I see things linearly. When I was younger I would think about my future, and always I would have marks along a line. This is where I am now.
This is where I imagined myself to be when I was seven, thinking about how hard college would be, but then assuring myself I would have it all figured out by then. Then, of course, the x looked much farther away because I was looking ahead at it, like a tiny, barely distinguishable building in the distance along the road I was on. Getting to the building actually doesn’t take that much time, it just looks impossibly far away. When I was seven I was here:
was better than
and better yet, there’s
Where I am never seems to be as good as where I will be, which presents two problems.
1. I cannot be constantly looking towards a better, brighter future and also be a reminiscent person. I am very fond of my memories.
2. The x inevitably moves towards the end, towards death, and an attitude that says progression is always preferable to standstill regardless of when it means a loss of life implies I am either
a) deeply depressed, potentially suicidal,
Clearly there’s some flawed logic at play. What happened to convince me of the superiority of the farther-along x? Why was that x happier? Sometimes I forget all about the x and the line and get caught up where I am, here, underneath the cement staircase, where it smells damp but the atmosphere’s friendly and we’re huddled like mice in a storm listening to guitar. Like when the music is impenetrable, and we’ve all had just enough to drink, a few have had more, and we are exuberant, stretching our limbs and throwing our hair and all the pictures turn out too blurry. Like when I was little, I woke up early on a summer morning and went outside to the blueberry bush, picked a bowlful and sat at the counter with my bowl of berries and my storybook called “Blueberries for Sal,” waiting for my mother to turn around from the coffeepot and notice my smug smile, thinking of how clever I was.
It takes a lot of practice to remember these things. Along the way there are countless times spent curled in the ball on the bathroom floor, forgetting your promise to keep sane and remember the small things. There’s a lot of bewildered examinations of your day planner, dedications to start color-coding your activities, commitments, work schedule, in order to make your life more manageable.
I spend a lot of time trying to remember my many promises to myself, the most important promise being to stop thinking about my promises and calm the fuck down. You could say that’s the ironic part about all of this. To be truthful I’d never much given the x and the line much thought. It wasn’t until I realized the flaws of the x-line thinking that I really considered how much the x’s position on the line meant to me. That’s when I saw how badly it needed to stop. The line doesn’t accommodate any time for standing still, the x is always plodding along with very little consideration for what I want. “Fine,” the x might say, “you go ahead and have your freak out, I’ll be a few miles up the road when you’re ready to catch up.” And I, mascara-stained and out of breath, will inevitably arrive at the x, slap it heartily on the neck and hop right on again.