I have this idea, which comes to me when the moments become too intense. I think of this when the anxiety builds up inside and next is the claustrophobic feeling that happens when you feel like you just can’t away from yourself.
Be advised, there is no shame in this. There is no shame in anxiety or fear. There is no shame in emotion whatsoever because emotion is part of being human, which we are, if I’m not mistaken.
There’s no need to comfort me with this or you either. We are fine this way and perfectly fit to be as we are, which is human, and complete with all our human qualities that makes us how we are.
I have this idea that comes to me when I feel the need to get out of my own skin. I think of me, driving off from someplace. I think of driving from somewhere I have never been to before. Or maybe I was there before. Maybe the surrounding matches a mood or a connection to something a bit deeper than just my subconscious.
I think of driving through the dessert on a long stretch of roads, say like, someplace about an hour outside of Paradise, Arizona. Mom was here once. I was there with her too. I think of me, taking a ride, heading in any which direction the road will take me.
I think of me this way and this does not slight anyone or reject them. Instead, this is me hitting my failsafe button to keep my sanity.
Or, sometimes, I think about a drive I took with my family from El Paso, Texas to Carlsbad, New Mexico.
I think of the long desolate road with sands on either side. I think of the landscapes that changed and how beautiful this was.
I imagine myself here, heading along on outstretched road, which heads to nowhere I suppose.
The sun is high and the air is dry. The sky is blue and the sea of sands on either side of me is all the eye can see for miles.
Nothing around, just sand and cactus, a few occasional rock structures that appear out of nowhere and vary with levels of coloration coloration which show the millenniums it took to build such an elaborate piece of Earth.
When the mood hits or when I feel the need to run away or “Get out of Dodge,” so-to-speak, I close my eyes and try to picture myself in a car, driving with the top down.
I imagine the wind blowing through my hair, a pair of dark sunglasses on, sun dancing on my skin, and there could be music or no music at all —in fact, the vision I have is mainly soundless and the journey itself is mainly without direction because directions are limiting —and that in and of itself, is the reason for this drive. This is the purpose to begin with; to feel unlimited, unrestricted, but above all else, the idea behind this drive is to get away and feel free.
I always envision a beaten up, old leather satchel with me. The leather is tanned and faded. It has an over-the-shoulder strap, and inside is a pen and paper (you know?) to write my thoughts without a stitch of technology, And I bring this with me to get back to my old pen and paper roots, which is where all this began in the first place.
I explore this vision with my eyes closed. I breathe in evenly and slowly. I exhale the same way —nice and easy, to calm myself down.
Which, again, I say this to you without shame; and I say this because as sure as I stand and as sure as I report this; rest assured, everyone has their own anxious life to deal with.
Everyone has anxiety. Everyone has faults and flaws. Everyone has their own need to run away or burst out from their own skin.
Everyone speaks and as the words escape; they immediately wish they could take them back.
Everyone has a bad day. We all have feelings. We all struggle at some point. We all have the need to hit the road every so often or to scream as loud as we possibly can.
I feel no shame admitting this about myself or discussing my fears with you. I have this. I have all of the above. I have stress and tension. I have situational heartbreaks and madness. I have some ideas which need to be sorted out but I have no worries about sharing this with you.
At least not here anyway —and why would I? Isn’t this is why we come here in the first place?
We come here to shut the door behind us and close off the outside world, even if just for a minute, and this way, we can unwind, or undress, or take off the mask we wear to insulated us from situations that are less than courteous.
I’m not sure why we tie shame to our feelings. I’m not sure why we point fingers or why we concern us with the fingers point our way. After all, we’re all just human.
I come here to be myself. I come here to dictate and determine my next breath because if nothing else; even if life is closing in on me, at least I can breathe.
At least here, I can stop for a second and stop pretending or feel forced to “Act” or “Be” anything in particular.
I come here to sit with you, my only truest friend, because if there is no place else in the world where I can be myself —at least I can be myself here, with you.
I come here to write for a while in the company of my best versions of self. I can be the hero in this place. I can do anything with you. I can rise. I can build. I can create or even destroy.
If asked, I would explain this as my art. This is my voice because if nowhere else, at least this is someplace where I can be heard.
I’ve never seen the state of Washington. But I’m sure there’s a drive there, which I imagine would be unforgettable.
I know people that drove from Los Angeles to Vegas. I think this would be an incredible time.
I never made the drive from New York to Florida; however, I’ve took a road trip to Maryland a few times.
A friend of mine took me with him one morning to head down from New York to D.C.
We left early and hit the road. We made the trip down, hit the Holocaust Museum, left, got back in the car, and we made it back to New York by 5:15pm. I have to say that although the museum was intense, the trip was otherwise perfect. And I needed it.
Everyone has their own failsafe. Everyone has their own thing to protect or work as a designed function to prevent breakdown; however, failsafe and all, I still think everyone experiences a breakdown at one point or another.
Sometimes life can be pretty intense. Our years of blowing off steam have changed. We have more at stake now. We have more to lose and more at risk, but in the interim, when anxiety hits the roof, we tend to feel like there is nowhere else to turn.
All the mind wants to do is protect itself. All the mind wants is peace but the panic shows otherwise. That’s where the failsafe comes in. This is why we need a panic button to push in case of emergency.
My button is this idea I have of me driving someplace, off to find a new thing to write about or someplace where I could try a new bowl of soup.
I envision myself in a pair of khaki shorts, white button-down shirt, fitted loosely with the sleeves rolled a bit more than halfway up my arms, top few buttons at my neck are opened up to expose my chest, and the car I’d drive is old enough to have an old radio with dials that date back to a push-button technology, which is now outdated and beyond antiquated.
I can drive as fast and as far as I want. No one can stop me. No one can direct me, and all there is are me, the open road, and all the anxiety is in my rearview mirror —
(so I can breathe)
By the way . . .
I tell you all this because the one thing I cannot stand about us is the unrealistic standards we set for ourselves.
It’s okay to not be perfect.
It’s okay when the trick doesn’t pull off.
It’s okay to not be invited or welcomed by everyone.
It’s okay to be awkward or uncomfortable.
It’s okay to not be okay but moreover; it’s okay freak out.
And yes, sometimes, freak outs cause irreparable changes. But that’s okay too. It has to be okay because otherwise, we’ll just freak out again and again, until we eventually drive ourselves crazy.
That’s not what this drive of mine is all about . . .