Even with all the freedom in the world, I would not feel free. At least not today.
There is a lack of peace in my blood today.
It’s a dream to work for yourself and have the ability to make your own schedule and do whatever you want.
And it’s a dream to know exactly how you want to spend every day when you can spend every day however you want.
If there are anchor points that deliver consistent experiences – say, exercise, seeing friends, watching a good movie, getting paid, delivering good work, eating a nice lunch, or falling asleep in the passenger seat while on a night drive – then the rest of life is all of the space between stars and planets. Nobody knows what the fuck is supposed to happen there.
I am out of control today. Off the reservation. Out of orbit.
I really do know that freedom only exists when there are no choices. That moment when you have to act because your life depends on it. That is the only true freedom. And we don’t get to experience those moments enough. We would rather have security. Even though it eventually chokes us to death. When are we going to learn this? It’s so simple but so hard to act on.
Because here I am, at the brink of whatever and whenever I want, and it’s paralysis that I’m feeling. And have been feeling for the last 7 days. Because it comes in waves. Because everything happens in cycles.
Like our dog that behaves well for a day, gives us hope, maybe he doesn’t need a crate after all, and then, nope, he is possessed by a demon and ripping the buttons off of our living room chair.
Or my relationship with my wife, Alexis, that changes shape nearly every time we look at each other. Because last week my heart was so wide open like a jelly fish swimming around in a thick and warm gel and now this week when she runs the Vitamix in the morning to make a smoothie for me I can’t stand how loud it is and wish she would be more considerate. I get upset, with her. And I am beginning to hate myself for it.
The friendships that feel plain as mush. Talking about the same shit as last week. Leftovers of a meal that wasn’t that exciting to begin with.
And the effort, of everything.
It’s hard to brush my teeth. Why do I have to brush my teeth so much?
I’m sick of working, of taking pictures of people, all of the pictures suck ass and I hate them.
And money. I’m guaranteed never going to have enough. But I have money. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking that I don’t, or I won’t, or that inevitably all of this will fail and end and that is the way the world works and you can’t show me a good example of something that doesn’t look like this.
And this is just Monday. If I don’t hit a shift then Tuesday will be compounded. And by Wednesday I will be so full of anger and hate that the prettiest sunset will make me want to punch a hole through a wall.
My friends know this. My family knows this. They call it something, a D word. But I don’t say it. Because giving the monster a name would mean it’s always there and only exists in one form.
I’m not going to die.
Which brings me to why I don’t like to talk about it.
It’s not cancer. It won’t fucking kill me.
It’s like the disease we invented when we had too much time on our hands.
The one you don’t feel when you’re in a new neighborhood in Paris smelling morning croissants and listening to local conversations. Or when you’re walking across Sudan and a lion comes out from the brush and you run your gd ass off because if you stop to contemplate the forms of motivation and significance of life you won’t have one anymore.
It’s more of a reminder than a disease. The reminder is that we are not doing enough, of something. I wish I could tell you what. You probably know.
A good doctor used to always tell me to follow my feet. And to me that meant follow my curiosities. Because if I’m to be given this freedom, if the freedom is interesting to me, then I am probably meant to explore it. And not half-assed exploration. Full on fearless.
But I’ve slipped too far. It’s too late for preventative measures. I’m in the hole already. Not interested in doing any of the things that will bring me out.
I haven’t been writing about this stuff lately. I have a new business. I’m an active community member again. Looking at a board seat on the business committee in January. I just got married. It was really amazing. A whole new set of people will be reading my work, judging with eyes that haven’t always known me. Not to mention the people that know me well and judge me because of that. And I have to be ok with that. Because the only thing that still shines when my heart is in a dumpster is writing.
I’m a consultant. I fix people and their businesses. But here I am on this Monday morning wanting to scratch the skin off of my body and find my way into another body that feels everything happening around them and is ok if the rug on the ground doesn’t align perfectly with the floor boards. Someone that doesn’t lose their composure when there are too many things on the table to grab and not enough pockets to hold them in equal weight distribution with no protruding shapes and oh our dog just snuck out the front door of the studio and is now trying to eat bacon off of a toddler’s plate at Big Kitchen which is funny and I’m laughing for a second but it will be sucked out by the vacuum of anxiety and detachment.
And then all of this will pass. And I’ll be back. Smiling and alive and letting the breeze on my face be enough to know that my life is full and I am rich and I am free. And when she makes me breakfast in the morning I am so happy and grateful that she takes care of me because I’ve been so used to going it alone for so long.
And all of this will come back again. And it will be desolate and grey and even the touch of the people I love the most will feel like less than a waft of the wind generated from a stranger passing by.
I don’t write about it much because I don’t want to give it power over me. And 9 days out of 10 my military approach on this haze is successful. But this one day in particular I guess I am feeling a bit defeated and a little isolated from what I believe being a normal human might feel like.
My guess it that we are all experiencing some form of this. The variation is less in DNA than it is in our willingness to accept that sometimes things are less than great.
I had a lot of work to do this morning. But I wrote this instead. Because this thing is constantly behind you, breathing its warm breath on your neck, and if you don’t pay attention to the ways that free you from it then you will be stuck in the haze so deeply that you will have forgotten that sometimes it is sunny, too.
Thank you for the reminder.