There are times, and this is sadly for you not going to be one of them, where I am at a loss for words. Times where my thoughts and feelings have gotten so “on top of me” that I lack, for all my talent and ability, the words to express them. Where I find myself unable to hold onto any one of them long enough to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, fast enough to purge them from my brain. And that can be both frustrating and humbling. Frustrating because I am the type of person for whom thoughts and feelings hold a certain weight that require a release from time to time. Otherwise they stay where they are and continue to feed gaining further weight and gravity. It’s humbling because I have, at times, fancied myself a talented, if slightly unskilled, writer and as such should be able to write anytime and about anything. But it’s those times of unruly thought and emotion, where I am unable to wrestle even one thought to the regulation number of falls to gain a victory, that reveal my weakness in this regard.
I mean, this post in and of itself, as well as a few others, are perfect evidence of this fact. I can wax on ad naseum about my inability to describe my thoughts and feelings (ironically, this post itself is an expression of both) but have been unable, all day, to simply describe a single feeling swirling about my brain. The obvious reason for this is that there are a myriad of them all vying for primacy. As if my tortured brain were the venue for a championship “battle royal” in which the victor is granted the realization of his wildest fantasy. It is, putting aside my more intellectual side for a moment, pretty fucked up. But such is the state of things and writing is often my best, and only, means of choosing the victor for myself (if left to them the results would inevitably not be very pretty once the battle were done.) So when I find myself between rounds, and hopefully able to appraise the battle ground with some degree of perspective, it is annoying to have the fray re-ensue before I am able to even get a look at the wounded.
I am in a place in my life that I, in many ways, never expected I would ever be. And, for reasons best left to one of those magical moments where I’m afforded a degree of perspective, don’t really understand how I got here. How I came to be sitting in a field overlooking a reservoir trying, fruitlessly, to come to terms with this place in my life. To begin in any one place, with any one facet, of my new life would be difficult but one must start someplace to get anything done. The question is where. What is so different about this place from what I expected for it to earn a greater degree of scrutiny over the rest? I suppose, if forced, as I have made myself, I would have to state simply being here is the place to start. I wrote a few days ago about one of the times I almost died, or rather my feelings arising from the state of my life since that one instance. But it was only one of twenty-one times where I nearly shuffled off this mortal coil. I know that I have either written about, or alluded to, a few of the others here in the past several years but never revealed the exact number of times. It is staggering, especially given a mostly uneventful life, to see that number and reflect on that. So that is why it deserves special attention when the question arises of where to start when considering the strangeness of the place my life is. I simply never thought I would live to see thirty. It just never occurred to me. Trust me though, I’m certainly happy that I have done. And despite my being either directly or indirectly responsible for each of those twenty-one near misses with death, I probably wouldn’t have done anything differently because at least I’m still here to talk about it. And all those times add a wonderful spice and flavor to every breath I am still able to take, so I wouldn’t change a thing.
So that’s probably the best place to begin, but what must follow to give any indication that I’ve properly considered myself and this new life? That’s likely going to be trickier, especially given the nature and specifics of the way this post began. I will certainly miss something, requiring another overly verbose post sometime in future to rectify, for myself, this discrepancy. But next will be, as it is most immediately pressing, the trip I am four days out from. I am taking, for lack of a better phrase, a voyage of discovery. What I hope to discover I cannot say, other than perhaps something new about life. Whether it is about my own or simply about life in general, matters not to me. It is the discovery, even the possibility that there is nothing to discover, that is important. Setting aside all the import of how the last paragraph affects all others, this is something I never thought I would do. I viewed life here with my family, friends, work, and people I loved as voyage enough. And to a very real extent I still do. Every day, if you are open to it, reveals something new and beautiful about life. Every day brings new lessons to learn and new tools with which to grow. But I have mined my particular patch of land dry. I need to leave it fallow for a season if I ever hope to see anything grow there again. My tools have become blunt and broken and I need to go find new ones if I ever hope to harvest more from this land. So I’m leaving my dried up, though comfortable, patch of land to find a way to pour life back into it. And that’s something I never thought I would do. Certainly not alone the way I am. I never thought I would use up what was good here to the point that I would need to find a way to put life back into it. I never thought I would ever walk away from it on my own, even for the short period that I have planned. But I need to. I’ve seen too much that was good wither away and die because there was no longer any life left in the ground to feed it. I experienced one too many failed harvests to think everything here is fine. So I’m leaving to feed life back into this place so that the next seed planted might take root and become something of lasting beauty.
The next thing to consider about this new life has more to do with the old one but, since I wouldn’t be here without it, it deserves its due. I never thought I would be here wearing a ring that was meant to symbolize my everlasting love for, and binding to, a beautiful woman. The unexpectedness doesn’t spring from her beauty, which is considerable, but rather from the fact that I was VERY nearly married. I’ve had girlfriends before, and cared for at least a few of them, and no doubt some of them cared for me as well, but never thought a woman would love me enough to accept a proposal from me. Now the reasons for this are varied and complex so explanation is difficult. At least any explanation that wouldn’t make me sound like Virginia Wolfe or some eye shadow wearing Goth kid. Suffice to say I was surprised to find a woman who said she loved me and who, at times, sincerely meant it the way I wanted her to. Things didn’t work out though, which is being incredibly charitable to the way it feels at times, so I find myself here. The old saying that “it’s better to have loved and lost…” has taken on some sort of meaning to me now. I without a doubt am overjoyed to have felt that love from her, and to have been able to give her mine, but losing it is one of those unruly feelings that I’ve yet to master adequately. I still love her, as you will likely have either read or figured out by now, and am both happy and angry about that. I’m happy because it means that what I, at least, felt was real and honest. I’m happy because it means I haven’t become bitter to the point of forgetting who I am inside. It’s still surprising though because I never expected to continue loving someone, at least not quite as much as I do, who took so much from me and left so much pain. And I never expected to be angry about loving someone. I am angry at her for making me love her, for expecting it of me, and then walking away. It is a painful feeling, that anger, but part of the landscape of this new life.
Other details are easier to describe, but the difficult ones are really the most surprising. I have had people reach out to me in surprising and unexpected ways. There are some people who continue to pursue, or in a few cases demand, a friendship with me that reasonably should have ended when my old life did. Those friendships should have ended because they were part of that life and would not have existed had I never found it. But I did and these people will not let me go off into this new one without at least some part of them coming with me. Don’t get me wrong, I feel incredibly happy and blessed because of this; it’s just nothing I ever thought would happen. That’s not to say that I don’t feel I deserve their friendship, it’s just that I wouldn’t have blamed them in the least for choosing the side of the fence I wasn’t on. It would have been logical and understandable. But, I guess, I ended up being more likable than I thought. (I honestly think I’m more of a vaguely, at best, lovable jerk than inherently likable. But I’m not really the best judge of much, and the absolute worst of myself.)
There are plenty of other unexpected details to this new life I find myself in. There is a new found strength in myself that I didn’t know was there. A new found determination and confidence that I never had. There’s also been a new depth of pain revealed, deeper than I believed could exist. A new appreciation for so much that was subsumed by my overwhelming love for the woman who delivered me to this place. There is a new level of hope, as well as hopelessness, in this life. In short, it is a life as fully realized as my last. The flavors and textures are different, the framework and landscape aren’t what I hoped for in life, but it is real. This life is real and, as much as I wish my old one had never ended, I have to learn to live in it. I’ve got to touch and feel everything I can. I have to take everything good and everything bad and wrap myself in it otherwise this life will drift away as quickly as the last one did. And who knows what I’d lose this time. Certainly not as much as when I walked out of that apartment that I called home for so long. But at the end of the day who knows.
I started this post off bemoaning my inability to describe my thoughts and feelings. And though I have sat here and typed a veritable tome (not the easiest thing to do on an iPhone) about where I’m at in life, I still cannot do what I hoped I could. I’ve described details, facets, and minutia of the place my life is but I still cannot say how I feel about that. I’m in this brief moment where the battle going on in my head and heart has come to a stand still, where the combatants have retreated to their separate camps to rally their strength, but the wounded litter the field and stain the ground with their blood. It is not an easy sight to see and every thought and feeling that has been left on the field cries out for attention, for mercy. I want to help, to heal, but who among them deserves to be saved, to be released? I don’t know because the cries and the carnage are too much to absorb. It is all far too much to look upon with any kind of perspective; so I must wait till the crying stops, till the thrashings of agony cease. Then hopefully I can march out onto the field, grab a thought or a feeling, take a good look at it and set it free. It would be a blessing to both me and to it to be able to do this. There would be one less thing crashing around inside me causing damage and distraction. But until I can do that, until I can start letting go of these thoughts and feelings, I’m still going to find myself trying to describe, even if only to myself, what is going on inside of me. And that is, in a multitude of ways, a terrible future to look forward to. But at least I have this new life to explore while trying to find a way to come to terms with the loss of my old one.