gall and gumption

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Braver Than Me

No, it's worse than that. I mean, maybe a life without all that excitement isn't much to look at. But I really have had enough of the pain. I can remember it, I can remember feeling like I was carrying an extra 80 pounds of something on my back, I can remember being sick with anxiety, losing weight, getting the shakes, the pit-of-the-stomach, the self-consciousness, the worry what if he doesn't like me? what if he thinks I'm weird? why doesn't he call? he thinks I'm weird, he doesn't like me... the excitement (all your silly hopes bouncing off the ceiling again) when the call comes and the gradual subsidence of that short-lived excitement to the monstrosity your normal life seems to have become -- when you do not know how to be inside your own skin. And all of this he must not be allowed to know, really you're quite normal. And then when, inevitably, the end comes, you are totally helpless and there's that pain.

When I broke up with the last one I had to make myself walk away. I was no longer in love with him, but I had to force myself to understand that there was no one there for me to be friends with, I had to give up trying to make him understand why I was angry. The anger was painful, and the forcing myself to abide by this and to forbid further communication was painful. But I did it. And the pain stopped. First time in my life I ever did that. This is the great lesson for me: walking away. Well, and so what if those two people sitting in the train are holding hands? Let them! With my blessings! I am walking away! I am seeing how far I can go. Away. If you just walk far enough away you get to some other interesting place in the universe. You just have to walk (or swim) right out of your own head. In St. Kitts I would swim, the reef was close in to shore and on the far side the water was deep, I could see the big parrot fish swimming among the rocks. I might have arrived at the beach with the spasms of anxiety wrenching my guts, but as I moved out into the water it stopped, and I'd just go along slowly, not really wanting to reach the point where I'd have to get out of the water, slower, slower, just putting off going back.

Well, so I'm here now, very far from the beach or the reef, and I'm still basically walking away. Into my own personal unknown, sending back descriptions of the flora and fauna.


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