A few times a year, Andrew and I head up to Wyoming. It always surprises me that there are still places in the US where my phone changes from full bars to “No Service.”
Even before I knew I was Bipolar, that there was a name for what was going on, I knew I was happiest away from the noise of the city.
I remember as a kiddo every chance I could get I would climb as high I as I could up every tree. I was always drawn to them. When everything else was loud, unstable, and confusing, trees seem to me solid, reassuring, and grounding. I couldn’t explain this as a kid, but reflecting on it now, I understand. And… I was just was tomboy who liked to climb trees.
My family has a reunion every other year at a ranch out in central Texas. We would build bonfires, wander around the land, stare at the pond, throw footballs and just be kids. I remember crying when we would drive away. Not because I would miss my family (as amazing as they are) but because I had to go back to the noise. The noise of the microwave. The noise of the cars, the teachers and students. The noise of the buildings, the noise of the tv’s and radios.
Again. I didn’t know this back then. It’s taken me years of therapy to process through this and to realize that everyone doesn’t have this (and that many do). I used to daydream about growing up and becoming a Cowgirl or Treeclimber.
Fast-forward many years and my rage against the city took on many unhealthy forms. I went from loathing the noise, to reveling it, staying out all night, euphoric on the town. Many who crossed my path must have wanted what I was “On” because it must have looked like the most glorious drug. Ecstatic, life of the party, quick-tongued, eye catching, could dance all night, etc. What they didn’t know was my brain was producing this drug naturally. If only I could bottle that mess.
Ah, then the crash. Stuck, sitting on the couch, unable to move, staring out the window for hours on end, chain smoking, stuck. Highs and lows. Highs and lows.
My memories are like flashes from a movie. I rarely remember the whole film, just specific scenes that stand out. Most of the time I just feel so old. Like I’ve been living in this brain for too long carrying around the weight of my memories and mistakes.
This is why God gave me Andrew and Wyoming.
Last night I rested my head on my pillow and stared up at the sky packed full of billions and billions of stars. Andrew’s heartbeat is heavy, steady and faithful. I can feel it through the blowup mattress and it starts to calm me down. A pack of coyotes are yipping in the distance, they’re playful and happy. Ducks just jumped in the lake and are gliding through the water. Mosquitos are landing on our tent, can’t get in, I’m safe. Soft swish of bird wings overhead, sounds like about four of them, headed west. Wind through the brush. Embers dying in the firepit.
Arriving in Wyoming, my brain chemistry doesn’t change. Every sound is still on full alert. But there is something about the sounds of my Creator that puts my heart at rest.
I need the city because I need the people in it. But every chance I get, me and my man are runnin’ away to sleep under the stars.