And that becomes the perspective, the playset life, the stepping out of a scene undesirable.
You always run. The first hint of trouble, you run. You wonder if you should have run earlier, thinking of the times you didn’t escape soon enough, of the times when you were warned but didn’t pay attention. You shoulder it all beneath the weight of blame, believing you should have known. You see the root of ‘should’ in shoulder and wonder why you never saw that before, how the difference in sound masked this reality.
You can’t help thinking of how early influences are poisoning your life, and when you hear the words, “Maybe you should complain more,” you consider what that would be like. But you say nothing, only that you don’t like to complain. You remember your sister’s words about how there was no one to hear your complaints and you wonder if complaining has been bred out of you.
Your friend tells you you appear too strong, and you realize you’ve lost your voice of connection, how you can no longer speak of your reality, and how you’re drifting further and further away, that solitude has become the only place that feels familiar.
You tell no one.
You change your bed linens to pure white and start living in the world of no color. This is the land where your dreams are born, but you can’t be certain because none are remembered. You don’t know how to answer the question of how you spent your day because saying you floated above it would scare the questioner.
But you are floating because you can’t anchor in the world of hatred, in the world of divisions and rush rush rush. You float above because your perspective doesn’t allow you to be within, and you wonder when this shift happened, when you began to live above the earth, when parties and dinners and common interactions started to feel so foreign.
You remember once living with someone, only you don’t. It appears in your memory like a book you once read but that didn’t touch you deeply. All of life feels unfamiliar and that’s why you grow quiet because you know no ears could understand these words. You know you can’t explain what it means to be an alien in your native land.
Others smile, see your state as a phase, but you know it’s bigger than that. You know your idealism has been massacred by the news that seeps under your front door, through the little crack that allows outside in, the place where you forgot to lay down protection. You want to say that no matter what happens a week from Tuesday you will no longer be who you once were because you’ve been saddened beyond a place of redemption, that you’ve seen ugly where you never knew ugly existed in a way you never allowed to be imagined, in a form so disheartening that even if your candidate wins you know that you can never feel as you once did.
You want these ten days to pass because you hope that you’ll be able to breathe again with a gap in the airwaves, when news anchors and campaign leaders crawl home in exhaustion wondering how they weathered it all.
But then there’s the other half of you, the half that believes this will never be over because some story will linger. A dispute or thievery or something odd and unimaginable. The noise in your head has grown so loud that you no longer believe it can go away. You no longer can imagine calm and silence and a collective sigh of relief because, you see, you already fear the infighting.
You have been poisoned and you wonder what kind of purging can clean the soul. You wish a wave of burning sage could smudge your psyche, your heart, and reset both on the dial of idealism, of optimism, of hope.
Your trust in decency and good has been shattered and only a time machine can take you back to you.
The getting away. That is the consistent fantasy. A quiet life on a quiet island where no news matters, where society can only progress in teeny tiny increments, where slow is really slow. No alarm clock, no schedule, no questioning of why. Simple.
You’ve lost simple and only this fantasy gives you its glimpse.
Your life has been on the run ever since you had the ability to power your own two-wheeler. You hear tales of your early independence and you suspect all you were doing was trying to get away, trying to put a wall between you and the house you were born into. You seek to create family with friends so that you can learn what for others was a given, but with all the motion of life, without bloodlines it doesn’t work.
You go back to your room of white sheets and tan walls and wonder what color would do to the experience. You wonder if it could reintroduce feeling into your life, trump numb, and make you step outside for sunsets once again.
You start with a captured image and the link to a printer. And one by one you place two-dimensional replications of a moment in time on your walls, arranged and organized beside one another until you have a jigsaw puzzle of mismatched pieces. You see that red and blue are the dominant colors of your images and you wonder how that happened, how the colors of an election could become the colors of your memories. You select the image of the lemon to add yellow to the scene, but once on the wall you realize the background is a deep hue of red.
Finally you laugh. Finally.
Last year you bought a bracelet that said LAUGH as a mandate and to be a reminder to ride on your wrist, only it hasn’t worked, and now you want to trade it for another word, a word you could possibly access for real because wearing the bracelet and not laughing mocks your efforts. You want to feel successful.
Yes, that’s what it’s all about – wanting to feel successful in every version of what that word can mean. Successful in joy, in love, in honoring self and truth and dedication and feeling. And that’s what drifted away on the raft out to sea, bobbing over waves. Success. The ability to feel in your life rather than floating above it. It drifted away when you weren’t paying attention, and now you don’t know how to get it back, how to find satisfied and content in a world gone crazy, in a world gone ugly. Except when you’re on that island and the water taps the shore leaving little arches of wetness. That’s where you feel calm. That’s where all the madness falls away. That’s where you find quiet. Only you don’t know where the island is. You don’t know how to get there. You don’t know.
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡
Earlier today a friend told me to write about how this election is making me insane, how I’ve shut down, grown unable to speak. I said I didn’t want to go there, that all the rants have been written, that the smartest minds with the loudest voices are being ignored. I said I just want it all to be over. What I didn’t say is that I don’t know if it will get better.
And as I write this it sounds as if I don’t believe things can ever be good again, but what I mean to say is that even if things do get good, a part of me may remain sad. A part of me will never get over what it’s seen.