Have you ever felt so happy you were terrified? Like you just felt on top of the tiny world you’ve created for yourself? It feels as if you’re peering down at all its beauty and peace and loveliness, but you just know a strong gust of wind is going to come and knock you down, back into the depths of the gross parts you know are there but can’t see or even hardly remember from the vantage point at which this feeling has carried you. It feels tentatively peaceful. Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever accepted every part of your life as utterly wonderful, but not quite every part of yourself? Have you ever felt blessed with even the boring bits of life like logging onto your computer at work, brushing your teeth, or sending an email? Lately I’ve just been getting carried away with those things- the mundane things, and the ordinary things. It’s as if I’d been doing them all wrong before, like I’d been doing them under a cloud that cast a weird scary light on everything and that is why I couldn’t see how much fun they really were. Life is so exciting sometimes it panics me, and some moments are so happy I’m scared of what I’ll ever do if they end.
I feel like a lion that was captured and held hostage in a zoo for a couple of years and then released back into the wild. Everything feels so familiar and new at the same time and the world is open and I am free, and I just want to run full speed ahead just because I can for the first time in a long time. But in the back of my mind, I am just so sure I’m going to get locked up again. I worry I’m going to make the same mistake that allowed me to get imprisoned in the first place.
I’ve been living under Plexiglas for so long, kept just outside of life, seeing it through a filter that didn’t let me really touch it. Now that glass is gone, and everything feels different because I can feel it. But I’m not so gullible I don’t worry that window won’t close again, because I’ve already thought about closing it. I know that outside is so much healthier, but I find myself missing that darkness inside the house and the company that kept me there for so long. I find myself missing that stifling, uncomfortable safety of the glass. That glass emboldened me the way a soldier’s shield, or a bullet-proof vest, or a parachute encourages people into dangerous situations and to take ridiculous risks. The false sense of security of that glass allowed me to make scary choices because I knew that behind that glass I was already broken and contained and in no danger of worsening the situation that was already so bleak. The glass absorbed all the responsibility I didn’t want to take. Like a fish dropped into a tank, I just had to keep swimming around in the filthy environment my captor created and try not to die inside it. But out here-it’s different. Out here I know it is up to me. Out here I know that I have to continuously make the choice to stay away from the allure of that chaos and confinement.
Out here is scary.