter-of-factly and intimidating. The steady whir of the fan above served to remind me just how far I am from home, where I would expect the cold fingers of autumn to creep slowly and steadily in through struggling cracks and crevices in old windowsills of my past, instead feeling the scorch of summer pervade what was once the familiar, sweeping rush of seasonal transition through the months of fall.

The echoes of people’s voices still filled the corridors of my mind; the seemingly endless rain of best friends during a lengthy stay in Pennsylvania (a joy that I cannot appreciate and much less describe the appreciation for to them), the laughter of my kid cousins in Toronto during an unexpected trip to visit my aged grandmother, a drunken, stupid fight I started in Port Arthur (to which I’m probably not welcomed back) after an amazing weekend, endless drunk dials from those voices in my past who just refuse to stay there. A lot has been happening that has given me the treasured opportunities to experience what it was once like to be free of worry again and to be with people who not only understood what it was like to completely unravel in life’s challenging fray, but yet, wanted to understand. And some opportunities to destroy all that also. There is this unfair balance between applauding my developing independence from these life factors and wallowing from the loneliness that stems from it. I find myself longing for the old feelings of listening to friends who are just as unsure of tomorrow as I am but ultimately for the feeling of wanting to share in that experience. I am far too far from home and running out of ways and reasons to escape back to it. For the most part here in Houston, everyone revels in the illusion that everything’s figured out in what to do, what’s going to happen to them, when to do things. Who to be with. And the biggest mask I wear serves to show everyone that maybe so do I and that maybe I’m not in trouble…only to find myself withdrawing into the shadows again when it comes time to answer the really tough questions, to bear the mantle of being comfortable with who I really am and to answer for it. I gather that I am finally beginning to realize one of my deepest most profound of concerns is that there are certain people who are really beginning to understand who I am [who I’m supposed to be], who may really begin to know me [really know me]. People are calling me out on flaws I use as reasons not to be around others, and yet there are those who I am sadly losing in the grand scheme perhaps once and for all, slipping through my fingers as similar have done in life and just as easily, frightening me beyond reason, all without the guiding hand of control or intent. There was this little trick many of us used back in our developmental stages of life, when we lacked reason or logic, when we would shut out the world by burying our face in our hands because if we can’t see the world, there’s no way the world can see us. I guess a big part of who I am wants to be that child again.

It’s so hard, trying so hard to be worthy and deserving of something, and I may leave here with nothing but that lesson, learned.

I can’t sleep anymore. It physically hurts to go to bed sometimes. It reminds of me of an episode of this show, where the lead character is imbued with the ability to read people’s minds, but as the power develops, she can’t shut it off. Just the endless banter of voices and thoughts and feelings flooding her mind at every moment all at once. A din. When I turn off the lights, and pull up the covers and close my eyes, the voices just start arguing. How many things I forgot to do. Where I went wrong in the week’s failures. Why I said this to that person and how I can fix the things I did that certain weekend.

I sat awake once. For a long time. And just started crying.

I work through the night to convince myself I am more productive than those who choose to rest and sleep in the quiet city around me, and I attempt to sleep throughout the day to shut out the unheard sounds of voices and typing and street noises beyond these walls. I can’t leave my room. I feel I’ve grown accustomed to the confine of these walls, and if I’m not cocooned inside, then it’s a step back in every aspect because I am not at my desk, searching, waiting, wishing, learning, emailing, paying bills, paying attention to a world that just isn’t paying attention to me, in hopes that maybe for just a second, it will. All of this productive ‘work’ really to disguise that I’m still not comfortable being me. And being here. And that is tough to say. And that’s why I have to leave.

I spend a long time in the shower when I’m not in my bed struggling with sleep problems, staring blankly into the tiles before me, hoping to the heavens that the scalding water will wash away my sins, my worries and my horrible karmic curse. For a time, and in the current present, I have replaced the ample promises of beer with the flow of cheap wine, almost exclusively. All of this was for the achievement of once familiar purities of graduation’s promises; to the simple awards of having left home to gain a newfound sense of self in the open horizons of the unfamiliar world. I look back to the beginnings upon the small triumphs that brought about happiness: my lone weekend trips to Galveston beach armed with a cooler of meat, my “portable” grill and a good book, stopping by the pool hall around the corner to play off the stresses of a retail day, decorating the tree and making the star that fit atop, my visits to the driving range to develop a golf swing that never really developed. Creating elaborate and intentionally fanciful meals [just to say that I did it] on the cold winter nights and setting the table for two [just to say that I did it] when my only company was the television’s banter. I miss the awkward comfort of being alone or doing alone things while not being so very self-aware.

I left home where I felt that comfort and safety and love, chased something that really wasn’t there to begin with, and am going to run away again with the kind of fear and hope you shoot for in the darkest of rooms, waiting and watching for a way out. And my “go” flag is all I’m waiting for. The little white flag in my inbox that will let me know when to shut this chapter and relatively dark time in my life, and to finally open up again to the adventure that may await, and finally give me the permission to feel this kind of loneliness for a good reason: experience. Just thinking again, to pack it all up and do it all over. Just the way I did it before, and yet again, somewhere far, further, farthest away. And it’s all been a dream to be here.

And the biggest fear, in the end of all things, in the midst of present expectations and worries and in the terrifying but important retrospect is that as I have in the past, and to a place very far from home, I’m again chasing just that. A dream.

Current Song: Andy Davis "Please Turn Red"

Earth-Shattering Revelation #24: Sometimes, it really is just time to go and leave it all behind, just like it left you.