August 2, 2015
The Darkest Hours of Night
Home Is Where the Heart Is?
There is something ineffably ugly that creeps up inside me now. A sinking sort of desperation to fight above a surface that is fading out of sight. I can no more explain it as I can categorize the feeling into a single compartment.
To avoid sounding like a complete traveling brat, I refuse telling others that they couldn't understand and keep the world knowledge I’ve gained over the past year to a three word minimum when called upon - “It was amazing” - “You have no idea” - “I don’t have an answer to that” ... which usually follows asinine questions such as “What’s the best place to go/ the most intense place" (seriously … what does that even mean?)/ "How did you do that by yourself" to "But what about the sex slave trade? Haven't you ever seen 'Taken'?” Please stop. You're an embarassment to yourself and your nationality. ( I'm talking to you, America.)
But in all seriousness, after leaving my job and home 14 months ago to follow my dream of traveling the world, embracing as many of this beautiful earth’s cultures, foods, and wines, and writing along the way …. coming back to America is more than just a *culture shock.* If I were to embrace hyperbolics (which, lets be serious, I always am) it's a depressive induced panic attack. And I spend every day plotting ways to get deported from my own country.
With 3/4 of a book written, a 6 month journey turned into 13, and bank account fumes, I landed at JFK for what I promised myself “a brief visit" on June 13th. Though I had no set plans of where and when I would get out again, I felt confident that I would. I started without a plan and I would continue with what scrape of one I had accumulated.
Now I sit outside on my parent’s deck at 4:48am with an ice pack strapped to one eye with a rubber band like an inept pirate patch to numb down the tears and swelling before work tomorrow. Seven weeks home and it’s now all finally leaked out.
Let me be perfectly clear - I am so beyond happy and grateful for this past year’s experiences. I am grateful to everyone who supported me and grateful to myself for pushing beyond my comfort zone and following my heart. That is a decision I couldn’t regret in a thousand life times. But still, America calls and landing doesn’t come without the responsibility of working within this corporate world; I have to pay off those debts somehow.
Waitressing and Bartending are a routine that I’ve done ever since I was 18. Like riding a bike, right? Yes, exactly like riding a bike. Riding the same red, white and blue slave ship of a bike the rest of our country is and suddenly, I’m scraping at every circumstance and memory and horror I’ve experienced over the past 13 months abroad to keep me sane, to remind me it wasn’t a dream, that I really did escape this. (How the fuck am I back in it?)
“It’s a means to an end,” “You’ve experienced so much worse; this is nothing,” "You are strong. You are brave. You are an adventurer," "This is just one more brief expedition," are mantras I repeat to myself on a daily basis as I serve the city’s finest steaks and wines to guests. And it’s not bad. It’s really not. But I can’t find the heart or the soul to live in it. I can’t find a way to care, to assimilate, to be one of *them.*
It’s not the place, it’s the ideology of our country that I can’t get behind. The entitled and the slaves to the world, working so that they can keep working. It’s even more stupid to me now than it was before I left. My mind drifts to afternoons alone in the South of France writing or painting by the sea or horseback riding in the country side, anonymous and blissfully at peace doing what I love. The memory single handedly gets me through the day while simultaneously handicapping me.
As for the future, I’ll have to play this game for awhile until I can find another way out. And trust me, I will find one. That I’m sure of.
In the mean time, let me re live the past *unwritten* 7 months with you on here.... Enjoy.