escape

“Suddenly I realize That if I stepped out of my body I would break into blossom.”

–James Wright, “A Blessing” …a la O Magazine, also a blessing.

I’m in a funk. As you can imagine, I’m sure, since I’m still fresh off that whole heartbreak thing. New beginnings and all that. Which, you know, sounds good. And ultimately is good. But what happens between the sound (the sob-choked, “I’ll be fine!”) and the ultimately. How in THE WORLD do you get through that time?

I choose to escape. Rather, I am choosing. I am actively choosing to escape my life, until my life, on its own merit, appears to be destination worthy. I can say shit like this because I do think that one day I’ll want to live in my life. I hope–against the dull thud of my current malaise, that this liveable life appears sooner rather than later.

Even as I whisper to you that “I’m off!”, even as I pack my bags and buy mini wine bottles for my train ride, I know that I will come back. I will return. To where? To myself I guess. Did I lose her in my three year long relationship? Maybe a little bit. What about in the gut-wrenching trials and tribulations of the past six months? Did she wave goodbye from my dock back home?

See ya later, Connelly, you’re headed where no soul should ever go.

(Yes I am absolutely talking about adulthood and I refuse to back down from that exaggerated clause of despair.)

I thought I may wax poetic about that blossoming quote up above. But, sometimes, life sucks. And keeps on sucking. And keeps on and on and for god’s sake! You just wish three glasses of wine led to more joy and less weeping. Last night, as I sipped my weepy red I looked at Lee Lee (cat), “Heartbreak hotel. Occupation me and you.” She threw up at my feet.

Quote that Oprah.

I’m headed home on a train tomorrow (with the aforementioned mini wine bottles). And then, on Friday, I’m going to Belize. Yeah, I know. Raise your hand high if you are a privileged white girl who takes extravagant family vacations but can’t feed yourself for more than two days in a row. That’s for another time.

I’m escaping. I’ll probably read a lot of books about other people. I’ll drink a lot of rum and wish that my iPhone wasn’t actually “globally activated” (see paragraph above). Maybe, deep in the rain forest, or just on the surface of the ocean, I’ll see or feel or hear something that sounds like me. I’ll coax her closer, bring her home. If escape is one step closer to self-discovery, then pass the pineapple punch, because I’m all in.

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There was a time before today.

My father emailed me earlier today. He always forwards us (his children) emails from what I imagine to be his really old, really white, really conservative friends. Given their content, those descriptions are entirely accurate. 

The message simply read: “There was a time before today.” I scrolled down, expecting to see some old pictures. I simply saw their descriptions, and small boxes where the images must have been. I laughed. And then I thought about those words.

There was a time before today.

He was simply forwarding an email–not even a particularly funny one (the “new element discovered!” subject line followed by a caricature of Nancy Pelosi, and a detailed definition of “Pelosium” may take the cake)– but my father’s words struck a chord. 

There was a time before today. There was last weekend, when my boyfriend visited. Stewart’s flight was delayed and delayed and then he lost his seat altogether. He finally arrived in Charleston at 8:30 PM on Saturday night. He left at 6:30 AM on Monday morning. We spent approximately one day celebrating our fourth Valentine’s weekend together. And then we broke up.

There was a time before today. There were lots of times, and I remember them all. I don’t know if Stewart liked my memory, or if he just found it really annoying. I could correct him, the next day, after any drunken fight (that I usually started): “No, no, this is what happened. I remember.” I would remind him of his doctor’s appointments. Call to wake him up for his early class. Recount “our stories” for strangers, because if any existed, they lived forever in my mind.

I could wax poetic about our three years together. They were fucking great, if you really wanted to add and subtract and figure out the math of love and life. As far as boyfriends go, Stewart was wonderful. And for the most part, we were wonderful to each other. I could get too jealous and he could forget too many things. But we loved each other. We were friends. We were, as time went on, each other’s saviors.

There was a time before today. In college, our want for each other turned into a need. And why not? College, for all y’all pretending it’s the fuckin tits, can be really hard. Sitting here now, in what I consider to be relative poverty (no, seriously, what am I eating for dinner?), college seems great. But I know that I hurt then, just as I hurt now. You don’t stop being a human just because you go to more theme parties than the average person. Stewart and I created something that worked for us. We spent most of our college years in each other’s arms. We still had fun–up until our final fourth year nights we took turns comforting our extremely drunk partner–we just had most of it with each other.

So, yeah, I’m sitting here, hungry, and lonely. I know that the loneliness isn’t new. It’s kinda part of my personality, part of my tendency towards solitude, and my eventual, unanswered cry for companionship. There’s no “why” to explain our breakup. It was organic, and about as mutual and kind and gentle as any end could be. So gentle that we refuse to call it an “end,” leaving the door open for our future selves.

There was a time before today. And it was a good time. But it wasn’t the only time. There’s tomorrow. And the next day. And yes, sad and lonely Connelly, the day after that. It’s funny how, after bitching about life in general, a real hurt can stop you in your tracks. Scare the shit out of you. Make you crawl into your bed, pull the covers over your head, and pretend you can stay like that forever. And then your dog nudges you. Your sister strokes your hair, coaxes you out. You have to go to work. You have to keep moving.

My father and his words. I got a letter from him yesterday. I’d written him first, thanking him for paying off a large chunk of my student loans. He wrote back, in the terrible, beautiful handwriting that matches my own. The letter was to me and my sister, but on the back he wrote a note just for me. He understood the depth of a three year long relationship. He always loved Stewart. And he wrote to me: “Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.”

He knows that there was a time before today, and he trusts that I’ll make it through tomorrow. So far, he’s never been wrong. 

 

 

from where I am

(I can’t blog every day).

But I am always taking pictures. These ones aren’t anywhere but on my phone. They just sit there and my finger hovers over them, wondering where they could go. I hoard pictures like a hoarder. Perhaps even like a photographer. Or do they delete them because they understand, more deeply, their impermanence? I want to hold on to these forever. Here are some snapshots of my life. If I didn’t aim my iPhone 5s at it, was it ever really there?

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