August 2014, probably among the longest months of my life. It was a month of enduring a nonstop decrepit mental roller coaster ride. Like a classic wooden coaster, it was a jerky ride that without warning slammed to a stop in the midst of a loop or decent. It was one that jarred your body and neck leaving you with residual aches, headaches, and pain. The intensity left you feeling petrified as you waited upside down in suspense, praying you did not fall from the cart. Since the cart slammed on the brakes, your body plunges forward, only to be hauled into the hard, plastic chair, a plethora of ideas and emotions flash through your mind. Every emotion, nuance, image, index, memory, thought lingered a lifetime, yet, in fact, the journey through the brain is simply a split millisecond. This is how I describe the subconscious sense that divorce was inevitable, and this was a journey I would continue to pass from the departure over and over again until I purposely found the strength and clarity and take good care of this brake alongside me. How did I never realize that I was in control all along?
Still, the roller coaster hastened for me, I pushed the gas and lamented I was an unwitting and unwilling passenger. After all, I stopped this now failing amusement ride 25 years back. At the time it was bright and shiny and I had been in love with the ride. It was filled with excitement and seemed to continuously be headed in a new direction, however just like a roller coaster it just goes in a big circle. My life with my ex-husband was the way, it was intoxicating, reaching the greatest highs and the lowest of the lows(the lows were underground ).
That month my ex slept away from our house many nights, after sparking a fight. Even I didn’t feel that. But, I refused to admit my peripheral vision, this was the only ride I’d ever set foot on in the playground. Instead, I steadily concentrated my focus forward, certain I had been making progress, refusing to see all of the passengers, particularly, the one next to me, boarding and de-boarding.
Whether you realize it or not, you get to know the passengers, their customs, their scents and their intentions. They all play their role. What is the saying, people come into your life for a reason? Well, it is true, even people who turn your stomach are there to educate us. Everybody who sees your cart leaves garbage or bags and precious life lessons. There was one nauseating fellow who indulged in and out of my cart. Everyone loved this apparently harmless guy… a large teddy bear with the dutiful understanding spouse who busily swept the measures of the cart. I didn’t know whether to be terrified by the slow turn of adequate or the passenger creeping nearer, and his hand on my knee. I was paralyzed because his wife conversed inane stories. Suddenly, the ride took a twist and normalized, in an instant, I was transported in my twisted new ordinary reality. My famous passenger of 25 years returned from his barbarous 9 pm telephone call (no he is not a physician ) distracted and anxious to cover the bill. Shaken by my experience I sought refuge and safety and shared my stranger danger story on the ride home. Guess what? He did not care. He did not care that his friend was really a dark fair ground miscreant, did not care at all because he was already off the ride and disappearing into the shadows himself. He was riding the completely new version, while I clung to the faded wooden and rickety tracks that supplied warped comfort.
There were many different miniature stops and starts that left my mind and heart hurting, but the jarring truth that my for worse or better spouse had parachuted off the ride and left me at the hands, literally, of a sewer rat stuffed me with an inconsolable ache as the trail in front of me disintegrated. Finally, as we derailed it propelled me to recognize that the controllers were literally in my hands. As instantly as I knew that the ride was falling apart piece by piece, I understood that I had the capacity to get off the ride at any time. It was liberating to see who was dressing. Occasionally, tunnel vision returnedfear consumed me and I longed for someone to save me for the ride to fix and for the identical sick, but comfy loop to re-establish. I was scanning, trying to find the exit. Although, I bought my ticket years back, and I screamed with artificial delight, true fear and red-hot anger burned inside me as we looped our way up and down, yet my voice still lacked strength, devotion and an unwillingness to change direction. From time to time, I saw that the ride in slow motion. Still, the experience of this degenerate fair groupies lingered and faintly illuminated my path. Slowly I turned my head and looked around, it was shocking to see that this former masterpiece which once represented such guarantee was fractured beyond repair.
Methodically, I grabbed the brake and started to apply pressure. I knew I could not deal with another sudden, uncontrolled stop, but I eventually realized I could control the rate at which I’d make my inevitable death. I called the one person who refused to ride the rides, the 1 individual who patrolled the park, the man who the rats dreaded, my dad. Patiently and without hindrance he waited for my ah ha moment. He witnessed, with despair, but without hindrance, the decrease of the wooden roller coaster. He cringed and watched as it(as I) dropped deeper and deeper into despair and when finally in the end of August I explained,”I am scared, but I am ready, show me how”, he held my hands as I pulled the brake and stepped off the ride.
He did not save me, he enabled me. With shaky legs, I firmly stepped and altered my path, leaving behind the depraved world where I had become enamored. At the risk of another acceptable metaphor, it was like the House of Mirrors, the fact was concealed in illusion. My route was lit and with shaky conclusion the world in which households no more boarded together, single passenger lines split spouses, the constant of this ever-changing passenger and drifters insidiously construction and rebuilding our roller coaster was left behind. It was being lost.
As I linger in August of 2017, I recognize that August 2014 was a month of not surprising abrasive quits, but a month of spontaneous demonstrations. The world kept sending me stronger and more powerful messages before I was no more able to restart the ride. My travel across the garbage-filled park, navigating the newspaper stained map, was arduous. Sometimes I wandered aimlessly or relegated in the direction of a new thrill ride, but finally a silent determination took hold and one foot before another, I found that the exit. Finally, after three decades, August to August, I’m exiting the fairgrounds. The worn out and exhausted fair groupies aren’t worth a mention.