Thursday, January 27, 2011

Make Like a Tree and Leaf

I think the idea of finding ones self is a misnomer, kind of like trying to pull cookies out of an empty jar. What do you do when you're so lost there's nothing left to find? Do you make up something new? I have some memories of the person I used to be, and while some of it is revisionist history I remember being brave. I remember having dreams and an expectation of where my life was headed. I remember calling the boy and not waiting, commanding the attention of a dinner group with humor, of walking into my first job interview with confidence and hope, looking forward to new projects and having a passion for what I did. As circumstances of life changed, and I got older, I found myself allowing pieces of me to fall away like leaves on an autumnal tree. Now I'm standing here at 30, completely bare. It feels like it should be exciting or romantic - a movie-like reawakening that wraps up neatly in 90 minutes. But the reality of it, when you're standing alone in that moment, staring into the chasm of uncertainty and sorrow, everyday becomes an unbearable burden.

Some people describe the urge for change an "itch" - the seven-year relationship itch, an itch to move on, itchin' for a fight. For me, the urge for change is a radical, squeezing, heart-stopping pressure that's both a magnetic draw and a devastating reality. Typically, you don't run if your life is happy and successful. Its nothing new for me, this compulsion to run and evict my life. Things that are my own become foreign and strange in my hands. I truly begin to feel as if I'm in a stranger's home, wearing someone else's clothes, and everything around me seems staged and frivolous. Lock-jawed, I'm unable to maintain basic relationships or have normal conversations without having to pretend its something important. I don't like to be touched or cared about and find the slightest hint of intimacy painful. A hug becomes excruciating. My body and mind become hypersensitive and I seek out solitude as a way to find any sense of calm. Anything posing a challenge faces a severe slash-and-burn as I clear an escape route.

And here is where find myself once again - bare and lost and needing to run. And I'm pretty sure right now the whole damn forest is already on fire.

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