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Escape Routes & Dead Ends...

I have had a lot of escape routes in my life. Drinking being my all time favorite, over used, almost killed me one. But it worked, really fucking well, until it didn’t. And I kept driving down that same fucking street that I KNEW was a dead end, for years. And was always so perplexed as to why I kept finding myself at the end of that particular dead end road again...

Men and dating have also landed me on another dead end street. Many fucking times. So much promise, but really there are these giant warning signs all the way to the end of that street, but I just ignore them. The red flags that line the drive, also could have been a warning to me, but I tended to see them as cute, funny, immaterial, not a concern, something that could be changed, not my issue, or simply I just pretended not to see them at all, hoping that if I ignored them, they would just go away...

Shopping that has been another dead end street for me. This idea that buying something will change my life. Like there is a product, outfit, shoes, makeup, care product, gym membership or trip that can or will change who I am. The shopping dead end street has always been about me becoming something other than I am. Like right fucking now! And it is pretty seductive really, because, like all dead end streets, they work, until they don’t. Shopping is really a good one because you can feel completely differently about yourself immediately. You don’t have to become different, just the purchase of a new outfit, and viola! You are now this new person that would wear that outfit! Life make over in a bag! Totally gimmick really, but fuck if I haven’t snowed myself a million fucking times with that one.

The food dead end street...yes, this too is another avenue to depart the present moment. Chocolate has been my drug of choice since birth. Ok, well, maybe not birth, but if someone would have given it to me back then, it would have been. I know this to be true with every fiber of my being. When I am stressed, chocolate calms me like no other. I have also used other food, emotional eating, to calm me down, comfort me, make me feel differently than how I am feeling. And it works too, like all of the above, for a little while...

Socializing. This one is a more recent addition to my list of dead end streets that never get me where I want to is a bit tricky because we all need a social life. We all need people, whether it is one, or fifty, we all need to be connected to someone, sometimes. However, I have habitually used people to exit myself. Taking up their time and space so that I wouldn’t have to be alone. Not that I really wanted to be with them or spend time with them or care about them, just that I needed to be distracted from myself and really anyone would do. I have gotten a lot better about this in the recent years, but I have spent a great deal of time driving down this particular dead end, and I am always so sad when it leads me once again to yet another dead end. Dammit!

I guess what I didn’t realize for a very long time was that escape routes are always going to lead to dead ends. I mean if you are trapped, and really need to escape, that is something, but life, living your life, doesn’t require an escape route for most of us. I suppose if you are unlucky enough to be kidnapped, then an escape route is needed, but for the rest of us living our lives in only a prison or capture of our own making, escape routes are just dead ends disguised as avenues of exit.

And so here we are. The truth of all of my life. I came into life looking for the exit. There has always been some part of me that didn’t want to be here and at a young age, I started looking for an exit. I have considered killing myself so many times I have lost count. Not lately. But when I was younger it was a prevalent thought and a recurring theme. There was a time in my life when I used to call the suicide prevention hotline nightly. I was drinking then and I would down a fifth of Jack and then call them and sob uncontrollably, drunk out of my mind, and acutely suicidal. They would listen, they would talk me off my self imposed ledge, and I would live to see another day, hung over as fuck, but alive and ready to do it all again. An endless loop of crap. That was what drinking brought me, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that at the time.

So I guess now I sit at the hub of all my escape routes, reviewing them and seeing that they are in fact dead ends that do not bring me any relief. They just distract me from the truth that is sitting right in front of me, so that I can avoid having to deal with this rather inconvenient truth: life is not meant to be escaped. Life is meant to be lived. And that is scary as fuck because it requires a certain level of accountability. One that someone like me would rather avoid. Being present. Telling the truth. Loving. Being intimate. Fuck these are hard things people! So much easier to numb out and traipse down the dating road, the drinking road, the shopping or eating road. Fuck, everyone else does! Why can’t I?

Well I can. No one can or will stop me. I am in charge of how often, or if I at all, traverse the dead end road telling myself a great story about how this time, the road will actually lead somewhere.

Nope. They always lead the same place, for the same reason. THEY ARE DEAD FUCKING ENDS!

So as I have now spent some time at the hub of all these dead ends, I can see that I need and want a new perspective. I can see that there are these other paths, albeit smaller, less traveled paths, that are available to me, but I have to blaze a trail. There isn’t a nice paved road with easy access and light and all. No these other paths are narrow, harrowing and seem like a lot of fucking work...but they promise to lead me somewhere new that I have never been before. And that is terrifying, which is why they lie mostly unused and vacant.

But having the realization that the dead streets that have so held my attention have lost their luster, I have found a new willingness to step off the old path and begin blazing new trails for myself. Ones that do not lead to dead ends.

It is terrifying, because I cannot return to the hub, the safety of surrounding yourself with dead ends is that you are always returned to the center of yourself. All dead ends require you turn around and go back to where you started from. And for me, that has been me. This person who insists that this time something new will happen, has been content to always be returned to the center of the hub of dead ends, because there is this feeling of safety there. I am ok, I am surrounded by failed exit strategies, but I can always retreat back into myself and that feels safe. But it isn’t. Because always having to return to this place in yourself that you don’t understand will always bring about the need to flee it also. At least that is my life experience thus far.

So I am throwing off the old ways, walking out and around the hub of dead ends that I have surrounded myself with repeatedly forever. And I am blazing new trails. I have no idea where they lead, and they may, in fact, be just new dead ends. But they are new and I don’t know what lies at their end, or even if they have an end. And I am invigorate by the new. By doing something else. By seeing that I am tired of dead ends and all the resulting effort that basically just returns me to a place that I wanted to escape from to begin with...

I have no idea where this all leads or what the result will be, but I am tired of escape routes and dead ends. I, instead, today, want to just meander paths that are new, promising everything and nothing all at once. And be open to what ever happens next...untethered from old ideas and patterns that have kept me so incredibly stuck.

Stay tuned...

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