Dear Mother Directional,
It’s been years since the last time my toes were in the sand. I think this is something that I need to prioritize. This way, I can face the ocean and stare out to the sea and say “Ah.”
I think we need more times like this. We need more time to say “Ah” and more times when we can find a moment of relief.
Or to put this in the simplest way possible, we need more time to breathe. We need more freedom to let go, to forget, to hit the snooze button or to just redirect ourselves for a minute.
We need more ways to get away from our daily lives – even if this is only for a few minutes, we have to find something that helps us refuel.
We need it the same as we need air. We need this the same as we need food or shelter. And me, well, I need this too.
I need to find a way to stop the constant thoughts from spinning in my head. Or to put it plainly, I need an outlet. Otherwise, it’s too easy to be stuck in my thoughts. It’s too easy to be swept away with all the nonsense and daily doubts.
It’s too easy to play the movies out in my head and when this happens, it’s easy to find myself in the results of tragedies or worst case scenarios. By the way, they call this catastrophizing, which is really common.
Then again, most of what I tell you is common. Anxiety is common. Depression is common. So is imposter syndrome and rejection-sensitive dysphoria. I’m sure there’s more from this list that could go around but, at the same time, no one really talks about this stuff. No one wants to address the elephant in the room. Just deny it. Why deal with it? Just bury it all down deep where it can fester like a sore and become cancerous to our lives.
Mother, there are times when I am not sure what to do. I’m lost. I’m worried. I’m in too many places at the same time. But at the same time, I am not present at all. I’ve checked out. I’ve resigned because I find myself burnt out, like a candle at both ends.
I’m too busy wondering about what’s going to happen next . . .
I have my little routines though. I’m able to sit in the mornings and journal before my day begins. I use this time to write about anything that comes to mind. I don’t think about this or judge it. But instead, I let the words fall from my head and pour them on to a white computer screen. I can say this is healing to me because as I type, I can see letters appear – to make sense of my thoughts and to create words that build sentences, which build paragraphs to fill chapters which inevitably will fill books.
I have this routine in the morning, which I use as a transfer of energy. I allow my words to fall and this way, I can relieve some of the tension in my head – so I can go forward. So I can make my day happen.
I think about the times when you had to see me when I was young. I think about these letters and the intentions behind them. Then I think about the ideas we live with.
I think about the traumas and the tragedies we live through. I know it’s just like you said: The thing about life is no one gets out alive.
Then again, not everyone who is alive knows how to live and not everyone who lives is alive and well. I get that because I have seen both sides of this equation.
I know that there is love for me. I know there is so much for me to see in this world and in a sense, I am still a young traveler. However, I am not as young as I used to be.
Time is different to me now. There’s not much time to waste. The sands in the hourglass are always moving. Each grain of sand has meaning. Each grain is a representation of us as we are – whether we live or just exist – each grain in the hourglass is a representation of a moment in our lives, which could be brief or lengthy. Either way, the script is up to us.
We have more control than we think. We have more say than we give ourselves credit for and lo and behold, we have more to do and more to say. We have more to see in a shrinking window of time. So, yes, time is crucial.
I want to go somewhere and feel something. I want to find a place where I can sit down and unwind – just to be comfortable (or confident) and let myself go.
I want to see an old railroad crossing, like the one I saw as a young teen. This goes back to when the dust from a trip across the desert was dry enough to produce the mirages on the road from Carlsbad to El Paso.
I want to see the sleepiness of an early morning sky like the one over Texas, early morning in the early 1980’s – a great big sky, bluer than you can imagine and an open road with the turning vultures hanging in the air with their outstretched wings; hovering over the desert sands and somehow flying motionless above the world.
I remember waking up. We were halfway in the middle of nowhere and there was a long freight train, moving slowly and churning along the railroad tracks where hobos and bums caught rides in lonely box cars – just to make it across the country, rent free and drunk.
I am not sure what life like this would be on the other side of my experience. I am not sure who is crazy or who is crazier. I don’t know why the world is what it is and I am not sure how we find ourselves in places like say at an impasse with ourselves.
All I know is there’s a need we have to circumvent ourselves – to get away from the thought machine or to simply hang up for a few minutes – to get away – to breathe and to just say, “Ah!”
I want to see some of the places from my youth. I want to relive them in a sense. But not to relitigate my past or to recreate something that remains unchangeable. But more, I want to face the demons. I want to make peace with the enemies in my head so the feuds can rest. The past can be left behind and I can change and move forward.
There was a day when I was alone. Perhaps this was a day that I was truly alone for the very first time. There was no one around to direct me or change my mind. There was no one around to correct me or tell me what to do.
I decided to get in my car and drive. I had no direction in mind. I did not think about which way to go or which way to turn.
Instead, I allowed myself to drive in a stream of consciousness. No intention. No interpretation and no judgment. I just drove.
Sure enough, I found myself in the old parts of town. I drove past some of the old corners. It was as if the landmarks remembered me but. at the same time, they welcomed me back under the cloak of anonymity. I drove past the old house where we used to live. I drove down the old streets where I used to play and then I drove past the old spots where life happened.
I drove by the old baseball fields which look different to me now. I drove by the old stores that have new names and the old houses where my friends used to live. New people live there now.
I drove up the block where a bunch of us split in two different directions. One group of friends went to the right and the other went to the left. I was part of the group that went to the left. I was part of the group that was lined up along the fence at the town park.
I was one of the ones who was taken away in a squad car. The others, they were free to go.
I’m sure you remember this. I’m sure you remember the turning point of my youth and how I went and the others stayed. I lived through it and, for some reason, many of the others are dead now.
I never had the chance to do so many things. Here I am now, thinking about what I’ve missed. I’m thinking of places that I need to see and things that I need to do before my sands run out of time.
Mother, you have never doubted me. You have never turned your back on me nor have you ever withheld your love from me. Above all, you have always cheered me on.
I am on a new path now.
I don’t know where I am going or what’s in store for me. I don’t know what’s about to happen but I can feel it. I can feel something – like a change or maybe an ending. Maybe another chapter is about to close, which is fine because another one can open. At least, I hope so.
I think that, above all, I have to find ways to relieve the tension and break away from life – but just for a moment. I need to gather myself so I can gather my thoughts – so I can take a breath – so I can say “Ah” and move freely about the country.
I can hear the rain hitting the roof now. I don’t mind the rain. I really don’t. I can hear the thunder, too, which is a good thing. I think the rain is a good thing – to dampen the dust of our crazy little lives – to soften the moment – and to let us rest, as if Mother Earth, herself, was here to say, “SHHHH!”
Oh, and I have heard from Brother Exceptional. I’ve heard that my niece, Daughter Daring, is about to embark on a new journey at a new college. She will be south of the Northeast and down by the Nation’s capital.
I think this is good. I think this is the beginning of life for so many people. This is the time when we give meaning to each grain in the sand of our hourglass.
Daughter Daring is on the move. Brother Exceptional is on the watch. And me? Well Mother, I am going to navigate my way through this thing we call “”Monday.”
I’m going to go out and give meaning to the grains of the sands in my hourglass.
It would be nice to see the beach soon. Then again, it would be nice to see the sky above El Paso or drive through the Chihuahuan Desert and up to the Carlsbad caverns.
Just to say “Ah.”
Have a good day, Mother.