A week ago I was positive that life’s parallels had taken abrupt turns that led me to a place I chose, but could no longer escape. I set fire to my past and in return, it has left my future with questions and hazy interpretations of my choices in life thus far. There are moments all throughout my life that stick with me. Seeming less irrelevant moments, at the time, that I can vividly remember as if they were yesterday. Not a birthday, death in the family, or even joining the military; my memories spawn from my senses and an all too common realization of déjà vu. I can smell or feel the air and it will bring me back to a specific moment with utter intensity. It could be a Wednesday in 1986, outside my childhood home just laying in the grass looking eagerly at the sky, and that, will always be yesterday to me. My life is surrounded by yesterdays that sometimes forbid me from concentrating on the present, let alone the future. I grew up an explorer. I loved what if’s and had a passion for possibility. I grew up near an open field, where, like me, had so much room for growth. I would dig holes. Tons and tons of holes. I’m not exactly sure why, but I know I still have the same passion I did as a child just in different fashions. I was looking for something that I was not sure existed, but knew I would greatly appreciate it when found. This has been the premise for my life.
I remember being at a “boy/girl” party in middle school and we were in a “no parents allowed” basement. Hearts and Teen Beat plastered the walls, as rock ballads and conversations of last weeks couple skates transpired throughout the evening. I felt fortunate to have been invited, to have friends, but I never really felt comfortable in my own skin. I’m hesitant to declare middle school as a “tough time” in my life, but I was reluctant to step out of my own shell and become the person that I was capable of becoming. As my friends and their steadies were scattered throughout the basement in dark shadowed corners, I was playing an arcade game with my friend who unfortunately, was probably racially profiled by tween aged girls. I would like to think that touching tongue tips in hopes of scratching French kissing off the early bucket list wasn’t a priority, but it was. Perhaps it played more of a part in my life years later than it did at that exact moment. Confidence is gained at such an early age and I still have very little at all. I’m awkward and clammy, not to mention speechless. However, I can accept that I stayed in my shell and be grateful for how that has helped shaped me as an unexplainable human mystery.
As I drove up the west coast of Michigan, I promised my heart that I can no longer burn bridges. Family is my top priority, but that is unconditional love and we are all aware that right or wrong, beginning or end, we are loved by one another. Friends and relationships are very conditional. There is a quote by Charles Schulz that says the following: “Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.” I love that. I have this brutal honesty in my heart that struggles with separation that it often insists upon. It’s a fight within myself to figure out the best decision for my future well being that often leaves me empty handed. I had severe attacks when I would fly back to Ft. Stewart from being back home. Still to this day, I can feel the emotions I felt every time I stepped into an airport. To me, airports are an emotional whirlwind. Going, coming, leaving, or arriving. Sad, happy, content, or distressed. Emotions that are all mixed together in one single building and emotions that I can still smell, feel and fear.
I laid in the backseat of my car in a giant rainstorm, in the pitch dark of the center of nowhere last evening. Thankfully, the sound of rain often puts me at ease, so my emotions were even keel. I thought a lot about the past and my bridges. I wondered how someone that struggles with separation desperately reaches out for his independence and security of being all alone. I’m not a down on my luck, woe is me kind of a guy as I used to be in the past. I’ve made my bed, and I am willing to raise my hand and admit my mistakes. I’m far from perfect, in fact, I’m downright as difficult as it gets. My desire for the perfect life (for me) obstructs my opportunity to find it. I am on an island full of bridges. Some sturdy, some rebuilt, and some held together by selfishness. I realized that its hard to build new bridges with a great foundation if you are so concerned with maintaining the ones that still exist. The majority are unused and are no longer healthy for me. Nonetheless, I cherish everyone that has crossed my path. I chuckled on the way up north that I loved road trips because my bladder allowed me to meet people I have never previously, nor will ever see again. I think about that. I wonder what life Barb at Speedway will live. And in a bizarre way of thinking, I wonder if they are just figments of my imagination guiding me to discover what it is that I attempt to dig up in my life.
Having relationships end and saying goodbyes is an impossibility for me. Even the worst of relations are honored and cherished by me for what they were to me at that time. For what they have done for me to learn, experience and better myself to be the best person for myself as well as another. The quote it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all” is something I can’t relate to if a friendship is destroyed. I’d rather have unconditional love from that friendship that lasts a lifetime over any conditional love. I put my relationships in jeopardy in hopes to be assured of unconditional love. I believe this with all my might, but it’s just something I have not been able to find and a method I should relinquish.
I need to burn bridges. Although, it’s even more difficult in the social network world in which we live and breathe in. My heart and soul can’t take defriending another girlfriend, and her mother. I can’t burn my past, nor do I want to burn every bridge but I need to construct new ones that will guide me forward rather than in these circles of despair. I have made a few new friends, and that has begun to fill my empty heart with joy and hope. These are the pillars that will support me unconditionally in life and I shall never overlook that ever again. Looking behind me, wondering if I should circle back, or feeling guilty for something I can no longer control must no longer be an option. As I came to this conclusion, in the center of nowhere, I felt somewhere. I smiled and realized that at the very least, I am trying to better myself and provide opportunities that I can give to myself every day.
Tonight, I lay in the bed I made, filled with the ashes of the bridges to nowhere. I welcome all tomorrows and gladly accept the tools that are supplied to me to make it sturdy, supportive, and most importantly, everlasting. I will brush myself off and hope that my actions will speak louder than my words. Grasping on to this opportunity and head up, to the top of what this life has offered to me. Gladly knowing that goodbyes occur but the hellos are endless.