I should be typing up part 8 of my little series right now – the one where I describe, in full detail, what exactly transpired when I disappeared several weeks ago.
And not like, the good, refreshing kind of disappeared where you tell everyone you’re heading to the health food store, but really you drive to Barnes & Noble, buy a double chocolate chunk cookie the size of your face from the fake Starbucks that doesn’t accept Starbucks gift cards even though their sign says Starbucks and they sell all the same shit as Starbucks, and you take your mammoth cookie and you just curl up and read half a book from the young adult section on a squishy chair that is more comfortable than anything you’ve got in your real house and then just pretend that you live there for about 30 minutes before you put the book back and pretend it’s not what you were looking for after all.
Not like that.
I mean, full-blown, “there’s an entire town in Missouri swarming with cops brandishing a poster with my face on it” kind of missing.
So far, cataloging all of this on a public forum has been super therapeutic for me, even if the subject matter is ridiculously dark. It’s helping me to sort through what happened in a chronological and systematic way, and it’s bringing to light a lot of minute details that I otherwise would’ve forgotten or waved off as not important.
And it’s SO very important. All of it.
But at the same time, I’m rather exhausted.
In writing about all of this, I’m forced to re-live it for a second time, and that can be pretty stressful in it’s own right.
It sucked hard the first time. The second’s not much of an improvement.
It’s not just that that’s got me feeling kind of low today. I can’t pinpoint what it is exactly, I’m just… down.
Maybe it’s the rainy, cool temps bleeding into my psyche over time. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve returned to a city I’ve spent half my life trying to escape.
Maybe it’s the fact that I feel… stuck. Paused. Still.
While everyone else seems to be moving forwards, I’m trapped somewhere in the middle.
My dad texted me earlier this morning, asking how things are going… how I’m feeling today.
‘Remember that wicked-bad traffic jam we were stuck in on the way up here from Missouri? I kinda feel like I did then.’
The jam I’m referring to was one of those nightmare bumper-to-bumper scenarios right smack in the middle of downtown Detroit on I-94.
During rush hour.
Our car was inching ahead so slowly, that the ‘estimated time of arrival’ on the GPS was INCREASING the further we went.
’10 minutes ago we were 55 minutes away from our destination. Now we’re 58 minutes away…’ I’d confirmed aloud. ‘The closer we get to the finish, the longer it takes to actually GET THERE!’
My dad had sidelong glanced at me, and then…
… as we sat in the stuffy, immobile truck and peered out into the endless sea of vehicles…
… and beyond them to the backdrop of multiple abandoned factories-turned-crackhouses with their busted-out windows and graffiti-ridden walls…
… my dad whispered, in the dreamiest voice he could conjure:
It was a spoof on those ridiculous Michigan Tourism commercials that make Detroit look like a friendly, safe, and culture-rich city that welcomes outsiders with a gentle, loving embrace.
It was perfect.
I’d just taken a sip from my water bottle, and sprayed a fine mist of it onto the dashboard as we both doubled over in laughter. It was my favorite moment of the entire trip.
And yet here I sit yet again, metaphorically stuck between the roadblocks of my own life, watching as everyone in the adjacent lane zooms ahead and leaves me in their dust.
Forced to wait with the engine idling, while we titrate my new Bipolar medicine to a dose that’s even remotely therapeutic.
It’ll take 6 weeks to even get to a place where the medicine is concentrated enough to notice a difference. And even then, we may discover that the medicine doesn’t work. What then? Then we repeat this process again and again and again until we find the right cocktail.
It could potentially take years to dial it in just right. But I can’t think about that right now. It makes me so fucking sad, and, even more-so… frustrated.
I want to stick my head out of the car and loudly curse the heavens.
Why is this happening to me? Why did I get stuck in this shitty lane while everyone else plows ahead around me?
Why do I have to be left behind while everyone else moves forward in life?
Why do I have to become a spectator, while everyone else gets to be a participant?
Why am I surrounded by other people’s life progress, while I sit here, stagnant?
WHY WHY WHY WHY
I’ll never know.
All I can do right now is remind myself that, although I may not be moving forward, that doesn’t mean that I’m moving backwards.
I force myself to remember that we are all on this freeway together, but that doesn’t mean we all have to get off on the same exit.
I may be trapped at this mile marker, but who’s to say that the guy who just passed me doing 80, doesn’t have to travel twice as far as me to get to his destination?
My journey… is exactly that.
And right now, all I can do is roll the windows down, put on some 90’s gangster rap, and enjoy the fucking ride.
Even if the wheels aren’t moving.