Another Turn on the Merry-Go-Round

This morning I dreamt of sleeping on a cave shelf, separated from the dirt by a thin sheet, with a thick wool blanket wrapped around me. The cave was filled with pale browns. The blanket was dark blues and bright reds.

For some reason, every day I woke up and took the train uptown. In fact, this cave was just above the train station. The uptown train station had five or six tracks that came in from all directions but ran parallel in one spot. People in the center trains had to walk through the cars of the our trains to get onto the platform. For hours, I sat out of sight, watching the trains come and go. I was watching for one person who never knew I was there.

* * *

Back in the real world, I’m on a flipping merry-go-round. Forget roller-coasters. Roller-coasters are unpredictable and exhilarating. This is the exact opposite of exhilarating and the exact opposite of unpredictable. In fact, it’s so predictable, psychology has an entire area of study dedicated to this mood-swing merry-go-round.

I don’t feel well today. My stomach is in knots, my back hurts, and the memory card I thought held pictures of my sister’s college graduation actually held pictures from the first three years my lost friend and I dated. Not a great start to the day. I’m trying to focus on the back pain so that my mind doesn’t go to the pictures, but the goddamn music in this restaurant isn’t helping. It’s not even break-up songs today. It’s all songs about fixing relationships. Whose bright idea was that? (Except Gavin DeGraw’s ever-heartening “Not Over You.” Thanks, restaurant.)

This wasn’t supposed to be this hard. Moving forward was supposed to be the easiest decision I ever made, the easiest journey ever made. Instead, my own mind is inhibiting me from letting the past be left there.

Suddenly, a million insecurities come back. Some are related to my lost friend–I wasn’t good enough to keep him happy, to bring out his smile, to deserve his respect. Those spiral into insecurities regarding my job–I’m not a good enough leader; I’m not smart enough to do anything more. Then it’s life–I won’t stop being crazy; I won’t be healthy; I won’t manage my money correctly.

It always comes down to not being good enough. I don’t feel like I’m good enough. Hell, even once I finish my degree–I’m six classes away, just a hair over a semester–it’s in Design. Who the hell falls into IT with a degree in Design? Who takes a computer-oriented person seriously when her classes were in technical drawing and history of landscaping? There are so many things I have left to learn. I want to finish my mathematics degree. I want to get my Masters of Architecture. I want to get IT certified. I want to finally conquer Chemistry and Physics. I want to finish my freaking book.

There just isn’t enough time to do those things and work full time and repair my messed up emotions. Trying to do it all is what pulled me away from my lost friend. I didn’t have time for him. I hated that he treated me like what I was doing was less important than what he was doing. I hate that we didn’t work through it, but looking through those pictures today . . . his smile was different when we were 17. Genuine in a way I never saw directed at me again.

So now I’m barely holding it together again. I thought I was past this. I should be past this. There’s no excuse, but I find myself crippled again and again. So what next? What happens next?

Some of the pictures from the old memory card (just me–he’s asked me in the past not to post pictures of him).


Age 18 – trying on hats before the Def Leppard concert


Age 19 – trying on hats at Hard Rock Cafe after a friend’s 21st birthday. Apparently, I tried on a lot of hats.


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