I hate flying, all that turbulence and being strapped into a ride or die situation with no control over anything. Despite the screaming, shaking, seat kicking, neck spasming, ultimate discomfort of hurtling through space with nothing but jet fuel and some underpaid pilot attempting to defy the laws of gravity; I have this innate yearning to get wherever it is we’re going. Landing with our feet on solid ground where adventure awaits just beyond the revolving doors of baggage claim is kind of amazing if you think about it.
Climbing out of poverty while dragging complex trauma-luggage behind me, I have the complete collection-and yes, those are genuine nightmares in the stitching, took roughly twenty years of stubborn, ruthless, thick-headed travel to get the stains out. The end of the rainbow was more work in the form of student loans, a career, piles of laundry, dishes, toenail clippings, research, humiliating mistakes, cavernous hunger and close to a decade of home sickness. Low iron will either kill you, break the bank or a little of both. Ego death sucks but the wings are worth it. The gift was having three hours, ten weeks a year to cocoon. On the outside I looked like some gray and dying carcass but inside all kinds of stuff was happening. I cried a lot. It was sort of like flying except you can’t order drinks, movies or eight dollar snack boxes filled with Brie and dark chocolate but if your nurse hits a valve and you happen to pass out, the apple sauce and orange juice are on the house.
There’s often no time and frankly no money for dealing with feelings which is why it usually takes some brink of death experience to shake our senses awake. Don’t unpack your checked bags in the middle of the airport. Wait till you get wherever you’re going, which for me has been a series of decent rentals, sort of like fancy hotel suites. Oh look! A fridge and fluffy pillows! Everything is temporary anyway. Despite the fact that we never truly own anything in this life, we tend to try with all our might to hold on to illusions of permanence; photo albums, kids, traditions, routines, ideologies, processed food and other soothing lies. Death grips. Apparently I’m eventually buying a farm. Moooooooo.
The best some of us can do is quietly tend to our broken parts from the privacy of rooms we’ve managed to book, dress our wounds in designer or not so designer labels before going back out with the latest armor we’ve learned to wear to dodge the sharp edges of other broken people. I only leave the house for essentials like work, scented candles and seven or eight bags of Boom Chicka Pop. That stuff is amazing. So are people, trees, birds, date night, puppies and sunsets. It’s easy to forget we’re a pale blue dot, orbiting a ball of fire in a galaxy of stardust none of us can truly fathom or explain. Take my hand for a minute?
Honestly though, I’m less of a hermit since last year’s major surgery; nine months of EMDR. What’s that? Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Sounds like witchcraft. Actually, it’s an evidenced based intervention that transforms lives. Now, instead of waking up screaming at shadows of the past two or three times a week, I wake up mumbling in frustration every couple of months over cheaply costumed ghosts. Oh boo hoo. Just die already! I’m tryin to sleep here, huh?! I can look at my face now, even sit near the window as the sun bores holes in my eyes, revealing every imperfection in the glaring light of awakening as the plane banks hard to the left or right; fickle extremes bob in tin pickle can’t or cans. Our destination is one and the same. For now, let’s check this place out.
This was originally prompted by Timbo complaining about having to buy new luggage for a work trip. There’s this one bag I still really want to buy made by an artist in New England; those Escape bags. Such a great metaphor. Not to mention I love her aesthetic; form, function and the transcendence of beautiful places.