acknowledging the wreck
You know that moment right before you’re about to fall asleep – when everything is faded and fuzzy? It’s a slow fade into nothing…except when your brain decides to dredge up that really embarrassing moment when you were 14. Or you find yourself suddenly questioning what you’re doing with your life – and oh my god, you’re suddenly convinced that you’re kind of failing at everything. Or why, precisely, it feels like your love life is a very bad sitcom. This in-between moment is when you realize a simple truth: your brain is an asshole.
Of course, the reality is that the likely circumstance isn’t that these things appear out of nowhere. It’s more likely that you’ve just been studiously avoiding confronting these fears during the day. Finally, when you are no longer running and there’s nothing and no one to distract you, they rear their ugly little heads and cling onto you for dear life. So, mayyyybe your brain isn’t the asshole you think it is. Maybe it’s you. Wait, that came out wrong. Maybe it’s simply your brain’s way of saying, “Helllllllo, there’s this THING you should be dealing with.” Maybe you ran into someone you knew when you were 14, and that triggered the crappy memory. Maybe one of your friends posted something seemingly awesome on Facebook that made you a teensy bit jealous/worried – because you’re looking at a carefully crafted image of that person’s life, with none of the mess. (Side-note: do not compare your life to ANYONE else’s. It’s not a competition. It’s not a race. And the truth is that sometimes getting everything you wanted – on paper – isn’t as fulfilling as you hoped/imagined.) As for the love life thing…well, who hasn’t been there?
The heart of the matter is that things we often try and run away from, or ignore, are the things that keep chasing us. Like wolves. Hungry, rabid wolves. Dire wolves. And if you keep trying to flee, you’re a lovely moving target. So, it is important to handle what needs handling. Because it doesn’t go away.
As such, a confession: I started running the very moment I began to feel like this. I haven’t run in two years. I started running, initially, as a coping mechanism. This past weekend, I realized that I’m trying to use running as a coping mechanism again, and I’m basically a cliché. You see, here’s a second confession: this coming weekend, for me, is a hard one. It’s Mother’s Day, and it would’ve been my mother’s birthday. I have a shorter tolerance for humanity than usual. My first reaction to everything has been utter and total snark. I’ve managed, so far, to keep my wayward mouth closed (it does really seem, though, that people are being dumber than usual – which is NOT helping). But you know how things tend to build? Well, there’s that. And there’s really no outlet. There’s no one to really be angry at. There’s nothing to really do about it. It isn’t like I can avoid everything until Mother’s Day is over (but DEAR GODS, if I get ONE more add for something I should buy my mother for the holiday, I may explode). These are moments that you have to just get through. Plain and simple.
Except, honestly: it sucks monkey balls. So, I’m also acknowledging the suck. And the fact that I’ve been having dreams about my mom for the past week. Because, hey, nothing like my subconscious being a jerk. Dare I say, an asshole? Add to all this the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of self-evaluating, lately. I’ve been making some huge changes (huge, for me). There are people I’d normally talk to about all this who I’m not. That is not necessarily making life easier at all. But here’s a third confession: I’m stubborn. And I never want what isn’t freely given. I’m almost never going to ask for help or attention – and if I do manage to do that, it’s extremely difficult for me (so, feel special). I’ve always been the person who gives 3,000% – without expectation. That has, on occasion, given people the erroneous idea that I’ll always do that. Which…no. Nobody should do that in any relationship. On so many levels, I’m tired of running. I’m tired of not getting anywhere. I’m tired of being on that proverbial, and occasionally literal, treadmill.
I cannot outrun reality. I can’t outrun my own feelings. And it’s ironic how many people I’ve told exactly that to – and it seems I’m finally taking my own advice. Which means you should expect the apocalypse or at the very least flying pigs. Perhaps a small plague of locusts. This is me, being honest about what isn’t pristine or pretty.
So, I’m not running. I’m standing right here. I’m not diving into the wreck – but I am acknowledging it. There’s nothing noble about trying to pretend that everything’s fine when it isn’t. And I know that we often all do just that – smile for the sake of whatever. And I find myself wanting to know: what is it that you, perhaps, are avoiding right now? What are you smiling through, when that really isn’t how you feel? How fast are you running, without really getting anywhere? (And, you know, if you want to talk – but you don’t want to do it here – send me an email. I’ll listen. Er, read.)
“I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.” ~Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck”