Tuesday 6am …we come in.
My head gets dizzy as I feel the spin begin.
A no longer leads to B. 10 doesn’t follow 9. The map is wrong.
Everything fits but makes no sense. I’m thinking too fast. Grab that thought before it gets away… Oh, so close. I catch glimpses of amazing things that no one has ever thought of, but then “poof” it’s gone. I can do anything I can imagine except think clearly. I’m losing my grip on this reality. Slipping away…why? Not again. I’m losing my vision for where I am. I’m leaving the dock setting sail on a three-hour tour.
The weather starts getting rough. My tiny ship is tossed. All 7 of me are struggling to stay afloat. I need an anchor please. Something to keep my ship from spinning round and round.
Then I connect. I’m grounded. I’m on solid ground…but wait no…the ship is on fire. I’m on land with a burning ship and now the ocean is too far away to help. I struggle throwing sand at the ship hoping to put out the flames. As the ship smolders I see from the corner of my eye a respite.
A mirage? Can it be? An oasis in the desert I now find myself in. I walk for what seems like days, or is it hours?
It’s only been minutes.
I reach the oasis only to find it’s an open cesspool. All the filth, anger, hatred, ugliness, guilt and shame of who I am reflects back on me. I’ve traveled so far but made such little progress. I feel my feet slipping into the pool. The stench climbs its way up my body. My knees, my hips, my gut, my chest. It reaches my mouth as I scream unthinkable things at it. I curse it with my last breath. My nose, my eyes, my mind. I am consumed.
Why didn’t I drown on the boat? I had to tie myself down to stay on board. Why didn’t I get burnt? I was so close throwing the sand. Why can’t this oasis be the water I need? Darkness…an empty void….nothingness.
As I begin to let go, to end this nightmare, the ground beneath me disappears, and I am falling. The wind rips the dirt and grime and skin from me as I fall. Faster and faster toward the ground below. Here I come. I’m clean. I’ve shed my skin. I can feel the crash is coming. I embrace it. An end to this horrible ordeal. Escape. Suddenly I’m flying. Not like a bird or Superman, but I just am. My feet gently touch the ground.
But where am I? I recognize nothing. This is not my world. I’m frozen with fear. I lay down to sleep giving up to the force that has brought me here. Deeper and deeper I fall into my slumber on the lush green grass of the forest floor. Ahhhh….there it is! The peace I’ve been looking for. The spinning stops. I see my boat anchored solidly at the port. I’m now invincible. I follow the path. A….B….C….D….10…11…12.
I no longer smell of burnt flesh or disgust from the cesspool. I’m wearing a clean white suit, and it fits. My hair is perfect. Swagger is bold. But this isn’t me. This is the illusion I need to get home. Time to shine! As I walk into town people are waving, crying my name, so glad to see me.
“Tony, we’ve missed you!”
“Tony, we need you.”
“Please don’t leave us again.”. The children gather at my feet. “Tell us a story, your stories are so good.” “You’re the best ever, we love you!”
Suddenly, I realize I am God to these people. They worship me. I can do anything. I am superior to all that I see. I become drunk with power. Rude, arrogant, conceited, dominant, authoritarian. Bow down before me.
I make my way up to my castle, up to my room. There I see a mirror. But what I see looking back shocks me with horror.
There he is, the true me. Those eyes looking back laughing at the joke I’ve become.
“Don’t you know you can’t hide?” “Salesman mode is not going to get you out of this one.” Thought you could disappear and hide behind that mask of false confidence? HA! That guy that was burnt by the flaming boat. That guy absorbed in the cesspool. The image looking back has broken bones and scars. I can see the steam rising from my body and the smell is unbearable. My skin is burnt beyond recognition. This is my reality. This is my truth. I collapse from the weight of who I really am and slip further into the darkness.
Slowly I awake. I’m home. Normality achieved. This is the truest of all of the realities. This is where I belong. I pray that the tempest that sent me on such a journey will fail next time. But I know that it is only a matter of time before I set sail again. I pledge to myself that next time will be different. Just like I’ve told myself thousands of times before. I must learn to consume both parts of me into a whole. I’m not a prophet, I’m not a derelict. The true me lies somewhere in between. Balance. Equilibrium. Not too high, not too low. I can do this. I can be who I want to be. I can be free from the dichotomy of who I think I am. I’m positive. I’m calm.
I can hear him over my shoulder, I smell the rot….the bipolar demon laughs with delight because he knows he’ll be back.
Tuesday 6:10am This is where…