I just can’t believe it. I was sitting at my lil’ dining room table, staring out the window at the sunset making it’s way majestically to the mountains and thinking, “This is it. This is my home now. This is just too good to be true.”
Not to be a total downer right off the bat, but man, have I suffered in this ole’ life of mine. As you know, often times for me to just get through one day is a lot of work, a lot of commitment and a serious amount of pep talks to fight the bad talking going on in my head. And I found that I got used to the suffering. I even believed that there are those people out there who just got it easy then there’s me, apart, isolated, alone. I thought that good things just can’t happen to me. I was black and white and easily focused on the negative.
I have to remind myself that I’m not the only one that suffers. We all got our stuff. And my suffering is not any worse or more special than someone else’s. I’ve said so many times before that I think one of the greatest lies accompanying mental health issues is the overwhelming isolation, the feeling that no one can understand or can sympathize.
When we were planning for this epic change I kept expecting the bottom to fall out at any moment. Money won’t come through, we won’t find the right truck, people won’t support us, we can’t afford a new trailer. And step by step, day by day, things fell into place. “Ok then,” I thought, “I’ll just get on the road and still struggle, still fight to make it through a day. Things just don’t work out for me like that.” I focused on the negative and fought the joy.
The first park that we stayed at was Caprock Canyons up in the Texas panhandle. We pulled in, set up Gertie (our trailer :), placed our fancy lawn chairs under the shade, I tied up Islay to my chair, she laid down peacefully under my feet, and opened a new bottle of single malt scotch that was a thoughtful and perfect gift from a friend. I watched the clouds morph and undulate. I listened to a birdie who was doing his darndest to serenade me. Leaned back in my chair, took a sip of that Scottish love drink and it hit me. “This is it. This is my life. Accept it, it’s okay to be happy.”
See friends, I’ve realized that I’ve been feeling this emotion for weeks now and I just couldn’t figure out what it was. It was deep, not surface. I couldn’t put words to it. It was unfamiliar. I was just simply… happy. At ease. And I didn’t think that I deserved it.
I’ve messed up too much in my life. I’ve caused too much pain. I’ve struggled for too long. I’ve isolated and raged. This just doesn’t, it can’t, happen to me.
After a couple of days we hitched up Gertie and hit the road. We took our time to drive to Colorado. Endless farmland slowly became ringed with snow capped mountains. Flat plains started to gently roll and climb. A distant thunderhead built in strength. Soft rain fell on our truck. And we drove, together, listening to James Taylor, and reading Chronicles of Narnia out loud. And that feeling didn’t go away. I found myself staring out the window, fighting it. Pushing it back. This feeling of joy.
Andrew knows every word to every James Taylor song. He grew up listening to him on his family’s long road trips to the mountains. “Steamroller” came on. It’s a hilarious song. Ole’ James is speaking very highly of his manly skills. Andrew sang along with such bravado, not only the lyrics, but even delighted me with his air piano. When James got all into the lyrics, “Well, I’m a demolition derby, yes, a hefty hunk of steaming junk,” Andrew didn’t miss a beat. All that joy that I’ve been fighting, all that giddiness I’ve been holding down, bubbled over and I laughed and laughed and laughed. My eyes welled up with tears and I just gave in. I am allowed to be happy. And by golly, this sure does feel good.