I woke up with a blank slate; nothing planned & no reason to try. For whatever reason, I felt I must have been taking everything in my life for granted. My natural perspective was skewed to a point of ultimate pessimism, or perhaps I really just was that sad of a person. However, I refused to believe so. Everyone experiences the darker range of human emotions from time to time. We are all human. We are all growing older & we all live in the same moment in time.
I must admit that I am not the most optimistic person, or the most extroverted; I’m actually quite the opposite. I have had my fair share of troubled moments in my life where I was the puzzle piece that didn’t fit, but that never stopped me from changing my outward appearance to fit in. This past Saturday was a collection of all the small moments that I didn’t let affect me & those times I told myself I was strong enough to make it through.
So, I woke up with the thoughts of “what if I was dead” racing through my mind & multiplying into worse thoughts. Those particular thoughts I will spare you of, however I reached out; I told my friend that I wasn’t okay. He told me to write out how I was feeling & sent me photos of my little 15-month year old nephew. I started to cry right then realizing how gloomy the outcome of me not in is life would be & how I wouldn’t get to see him grow into such a beautiful soul. Even from 15 months, I can see his personality and his high spirit. Yet, I kept on crying, the negative thoughts still multiplying. I thought there has to be something that can help change this awful set of thoughts into something positive. I didn’t have the answer, however I had established what might help find it. I got into my car & started driving. I did not have much of an idea how far I would have to go, but listening to music while watching the white lines blur always seemed to be cathartic for me. & It was, to a point at least. After a few hours, my friend called & I couldn’t tell him much of any of the things I was feeling or thinking or what the hell I was doing. I couldn’t tell him because I couldn’t describe it, it was a sort of numbness. I couldn’t feel anything (emotionally at least; I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to seeing blood.) So, perhaps after a few hours, driving wasn’t proving to be as cathartic as I wish it was, but at least I was doing something.
I had the idea that I would drive until I was tired & sleep in my car. This was my plan until I had passed Yuma, AZ & reached the Imperial dunes in Southern California, where it was 101 degrees at 11:00pm. I didn’t have that much water either, so I drove to the closest town, which happened to be about 20 minutes from the Mexican border. I pulled into a McDonalds parking lot & felt a tear come down my face. Then my face cringed while I was grasping for air.
It happened. I was ugly crying in the middle of nowhere, California.
I broke down, thinking what the hell had I done? What had any of this driving done? Why was this going to make any difference? I wanted to stay in the car & just mope, however I called my friend. He answered to just hear me crying. He stayed silent for a while before reassuring me that everything was okay. Encouraging and comforting me before convincing me that I needed to find a hotel room for the night.
I knew he was right.
We worked out a room to stay in for the night, I was feeling foolish for doing all of this, all the same I thought at least I’m feeling something. After I drove to the hotel & gotten my things out of the 100-degree heat into my room, I quickly started to feel better.
I fell asleep after talking to my friend on the phone, knowing that I would wake up 4 and half hours later so that I could go watch the sunrise in the desert. Something about watching the sunrise & feeling the sun’s morning warmth appeals to me. It rejuvenates me in a way.
I woke up at 4:45am when sunrise was at 6:16am, according to my google search before I went to bed (which proved to be remarkably accurate.) I went to get my complimentary continental breakfast. I had oatmeal. I smiled at the lovely lady behind the counter that had given me my room key a few hours previous.
I then stopped by the gas station that seemed to be owned by Mexicans on my way out of town. I went to the counter with a gallon of water.
“Hola,” he said.
“Buenos dias,” I said.
After that, “muchos gracias.”
I suppose my time in Spain earlier this year had made me comfortable with casual Spanish.
So there I was, driving towards the sunrise, listening to the music that I love. Just like that, a smile crept on my face. Suddenly, it was a brand new day & I realized I had done something about how I felt. I was fighting for my own release of emotions.
I got to the dunes just before the sun started to flare into the corner of my eye. I swiftly started setting up my camera & stripping down because I knew exactly the images I wanted to create. I knew exactly how to capture the moment of isolation, knowing that I wouldn’t feel so lonely afterwards, even if I was alone. I ran back & forth, completely naked & full of sudden ambition to capture something important to myself. I knew that these photos were exactly why I came here and ended up in the middle of the desert. I understood that everything that led up to this point was worth it, which put a smile on my face that I couldn’t shake. There was literally nobody around & I was almost laughing that fact that some twenty-something year old guy is out here ass-naked laughing at himself for being so emotional.
I am over-sentimental at times, usually pretty moody, artsy, proud of myself, in love with anything melancholy & attracted to those I see a spark in.
It is okay that I am a mess & it is okay that you are a mess. Not many people have their whole life figured out. So be a mess; it means you’re living.
it means you’re alive.