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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Things that are Different...

I cannot get coffee creamer here, like at all.  Anywhere. Not in towns, not in cities. 


No one in Ireland uses washcloths.  Now I have been a life long hater of them - but I have nevertheless noticed their complete absence. 


Top sheets.  They just don’t use them.  Ever. 


Right turns are the dangerous turns.  Left’s are no problem. 


Toilets do not flush on the first try.  Like ever.  Again it doesn’t matter where you are or what town, North or South.  Flushing the toilet appears to be governed by an act of providence over here.  And perhaps, prayer is what controls the toilet.  Because I have found myself praying every single time that it actually flushes. 


Coffee is instant, predominantly. I am not sure about hotels and places like that because I have avoided them. 


Hot water is also something of a luxury - they have complicated electrical systems to heat the water, that are supposed to give you a hot shower - but often scald you and freeze you out with no explanation for the drastic and sudden change.


I am different.  I have taken all this time to be alone.  To be away.  To get lost.  And what I have found is that I kind of want this as a way of life.  While there is a part of me that is sad, and lonely, there is a much larger part of me that is more content than I have ever been.  No idle chit chat to endure.  No worrying about relational status all the time.  It is just me, the land, God and my thoughts about it all.


What is not different is what happens to my mindset when I spend this much time alone.  I have always had this tendency to cave in on myself.  This would be the reason I launched myself as an extrovert to begin with...I hid from myself with others.  Allowed myself to become subsumed under other people and all their wishes and ideas for me.  And so far in this life, I have just taken brief retreats with myself, because the way that I crash in on myself is punishing and grave.  And for most of my life I couldn’t bear it.  


I knew that if I really took the time away that it would happen and that made me nervous.  And it brought up all the ways I still use to exit myself.  All the shopping, talking, doing, busyness.  All the ways that I exit so that I will not have to face this part of myself.  This place where I realize my importance to many of the people who profess to love me falls so much shorter than my mental health can handle.  And my remedy for that has always been to dance, smiling away from myself.  Moving farther away from any truth I might know, to hide first from myself and then you...


Well, I guess I am now different too.  I see the unsolvability of me.  All this contrariness that I cannot out run or control or mitigate or manage.  It is just there.  I want to be a part of but I also do not want to be a part of...and I am forever feeling like I join up in all the wrong ways and fundamentally lie to everyone, myself first and foremost.


I am not solving this alone problem in any of my usual ways.  I am not calling people to talk me out of it.  I am not joining things that make me unhappy so that I can be distracted from myself for a little while.  I am not shopping and disappearing into the dreams shopping creates for me.  I am not figuring out how to move to Ireland.  And am not starting new relationships with anyone other than a few select sheep and a couple of cows.  I swear I have had the best, most intimate conversations this trip with beings whose ability to communicate comes mostly from the unspoken word...instead they say it all with their body language.  And I see them.  And I feel seen.


And so in the absence of all my usual exits, I have been left with myself.  Alone, truly, with just me.  For days.  And it has been mostly pleasant.  There have been a few moments where I thought I might lose my mind. But like all things in this life, they passed.  I needed only to survive myself.  To not whip myself into futile action aimed at only perpetuating the pattern, again, still.


So here I am all different.  I have survived myself.  And in this struggle, I have come to see a few things quite differently than I ever have before.  And they are painful realizations.  Painful in that they are truths that will not become easily erased upon my return.


I am not willing to share them all but this one I will...to some degree I have felt this lifelong struggle to be free.  And that means a great many different things to me.  I feel like my life was altered at such a young age, and my attempts to process the trauma and abuse and assimilate into something that didn’t kill me left me feeling like I couldn’t really ever be present.  That I needed to always and forever be on guard.  And that this hyper vigilance was something that would take up all my time.  Always searching out people’s angles, searching out my own.  And so this great battle began - the only place I can feel totally safe is alone, but that was the last thing I wanted.  I wanted to be in the mix, desired, sought after, wanted, valued.  I wanted to be important to those about me. And so I set on a course to make you see that, but you never really did.  Some of you have and that is invaluable and life altering.  But many of you have just resented me for being who I thought you wanted me to be.


And I realize that I have spent the whole of my life trying to be this whatever the fuck it was.  And somehow on the windy roads of Ireland, I have found that I just don’t have it in me anymore.  To listen to all the bullshit.  To engage in the hypocrisy.  I know you are never going to get it.  I know you are not ever going to see it.  It isn’t your truth - it is mine.  And I have lacked courage and faith to just be who I am.


So somewhere on the wild Irish coast side, I have lost the will to go on as I had before.  And I don’t know exactly what that means.  I just have realized that I have existed the whole of my life like this:  if I am in a group, I want to be alone, and if I am alone, I want to be with a group.  But I never feel understood, or really seen in either and that is mostly because I refuse to allow myself to be.  I am the one who is always leaving.  Rushing in and playing the game, then just as quickly, darting back out again.


Perhaps the cure for loneliness is not others.  Perhaps the cure for loneliness is an acceptance of its inevitability in this life.  That we enter this world in solitary form and we leave it similarly situated.  Why should the middle part ever really be any different?


So I have found a new acceptance for myself.  For being in this place of abject solitariness.  It is what I wanted and what I feared most.  And yet, here I am living it.  Again, still.  But today it is different.  I feel different about it.  It doesn’t feel like something to be changed or altered or gotten over.  It instead feels like a quiet truth has descended upon me that I finally stood still enough to allow to land.  Like I have been trying to have a little bird land on me, to come sit down and rest for awhile, but I couldn’t remain still or present and so I flitted about here and there and everywhere and bemoaned the fact that I never could get the bird to land.


What came to me yesterday is that I have been attempting to pedal my specialness to the lowest bidder - always.  Just pay me some attention, some little gesture of kindness and off I would go in search of what minute crumbs might be found. Instead of just standing still and remaining. Crumbs are never very satisfying anyway...


Well yesterday in a foggy wood, it landed.  My truth, my struggle, my pain, my resolution for the pain.  It all landed on my outstretched limb.  And I didn’t do anything to dust it off or control it.  I finally realized I had this idea I would be made better or different or more by the addition of others. And perhaps it is not a addition or subtraction problem at all. Perhaps, it is just an acceptance of the number currently present, no math required.


I feel like I will forever be a person who is disappointed by the level of excitement life provides me. Like somehow I thought it would all be grander. And I see that perhaps it is my expectation that life be more exciting than my experience and head could ever manufacture.  It is ok to accept it is likely never going to happen, that I still quite desperately want it to and I am now a large enough container to hold it all in.  The loss and the gain, the sorrow and the relief.  The pain and the acceptance that life only occurs in the present moment.  Everything else is either a self indulged memory or a dream.  An often beautiful dream that is never fulfilled.


So like my experience with all things Irish, I too am fundamentally changed by my experience here.  And like the toilets that do not flush, I am really not sure quite what to do about it...so I pray.  Pray for myself, and you, and all the stuff that goes on in this world that I do not understand, cannot assimilate and have no ability to house it all within myself.  So I allow in what I can and allow the rest to find its way somewhere else.  Trusting that this path of self honesty, discovery and acceptance creates some mighty hard terms at times.  But it is all part of this most amazing journey.  The work is always mine, I can choose to do it or not.  I suffer either way, so it seems.


And that is perhaps the thing that is different:  the suffering isn’t really optional.  I see that now.  To be alive, is to suffer.  And so I come to a new understanding of the first noble truth:  because we are alive, we will and shall suffer.  And it is only in our desire and belief to not suffer that we suffer more.


Fuck, I get this now, deeper and more crystalline.  It pierces me and the acuteness of the pain wakes me up to life anew.




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