Remember how I thought I’d leave Vancouver with a “hump full of happiness” that would carry me to Minneapolis? Well, that turned out to be a Best Laid Plans moment. After a wonderful conference filled with delightful friends—both new and old—I was ricocheted back into chaos when my car was broken into overnight in the fancy neighborhood I was staying in.

Half my wardrobe is gone. All my jewelry is gone. My sense of safety and security in this world is gone.

Twice in as many weeks, I’ve had the foundations of my faith fall from underneath me. People are inherently good, I tell myself. The once-beloved blocks me on another platform. Trust and believe, I say. Strangers smash my window.

I’m feeling robbed not just of memories and irreplaceable gifts—tangible items that tied me to a past I visit with both affection and regret—but of a sense of the belief that people rise to the faith you place in them.

An old therapist liked to ask whether I expect too much of people, and maybe she’s right. Maybe it was too much to expect a close friend to explain before cutting me from their life or for passersby to NOT SMASH MY FUCKING WINDOWS. Maybe I’m a fool, sitting around waiting for the world to be kind and generous and safe. Maybe the naysayers are right, and you should protect yourself; stay closed, locked, out of reach; become a fortress, impenetrable. Maybe I should furl into a tiny corner of myself until I all but disappear.

Maybe I could disappear.

I woke at 3am in a tent on a lakeshore in the middle of Washington, and my chest was in a vice grip. I lay there for hours, wishing I could cease to exist, wishing the sun would stop rising, the birds would stop chorusing, and the world would stop demanding my presence in it. The burden of finding a positive path forward, of renewing any energy, any zeal, any appetite for another step through this wasteland of human garbage, felt too heavy to bear.

A friend told me it’s time for self-care, and he’s right. It’s good advice. The thing is, I usually soothe myself with hiking. I’ll be driving through Idaho and Montana and Wyoming these next few days, surrounded by gorgeous, immense wilderness, and I’m terrified to leave sight of my car. (You best believe it’s in view as I write this.) How do you recover a sense of security when you’re out here alone, when a violation of the tiniest part of the world—a car window—is an invasion of your whole world? How do you leap back into faith and pray, this time, people will prove you right?

I’m carrying a new passenger—fear—and it laughs in my face. You thought you could outrun me. You thought you were free.

I intend to face that asshole today and go for a hike anyway, because if I don’t, the bastards win. Even if I’m terrified, even if my heart races and I can barely enjoy the sights through a thunderous roar of anxiety, the one thing I know about myself is I’m competitive as hell and stubborn, and I don’t let bastards win.

I wanted to write only positive news here, to share my life sunny side up, but the thieves took that from me, too. I’m raw, and there’s no hiding it.

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