November 30, 2018

mile marker

I remember driving home after visiting friends in Kenosha, Wisconsin in my early twenties.  We had driven down I-57 for what seemed like three forevers, through countless miles of stark, featureless winter farmland.  Illinois is long.  We finally passed through Urbana.  Then we saw a green, rectangular highway sign.  It read: "Memphis - 415 mi."

I knew despair.  It was as close as I've come to an ability to ponder the concept of infinity.

Therapist Gumby says I am not the same person I was a year and a half ago, and I don't think he means cellular division.

I blink at him when he says this.  I cannot see it.

But today, I will try to see it.

I'm wearing a necklace this morning.  It's a leather strap with a hammered copper medallion.  I am wearing it and miraculously, I am not experiencing a sensation of being choked, of gasping for air.  It's been a very long time since I wore a necklace.  I rather like it.

I'm in the midst of a preoccupation with someone, but this time, I'm approaching it with something akin to world-weariness, the anticipation of having to get a flu shot, the upcoming child's birthday party and wondering if I'm going to royally fuck it all up as an incompetent parent, and knowing how exhausting it's going to prove.  Driving through fog down a road that I've driven hundreds and hundreds of times before, surroundings familiar yet strange.  A combination of all of the above.  I'm still angry that this happens, but I'm also wiser, and equipped, and resigned.

I'm not writing as much.  The sense of desperation to be known has lessened, so the frequency driven by that need has abated.  I now write when a spark comes my way, but the sparks have settled into a rhythm, and I am wary of how comfortable I am with that.  This is still change.  I am not the same writer I was a year ago.

As for the rest of the work we find before us, I feel I'm standing still, stuck, unable to progress in the least.  The episodes of self-injury still take me and I have mustered only ephemeral defenses against them.  I still bruise the right side of my face when I deserve to be punished.  I still have not transcended to the point where the preoccupations do not occur.  The weight of guilt for all the wrong I've done still visits and settles on my weak shoulders.  I'm still prone to irrational behavior in hypomania and to feeling depression will grip forever.  Trauma is still triggered.

I read this inventory, and look down at my necklace, and think about the object of my current obsession and how it's a little easier this morning, and then look at all of the things that may well never budge.  The highway is unbearably long and it feels I will never get there.  And I may not.

But I choose gratitude.

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