Where do we go now?
Where do we go?
Sweet child o’ mine
Things are definitely off piste when I’m resorting to seeking solace in Guns N’ Roses lyrics. Generally not my cup of tea. And Slash with the top hat and dangling cigarette — he freaks me out a bit, if I’m being honest. Nevertheless, Axl poses a very good question: Just where in the hell do we go from here?
I’m feeling numb. Feeling stuck. My head is not quite right. Is this what it feels like when someone experiences a genuinely traumatic event and is forced to accept it in order to continue to function? A soldier whose friend a foot away is felled by a bullet on the battlefield. Dead. Gone. Done. That soldier must acknowledge what he or she just witnessed with his or her own senses. Stuff that experience away somewhere to be unpacked (or not) later. The world is changed forever from that moment forward, yes, but the soldier must return his or her attention to soldiering on. Keep running at a full sprint. Stay out of harm’s way himself or herself. Is that what this is?
I’ve been taking my own advice, mind you. We have surrounded ourselves these past few days with good friends and had deep and important dinner table conversations. We have patiently answered our 10 year-old’s myriad queries aimed at sussing out exactly what this new normal means. Reassuring him (and ourselves) as we hear our own words spoken aloud. And I’m not sitting around on the couch in my pajamas all day, gorging on spicy cheetos while the beard stubble on my face gets longer. I’ve run. I’ve hiked. I actually swam in the Bay four times this past week. All of this good stuff has allowed me to keep my moment-to-moment equilibrium. And while I am not drowning, I have to admit that at best, I am only treading water.
There is something deeper going on. Something that is only now starting to percolate up. Lately I’m having that recurring nightmare where I’m sitting in an ocean view restaurant right in front of a huge window overlooking the sea. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an impossibly gargantuan wave stands up and blots out the sky. Marching right at me. Poised to destroy everything. And there’s absolutely nothing I or anyone else can do. I hate this dream, man. Because I know what it means. It serves a purpose, beyond just as a nagging reminder not to sit at that table at that restaurant. And beyond taking a second gander at those blue Tsunami Warning signs in my neighborhood. “The closest exit may be behind you….”
This “Impossibly Huge Tidal Wave Nightmare” only bubbles up, it seems, when I am wrestling with some sort of heavy shit. Some important riddle or puzzle or quandary that remains insoluble during my waking hours. My mind pulls out all the stops when contemplating something deeply troubling. “Let’s throw the Ridiculous Wave Nightmare in the mix tonight, send him a signal that something serious is up. In fact, let’s roll that footage every night this week.” Ugh. OK, OK, OK.
So where do we go now? My subconscious (and those Tsunami Warning signs) are trying to tell me something: Apparently, I need to find higher ground. I’m not sure what that means yet, but I suspect I won’t be alone there. And in the meantime, here’s hoping the maître d’ doesn’t seat me by that ocean view window again at 2am tonight….
Thanks for reading.