Escaping the American Dream

I imagine it to be like taking off on an airplane. That part right before you break out of the atmosphere... when all the gravity gets really heavy, pushing down on your head and shoulders trying to bring you back to land. And then suddenly, you're out. Youre free and light again. Flying. Completely above and unconnected from where you just were. It looks so different and beautiful; you never want to come back down. That's the way I think escaping the American pressures, ideals and expectations would feel like. At each age, there is something the world expects you to have done or be doing. And you better be doing it. 



Twenty-five years old and I am terrified that if I haven't escaped yet, I never will. I have always wanted a family, kids, a career. But I want so much more before. I want to, I need to break free into that weightless atmosphere where anything is possible and you are outside of time and limitations and expecctatios. I've always said that I would do it but the gravity of life has kept me on the ground thus far. 



I know the closer you get to breaking that barrier, the heavier gravity will be. The weight of the world and it's pressures will be relentless to keep you down, but when it is heaviest will be when you are closest to that break in the atmosphere. 




They kept asking me if I was nervous. If I was scared. 


I was terrified.


What I couldn't make them understand was that that fear was my driving force. Always. The things I was most afraid of were the things that I ran into head on. Otherwise, they would just hover. Above my head. Forever. Like thoughts, dreams, premonitions, translucent type ideas that would never come to pass. But they would remain there, forever. Lingering. Waiting. Reminding. That I was too afraid. 


So of course, I was nervous. Of course, I was scared. That was, in fact, the whole reason I was doing this in the first place. But how do you make a sheep understand why a wolf runs on it's own, or why some prefer to flee from the pack? So, I smiled; I charmed those questions with wit and persistent confidence. And I gave the same answers again and again and saw the same looks of awe and worry over and over. 


There was a peace in my veins, pumping through me, unlike any other stillness I had known thus far. A foundation of serenity that could not be shaken or diswayed despite my fear. It was a calming essence flowing through me and pressing me on. 


I had no idea what the answers were ... to all of their questions. To all of their inquiries and curiosities. And I did not try to discover them. I knew that they would come. All would be revealed in due time. And why rush all of the answers when the adventure lied in the questions?

Kristen Thomas