I find my fists clenched when I think about my future, what it looks like, playing out scenarios in my head. It’s when I feel my fingernails dig into the inside of my hands that I realize I am trying hard to grasp onto something that is not, and may not ever be real. Holding onto this pretentious reality does give me the feeling of hope, and I keep my fists clenched. I think I want it, I like the feeling of it. I feel a part of this far off reality, and I am doing all I can to stay in it. But soon, I notice the hold in my thighs, the curl of my toes, and the clench of my jaw. I begin to feel my tense muscles ease as I become aware of them. I let out a breath as all my muscles relax and I sink back into the bed I am lying on, the fan vibrates the wood floor, the heating unit hums with the music that is playing softly from my speaker across the room. I lie in my real reality as my daydreams fade out of my mind like smoke. As it clears, doubt stands before me, even as I close my eyes. He stands there like a brick wall, tall and strong. It’s when I try to shove him away that I notice he is more like rubber, strong and sturdy, he sways slightly but bounces back into his place. Hope and doubt live in the same room, and I feel like I need to get out of there. It’s in the corner of my eye where I see a way out, away from doubt, away from hope. They both present me with questions that I don’t know how to answer. It’s in that corner that I find the truth, or what I think it should be. I walk around doubt and make sure I don’t raise my gaze too high in fear I’ll catch a glimpse of hope and get lost in it like a plane in the clouds. Walking forward toward what is, now, is the only thing left I can think of doing. I find the place where I can live far enough away from the two that I almost forget they’re there. It’s in the now, that’s where I choose to be.
The deplorable expectation met my gaze and kept it there as I sat thinking about what move to make next. Anything that could make this moment divert from its usual course would fill me with excitement, relief. Because the casualness of it all has started making me so discontent, so unconnected, so indifferent to the outcome that the numbness of it all is scaring me to the point of desertion.
To be somewhere else, to feel something else has become a dream I wake up from as the unfortunate morning realization of my surroundings comes to focus—the reality I have surrendered to.
To be content is less than being happy, it lies just above the buzz ones feels before the body goes into a complete numbness of senses and instincts as alcohol saturates the veins.
The typical “of course,” “saw that coming,” “shit, yup I deserve that,” stutters of the mind come to face the truth in the spotlight of a moment.
Run away from that, run from the hands reaching from the muddy ground trying to keep you there stuck in that moment. We learn to expect the pulling, the grabbing grasps from what was. But we develop calf muscles and we jump, hell, as we leap onto higher ground.
When we reach that spot, we look down at the muddy footprint we leave as we walk forward. With each step that footprint fades to a point of clarity that is almost unrecognizable, one that we aren’t running from, but running with—you can tell by the length of the strides, they get shorter.
I looked up at the stars tonight, something I used to do everyday, but lately, everyday my nights are black skies–I forgot about the stars.
I forgot they were there because I haven’t looked up in awhile. I’ve held a narrow gaze with life, one which once you step into becomes bigger, vast like. So, I’ve gotten lost in this thought universe of mine, and it’s taken me awhile to realize that I should see it more as a solar system. Meaning, there are other systems out there in a bigger universe, I just have to look out for them.
Seeing the stars tonight I was reminded of the other solar systems. This solar system of mine is sludgy and jaded. We all have those kinds. We all have the easy kind too, like rollerblading on a smooth road, some solar systems feel better. But getting stuck in either is like forgetting about the stars. We limit ourselves to inside opportunities, the ones currently covered in the sludge.
In my universe, I’ve lived in some of the other solar systems–some good and some bad. They are a part of my universe and they’ll always be there if I look out to see them. But the only ones I can visit are ones I haven’t been to before. Because that’s how life works. Our past, present, and future live together in the compilation of our life, but none of them can overlap. Good thing there’s an infinite number of solar systems to visit.
Sometimes we get lost in our past. The “what ifs” and “back thens” make us question our present which makes our future hazy.
Sometimes we get lost in the future. We become so obsessed “knowing” or “not knowing” how things are going to turn out it prevents us from focusing on our present, which leads us to pessimistic views of our daily lives because we’re always wanting more.
The present is the only place where both the past and future can live, and it’s the only place you can see the stars.
Thinking that living in the present has been my problem, I have come to realize that living in the present is not what I’m even doing. The past and future are deceiving that way, they disguise themselves to seem like the present. But in reality, it’s us overthinking and analyzing, when we should be enjoying what is in front of us.
Living in the moment, feeling what you feel. That is the only way to get to a future, a solar system, that you want to live in.
…go look at the stars tonight.