Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Road Not Taken

For most of my life, I've been afraid to fly.  

I had no trouble clambering aboard airplanes and soaring off to exotic destinations, and it was never a question of heights as I am the first to scale a rock wall or dangle precariously from the tallest tree limbs, but I was always terrified of letting myself fly.

For most of my life, I did what I was supposed to do.*

*Although my parents may beg to differ.

I stayed out of trouble, got respectable grades, went to college, got married, and had 2 beautiful children.  I furthered my education, was never fired from a job, and I made sure that, like footprints in the sand, I did everything in my power to live a life that wouldn't inconvenience anyone, and was easily washed away and forgotten.

I still live that way.

Sure, I have the periodic shenanigans, and odd run-ins with random hilarity, but by and large I live a life of little significance.  My children. . .I am significant to them.  My family and a few choice loved ones. . .sure.  But I am one in a million other divorced single mothers; interchangeable, and easily replaced.  And that's not who I want to be.

Life is filled with responsibilities and expectations.  But life is also like a Jersey tollbooth. . .it demands change.  And I am ready for change. My life cries out for change.

We are all born with a wild spirit, and over the years that spirit gets. . .tamed.  Our dreams shrink and our desire to shine is dulled.    For years, I dulled my shine with self-loathing and alcohol.  Then eventually,  I threw myself into sobriety with as much zeal as I did drinking, and it wasn't long until my desire to stay astride the proverbial wagon was as much an obsession as my previous urge to dive headlong off of it like a Mardi Gras Bacchus King with an inner ear infection.  'Half measures' are not a part of my vernacular, and the mere concept of 'moderation' has me tilting my head in confusion like a beagle during an air raid.  So, rather than seek moderation in life, it was far more expedient to just put my head down and follow the common roads of life.

Not any more.

I'm tired.

I'm tired of being safe.

I'm tired of doubting myself.

I'm tired of always placing other people's happiness before my own.

I'm tired of hanging my head and quieting my voice to avoid upsetting others.

We spend most of our lives like Mormon girls, crossing our arms over our chests and telling Life: "Pull the car over, Mister.  I'm walking!" rather than throwing caution to the wind and going all 'Girls Gone Wild' on the freeway.

We are constantly in a desperate scramble toward the next purchase, the next diversion, the next bauble; spitting vitriol about the shackles of our jobs while clinging to them with a blind devotion that can only be described as Stockholm Syndrome.

We are constantly trying to make everyone else happy to the point of our own misery.

We are so busy living for other things, other pursuits, other people, that we don't even recognize the sound of Death banging on the door like a Jehovah's Witness on crystal meth until it's too late.

I don't want that life any more.  Because that life isn't really. . .living.

I want to jump on the back of a Harley and ride off where the day takes me.

I want to stroll, laughing, on a nude beach.

I want to eat ice cream for breakfast and make nachos at 3:00am.

I want to make love in the middle of the day, then lie in bed laughing so hard that my stomach hurts.

I want to take my heart out of its gilded cage and place it, trusting, into someone's hands.

I want to fly.

I met someone a few months ago that encourages me to unfurl my wings.  He makes no false promises, speaks with unflinching honesty, and loves me with a purity and intelligence that I never dreamed possible.  We know that nothing is 100% sure in life, but we also know that this life is the only one we have, and we are living every second of it with an intensity that would eclipse the brightest star.

Together, he and I are veering off the common road and soaring headlong into the unknown.

Sometimes, I get scared.  I still hold back and second-guess myself, and see every quiet moment or tense disagreement as 'goodbye', but I'm learning. . .I'm understanding. . .I'm flying.  And I'm trusting that every time I take that leap of faith and soar, my wings are growing stronger and stronger.


Do it now.  Try it now.  Live NOW!  Because before you know it, you're going to be sitting in a pair of Depends, gumming your 4:00 Early Bird supper, tapping your toe to a Musak version of Mr. Mister's 'Broken Wings', and wondering what the fuck happened to your life.

Your dreams were not meant to be stifled, and your heart was not meant to be cloistered.


Just. . .fly.


Kelly said...

Dammit, Jen - you got me right in the feels.

Sadly, what I repeated to myself as I read this beautiful submission of yours was "I can't."

I have my toes curled and white-knuckled around the end of the diving board.

Someday, I'll look this post up and send it to you and say "I flew." I just wish I knew when.


KimD said...

At this point in my life, my mantra is "I am no longer going to try to do everything perfectly. I'm just going to try to everything." Liberating, frightening, living.

TheOtherLisa said...

You already fly.

Mandy said...

That was amazing. I'm going to save this blog for when I'm having a hard time flying (which is often) and remind myself that it SHOULD be done. Thank you for your honesty and your passion. You really are an inspiration. XOXO

Roxie said...

"When we hear the voices sing, the book of love will open up and let us in."

Thanks for getting that stuck in my brainpan.

Cindy said...

me too, me too!!

One of the Sarahs said...

I'm on the runway, dodging the second-guessing and the stumbling blocks. Thanks for the inspiration!

Angel The Alien said...

A Jehovah's Witness on crystal meth sounds pretty scary! This post is inspirational to me. I want to live life to the fullest. I may have the opportunity, in the very near future, to move to a state across the country for a very cool new job. I'd be going there with my little '97 Mitsubishi, whatever I can pack into it, and my little dog, and nothing else at first! I want to but the voices of some family members keep hanging onto my belt loop! I need to be brave enough to pull away from them and fly.

NATurally Inappropriate said...

Once you let go, you'll never, ever want to go back. Being that free is a gift. Don't waste it.