The battle long ago, some twenty-six years in the making, came to an abrupt end when the door slammed behind me. Into the padded room, I stirred with my worst self. Delusional of clarity, being, and thinking, I laid curled in a ball on the floor with frightened conflicted tears wildly rage-full; while at the same time filled with a strange sense of relief.
In my memory’s glimpse, that moment represented all of my youthful self annihilation coming head to head with any glimmer of potential for a future. Straitjacketed by my bottomless self-centeredness, anesthetics removed, the chemical hangover lived larger than that other self understood. The long road laid before me. Choices.
The nurse came in and took me to another room with sunlight. She smoothed my crying spirit of angst and disbelief at being in this place. At this crossroad, self-centered blindness continued to shield my ability to see a future of any real possibilities beyond this captivity. My thoughts possessed only strategies to change the course on my appointed condition. However, as time slipped by, forced into seeing what I created, acceptance became the key to my freedom.
There was never a loss of a god. The edge of streets and late night harbors shadowed the very being of me and my spirituality. I didn’t know who I had become, and could not see any possibilities to change that broken girl. My life reeled inside my head like a cinema feature out of synch. Yet a presence always surrounded me. Something intangible. Like an invisible cloak protecting me from the demon, until one day, that safety disappeared. The end game was in sight, and that finale became the only possible end available to me.
Looking back at growing up without an intellectual voice to mentor me, subjected to Reagan suburban expectations, dis-ease motivated my search for something darker. I pushed to the edge of moving in faster beats, and shadowy tonal scales of percussive rhythms, and moved to New York City in quest of kindred spirits. Our street theater soundtracked by an alternative mix of 70’s back room tunes fed our revolutionary spirit against the tyranny-of-the-corporate-majority destruction of alternative arts. We launched MTV images of anxiety, dressed in dark uniforms, and danced in skank clubs that reeked of alcohol and dry goods. Life seemed fearless as we masked the apprehension and delusion.
My geographic to San Francisco tightly nailed the coffin shut. It was only a matter of time, and the resolve, set in stone, tempered a careful stride as I tried to get money from the ATM. The memory of standing that last balmy day of January as the sun set, scrambling for $20, etched the reckoning. This withdrawal led to the last crystal memory of a journey doomed toward oblivion. By Sunday, I followed the money trail back to New York, thinking I had it all under control. Nothing was as it should be, and in my room, back on The Crossway, the mirror lied, and I thought no one could tell. By Wednesday, the door slammed, and the future was born.
This present memory-tunnel post reminds where I came from, however not as something stoically held on to. This recall of the ‘flatlining of my life’ expects that I find gratitude in each day for another opportunity to practice flexibility, open-mindedness and generosity of spirit. The ball and chain of youthful resentment, anger and fear stopped me from being whole. So the memory of this embryonic critical moment reinforces the point-of-view that a future can exist where my talents may live to their fullest potential only if I get out of my own way.
We show up for the road less traveled.
We remain on the path.
We seek to recover despite the surrounding chaos and pain of accepting truth.