Over the past few weeks, I’ve slowly come to terms with where I am in my life. I’ve identified the sources of this pitfall. It’s funny, how long it takes to see after all the lights have been turned off. It’s funny, how I found myself stuck in familiar territory from my past, but it wasn’t until I acclimated that I recognized these old halls that I once walked. I’ve been back to this house for irregular days off and on throughout the past few years, but never long enough to remember what it really felt like; the walls constantly shrinking, the ceiling never steady. It’s like a bad trip, but without the choice.
This blog is filled with false and failed commitments to do better, be better. It’s a graveyard of broken dreams and failed prison breaks. If these weren’t mine, it’d almost be comical. Instead, it’s become a nightmare; a lifetime of house arrest in a place I could never call home.
People like to talk about strengths and skills. I’m incredibly good at running in place. My greatest talent, it seems, is convincing myself I’ve made progress when I’ve only changed the scenery on the walls. It’s the same hell, with different decoration. I lay at night, agonizing over my failures, berating myself for not walking out the door, but now, I realize something I’ve missed over the past two years: there are no doors, no windows. It’s not that kind of place. You don’t escape by twisting a knob and stepping out; it’s not that easy. It’s even simpler but yet so much more overwhelming.
I escaped this house before. When I fell back in, that’s something I have yet to figure out, but currently irrelevant. What matters is I’m here now, and I need out. This house represents everything I could become, and be very good at: another average, nameless soul content with the status quo—middle class America, keeping up with the Jones. Progress is measured by the state of my grass and size of my house.
That’s not the life I want, but the one I’m stuck in.
If I hadn’t left before, I’d be more desperate, but I have done it once. Can I do it again? I spent this entire blog saying I will, and I’m still here, so I have no idea if I’ll ever really escape. Even if I do, it’s likely only a matter of time before I return. This will be a battle I fight for the rest of my life.
I often told people I left this house before by walking up one morning and deciding I wanted to be happy and leave this dank, dark place behind. What I know now is that this story was a load of crap. Sure, I do remember that morning that I so fondly recalled, but I had left these halls long before that revelation. I used to make it sound like there was something I did that engendered my change in residence, which I now see is a bitter joke. Maybe this is my penance for my unintentional pride.
No, I escaped the moment I stopped trying. These walls have trenches where fingernails have drawn long red lines against its skin. I have tried and failed so many times. That summer I “decided to be happy” was the summer I stopped trying. The summer I stopped blaming myself for these failures. I stopped assuming that I have such totalitarian control over my life. I just lived and was, and eventually I saw a dream of whom could be and, without conscious effort, walked through walls to reach at it.
Brute effort wont work. These walls are reinforced with the steel from my self-directed frustrations and anger for the inability to escape something I mistakenly assumed I controlled.
It’s time to let go, the most difficult change I’ve ever had. Let it go, and maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow outside the damaging darkness of these damn walls. Or maybe I’ll spend my remaining years pacing down these scarred walls. I simply don’t know anymore, and I’m done promising change I can’t guarantee.
If this entire post sounds like a contradiction, imagine if it was you living it—making sense of nonsense.
I am where I am, and maybe tomorrow I walk through walls.
P.S. This is the song I listened to for most of this post. It’s fitting.