Down to the Last Bite: Road Trip

I might have told you about this more than once but perhaps for this entry, it is important that I tell you once more. So, here it goes.
At one point, I decided to get in my car at the early portion of a weekend morning. The sky was a quiet shade of gray. The cold air from the new season crept in to prove that autumn was in the rearview. And there was a cold time ahead of me without the promise of warmth.

I was heavyhearted and for reasons that perhaps were too many to list or describe, especially for now. However, I think it is only fair to define this time as a moment of challenge. I was done with the common arguments. I was done with the crew of friends and the current work structure. I was finished with the need to please others or to find acceptance. 
I was tired of having the need for validation and rather than struggle with difficulties of emotional quicksand, I chose to take the day off. I chose to close the book or step away, so-to-speak. I was on the verge of something new yet I had no idea what to expect.

Rather than rehash or rethink the different variations of where I went wrong – or rather than toss around the mistakes in my love life or my work life; and rather than think about the social surroundings which, at last, I was able to see how I outgrew this – I decided to take the day off.

I didn’t call anyone. I didn’t check in. I didn’t wonder if anyone was looking for me and for the moment, I was content to be on my own and by myself.
Therefore, in conjunction with my limits of frustration and senseless bullshit, I sat in the driver’s seat of my blue, four-door, beat-up Chevy with loud exhaust problems. I turned the key to initiate a loud rumble of an explosive “Vroom!”
Then I lowered the shift handle at my steering column to pull out in reverse, backed my car into the street with a slight lull in the heavy deep-bass rumble of my means of transportation and I put the car in drive and headed off down the road. The engine growling like the grumbling sound of acceleration as I stepped on the gas and slowly pulled away.

There are times like this when the world is on mute. You can hear the radio and the songs around you yet everything is in a state of suspension. Your body knows how to drive, when to hit the turning signal, when to turn, and which way to go. 

The view ahead is clear and the view behind you is only used for precautionary measures. 

I wasn’t thinking about the break-up between me and my first real girlfriend. I wasn’t thinking about the humiliation which plagued my internal dialogue; always rethinking the old arguments and always looking to relitigate the past so that I could relive or correct the undesirable outcomes – and be the one who comes out on top. 

I wasn’t thinking about the insults or the frequent discomforts that were somewhat debilitating and often degrading. No, I wasn’t thinking about any of this. 

Instead, I drove. 
I drove east with no intention and with no direction in mind.
“I’ll just head east,” I thought to myself.
“I’ll just keep driving until I find someplace to be.”

This is exactly what I did. I found myself on a long drive to the tip of Long Island. I passed the exits like tiny milestones which meant nothing and still; it’s not that I had an idea in mind or that I had a destination to think about. No, my idea was to expel the energy. 

I had music on but at the same time, I wasn’t listening. I’m not sure how, but it’s not like I was really thinking either. 
My mind was invested in the trip and nothing else. I knew why I was driving. I knew why I went off by myself. No, I never saw this as running or running away; but instead, I saw this as the only means to handle a moment of unbearable emotions.

I was driving away from heartbreak. I was driving away from lies and the realization that, in fact, my love was not love at all. But instead, my love was only an attempt at love because, in all fairness, I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid that love would never find me. I was afraid that someone would try to rationalize my irrational fears and never understand me.
Also, I was worried that I would never be able to pull off a real relationship. I had insecurities and questions of my sexuality such as who am I? What do I really want? Who do I really love and what are my real attractions? Am I only who I am because of a definition of social constructs which tells me this is who I am supposed to like? Am I too commercially conscious of beauty or was I caught in the forced teachings of “this is pretty” and “this is not”?

My biggest wish was equally my biggest fear at the time; to define who I am as I am and to be satisfied with what I like and what I enjoy as opposed to the popular crushes and commercialized opinions. See, to me, love has no specific size or identity. Love has nothing to do with status. Love is love and when you feel it, love is undeniable. And that’s all I wanted for myself.

Was I looking for an acceptable love which was more like a trophy? Or, was I looking to find someone with status? I say this because at the time, I was afraid to be seen as a person with no status whatsoever.
Was I looking for someone to take care of me, to compliment me, or was I looking to find someone to use as a means of protection? I say this because at the moment, I needed help getting ahead and away from myself.

It was here that I began to understand the hostage crisis of relationships. It was also here that I began to understand the give and take and the necessities of codependent contacts which designate who is the leader, who is the follower; and above all, this is the negotiation which determines who gets to breathe out – just so someone else can breathe in.

The relationship was an unspoken contract. This was an agreement based on my needs and fears and in correlation to “hers” we sort of existed, just to satisfy some of our internal worries and use each other as a bond or agreement. Neither she nor I were aware of this at the time and while I stand behind my statement in life; that sometimes, there are no victims, only volunteers – I fully understand (now) why I stayed.

It was fear and I acknowledge this. I also acknowledge that I was used the same as I was using “her.” In all fairness, it was me who left and not the other way around. And the reason: Because I was poor. I had no money. I did not have a hopeful or promising looking future.
“You’ll never be able to take care of me,” she said
“You can’t even take care of yourself,” she told me.
“You live in a basement!”
I was called another man’s name in the middle of sex.
I was called this more than once and more than one name.
I found love letters from other men. And still, I stayed because at the time, my beliefs worried me. “Who else would have me?”

As for my friends, none of them wanted to listen to this anymore. As for my therapist (at the time) he just sat there and took notes.

I have never discussed this as openly as I have just now. Then again, I am no longer in my twenties nor am I looking for permission or trying to find acceptance or am I looking to bring my report card home as a means to find approval.

I suppose this is exactly what my drive was all about. This was not a means to bitch or complain or to weep and lament. Instead, this was a means to replace thought with action. I wanted more. I wanted something else. Or maybe I wanted to be somewhere else. 

I thought about a song that reminded me of a trip in Maryland where people smile and say hello for no other reason than to be kind. I thought about a meal I ate at the Inner Harbor. I thought about the people who smiled at me and had I noticed, I could have enjoyed a moment with them, equally as well and perhaps without the result of the same scars.
I realized here that this was a challenge in my belief system.

Meanwhile, I drove east and passed the landmarks that I had not seen in a long time. I drove past the marshes and past the exits where I have memories of the Hamptons and wild nights that went on beyond the sunrise. I drove past memories of sexual conquests or victories and lo and behold, as if there was a time warp – I found myself at the end of Long Island – Montauk Point, New York.

I pulled into a small place to eat. The diner was mainly empty. The room was yellowish, outdated and mainly dim. The waitress was a kind, older woman who greeted me and called me, “Darling.”

I had a bowl of soup which was their soup of the day. The air outside was not so cold but perhaps the times behind me were cold enough to put a chill in my bones. That’s what the soup was for.
I sat in a small place where people were kind and smiled and without any regard for the world in my rearview, I enjoyed the best bowl of soup in my life. 

In fact, I am of the belief that soup is an underrated excellence. I can think of some corn chowders. I am of the belief that similar to the healing powers of my Grandmother’s chicken noodle soup or even Mom’s chicken noodle, there are times when the soup is so warm and loving that this creates a sharing sentiment. 

The long drive home wasn’t so long after this and my heart wasn’t so empty.

It had been a long time since Mom’s dining room table was available to me. My life was different and on the verge of a new beginning. However, in fairness to this, I have to admit that it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. It’s hard to see past the fears of loneliness or insecurities and with this include the burden of loss. Include the grief systems of not having a Father anymore. Include the changes of life when age picks up and there’s no one around to “do it’ for you. 

The healing power of the soup, matched by the kindness of a wait staff in a little unknown diner in a town that was far from my own, and in addition to the flavors from the broth and the slurping sounds of satisfaction after the last drop; I drove home, equally in autopilot and both equally and happily detached an uninvolved. 

With regards to who I was at the time and in regards to who I am now and who I will be in the future; I don’t have to try so hard for acceptance.
I only have to learn to accept myself.  
I cannot hold outside sources and external challenges responsible for my fears to step forward. If anything, I have to accept the resistance as training which will strengthen who I am and who I wish to become. Or, at best, if I find myself helpless again or lonely, I can take a long drive and find me a place where they make a great bowl of soup – oh and maybe a slice of some peach cobbler or some pecan pie . . . pecan pie.
Now, that would be nice.

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