I know, pretty presumptuous to quote the last words of Jesus Christ to describe the completion of my project to empty out the storage locker I have been renting lo these 3 years since I left Chicago for grubbier, grapplier pastures. But as of about 2pm Tuesday (today as I write this longhand, perhaps later in the week as I type it in), that’s what the project is: finished. I also thought about saying, “Now we finish it,” like that one kid in the Seinfeld episode right before the entire pee-wee karate class beat the shit out of Kramer in the alley as payback for him tossing them around. But that’s not quite as accurate, at least not anymore.
Maybe I should go with, “I’m done mucking around in my past and feeling an overwhelming mixture of nostalgia, regret, love, fear, anticipation, hysteria, sadness, and even shame. May I please be excused? I have to go curl up in the fetal position and engage in a soothing, repetitive behavior.” Only that’s not entirely accurate either, because I’m not done with the feeling part, much as I’d like to be (not even today, as I type this in.).
I’m having trouble pinpointing exactly what I’m feeling and why this exercise, of finally getting rid of a bunch of stuff I haven’t missed in 3 years anyway, is dredging up quite so MUCH feeling. I guess I don’t really need to know—or what I need to know will become evident when I need it to, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to pick it apart and ascribe some meaning to it. I’m sure it’s about roads not taken, and sometimes wishing desperately that the untaken road were the right one for me because it would make life so much more straightforward, and of course about feeling like the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Coming face-to-face with that storage locker brought the memories flooding back of me, 3 years ago, contemplating the gaping maw of my existence, knowing that my journey was the right thing, but feeling terrified, alone, and worried about money, identity, and whether I was going to get the things I want(ed) in life. Three years later, that storage locker conjured the same feelings in me. Only I know it’s not only the storage locker. It’s that I’m back there again feeling that way about my life again.
There are some notable differences between the me of 3 years ago and the now me. I know this. I’m not THAT worried about money; worrying about that after all the synchronicities I have experienced related to money is now more of a habit. I am a crapload better at BJJ now. I can break parallel on a squat. And I know, even during the hard times, that the life I have been choosing since I started my vision quest is a much better fit than the one I left behind.
But that’s where I start to feel like nothing has changed. I am feeling pretty much exactly these days the way I did when I was in the final month of planning for my trip: scared, alone, unsure of what’s anchoring me, like I’m behind where I’m supposed to be at this stage of my life, but simultaneously like I have to do what I’m doing because I don’t know what else to do. Back then, it was plan for my trip and trust that it would lead me to my next step. Now, it’s work on my proposal, train, CrossFit, teach conditioning at New Breed, and trust that it will lead me to my next step.
I’m drained, though. In the past couple weeks, no fewer than 10 people have told me that they, or someone they know, consider me their hero. Nora (my channel, whom I’ve been consulting lately because the past couple months have been pretty hard) says it’s because I need the reminder that my journey and I are awesome. That’s a truly nice sentiment. But it makes me feel like a fraud. I don’t feel very heroic right now.
At the moment, I have heartburn because I have been relaxing my Zone habits in favor of expediency. I am soul weary from the cumulative effect of a couple months of confusion, sadness, anger, and befuddlement from a variety of Life Occurrences such that I could easily fall asleep on my feet right now if I allowed myself to. I am covered in scrapes—burns on my shins from rope climbs and on my wrists from muscle-up practice, and rips in my palms from pullups—that make it look like I barely said the safe word in the nick of time. And at inopportune times (like while waiting in El stations or while chatting with some of the friends I have gotten to see while I’ve been in Chicago), I frequently start to laugh or cry, as being back in the place where I first started to go crazy and hatch my vision quest plan reminds me of important people, intentions, and assumptions, some of which I have taken with me, and some of which poke at my heart because they stayed behind.
That doesn’t sound very heroic, I’m afraid. I don’t know why people think I’m a hero. I have more gray hair than the average hero (is “average hero” an oxymoron?), and my handwriting is messy and illegible like a doctor’s. Or a serial killer’s. I’m flattered, but I’m also pooped. It doesn’t compute. Heroes don’t eat ice cream for dinner or watch Judge Judy to make themselves feel better about themselves.
Well, hero or not, I confirmed some things. One thing I know for sure is that I don’t belong in Chicago. It isn’t my home anymore. I love so many people there, and it was good to me for the first part of the time I was there. But it's not the right fit now. This is a great thing to know, and I’m thankful that I do. It’d be even greater, though, to know where I DO belong, which I don’t anymore because this trip, among other things, is giving me perspective. (“Too much fucking perspective,” to quote David St. Hubbins.). But like I said, another thing that I do know is that the thing I need to be focusing on right now is my proposal. The rest should fall into place if I focus on that. That at least has been the formula since I went walkabout—whatever is the thing I’m preoccupied with is the thing I must do; even if it seems like a detour away from the things I feel I need to accomplish next, it is usually the express train directly to those things.
Okay, enough heavy stuff. Next entry will be how the week has been going and all the annoying things I’ve had to deal with, turned into witty, self-deprecating anecdotes, of course.