The light rises from Green to yellow. I am to yield or proceed with caution as I approach the busy intersection. I am too far away though to logically make it through. The path forward shows no obstacles that would prevent me from pressing down the gas pedal and blowing right throw the changing light which will lift any moment from yellow to red. The white lines on the road show the lane I am to stay in, with one thick line directly in front of me like a wall that I should stop in front of and wait my turn to proceed. Something feels different this time. I am not slowing. I know I am supposed to but my foot will not lift from the accelerator. My left foot will not depress the clutch so I may start the pattern of down shifting to my eventual stop. I am not panicked though. I am not scared. I am indifferent. I also know I don’t want to hurt anyone else with the action I am about to take. I do not speed up; the car does not slow as the light turns to red from yellow. The cars that sat patiently waiting their turn to move in front of me from right to left and left to right have no idea what is happening. Some can see the car not making any attempts to slow or even stop so they make their adjustments. The black car proceeds steadily through the red light and into the intersection. Seen as the aggressor the driver is berated, cussed at, and fists shook in the summer air with on lookers’ eyes turning red with anger. Cars veer in avoidance of the violator, some stop while others slow to avoid the interaction. The black car, which drove at an even pace of 38 miles per hour, ironically matching the age of the driver, escapes the bewildered smattering of drivers without being touched. The hearts of those around the intersection that day raced, thoughts of their lives and how if they were one second faster or slower this day could have gone quite differently. Did the violator provide them a gift with the reckless behavior? His thoughts were not on them when he made his choice but if the outcome were some hindsight he would be comfortable with that.
For the vast majority of the almost past two years this intersection was something that I feared. I would reach the cross roads of healing and leaving an old life behind while proceeding through the lights on my way to a new and different life. I looked for ways to distract myself from healing through the various beverages, trips down history lane, and avoiding my anger. Anger was the final step, I didn’t want to be angry, I don’t like to be angry, I don’t like how it makes me feel mentally and physically. What I did was avoid the anger by disguising it as hurt and as sadness. I hid it beneath a veil of alcohol (not to excess but to numb the 2-3 glasses of wine), tucked it under a tear, and danced it away in the romantic idea that my life would be better now that I was my own. I ran from it like it was my attacker and I didn’t have the strength nor the will to fight it or face it. I wasn’t about to go down swinging and losing a fight I didn’t even want to be in. By avoiding this anger though it delayed me. I had gone through the other stages of grief but the anger portion. How could I face the fact that I was angry with the very person I loved almost more than anything on this earth (kids aside)? I couldn’t face that feeling. I never blamed her for leaving, I didn’t want anyone to say a negative word about her and even spent the first 6 to 9 months defending her to those that would say anything that could be seen as negative. I want to say that again, I defended my wife for leaving me for another man without giving me a chance at “fixing” our relationship or even working at saving a family. I even had the tattoo I have of our family that includes her name redone, including her name still AFTER I found out. I didn’t want to be mad at her because I was hoping that if I remained calm this would all go away and she would come back. I need to be clear that I am angry with her, well I was, I was angry. I felt after all that I had given to our relationship that I deserved at least a chance, if that didn’t work then okay but to leave for a man that she hardly knew breaking up a family of 20 years seemed frivolous to me. It happened though; it happened without me getting a chance and after living on my own for a while after she moved out, it crept up on me. The anger came, I felt it, I sat with it and held its hand alone on the couch watching Netflix. It felt good to be angry. I wasn’t angry all of the time, but it would come out, mostly when I was alone as to not upset the boys. I worked with it, I allowed it to run its course and allowed myself the time to say I deserved better. It was through my anger that I actually started to build a defense system, I DESERVED BETTER! I have never said those words out loud to anyone in my life. It is with the anger that I started to slowly develop a bit of self-confidence. I finally had someone to defend me and it was me, the person who should have been defending me the whole time.
Once the anger washed away, not fully there are still stains but for the most part I am free from the feeling, I started to then build. The building began with the blueprints and then the foundation. I needed to build the basis for what I was going to do/ be. While doing this I essentially locked myself away in my house with very little to no contact with the outside world. It is hard work building a life and I couldn’t have any distractions. This altered many relationships that I had, especially when no one knew why I was doing what I was doing. They weren’t aware because I was unaware of what I was doing, it just started happening. I even dressed the part of mad scientist by growing out my beard, wearing the same clothing for multiple days, eating when I felt like it but rarely was it anything of great substance, and then writing and thinking about, well, me. It was time for me. It was time for me to be selfish, it was time for me to consider the outside world but not consider it more than the needs of the very person I needed to be. When my guitar needed to be played loud, it was LOUD, when I needed to write until 2 am I did it, when I felt like watching a stupid movie I did it. Random stuff, odd stuff, sometimes secluded stuff, and sometimes social stuff but it was what I, it was what I, It still sounds weird to say it aloud, it was what I wanted. Without thought of others but my kids, they always are in my thoughts.
Two weeks ago, I was offered a job, it is two states away and my boys don’t want to leave their school. They will stay with my Ex while I move. The anger popped back up, the shitty teenager “why does she get all the good stuff!” attitude leapt forward and began to drive my every thought. It just comes easy to her, she gets everything without effort, these thoughts just kept coming but it wasn’t her fault this time. This was not to be placed on her shoulders. This was mine. I had a decision to make, do I stay here and continue my 7 month search for a job or do I take a job that I want in a city I want to live in, well for now, knowing the consequences to my action. I took the job. I will just make every effort to be here as much as possible for my kids because it is what I want, I want to be there for my kids, I want to have a fresh start and I want to feel good for the first time in almost 2 years. Why? Because I deserve it. So I let it all go, the anger, the hurt, the longing, the confusion for the feelings of tempered excitement, adventure, and anticipation. It has taken 38 years for me to say that and back it up, I deserve it, I deserve to be happy and I deserve to take the steps necessary to get there.
I saw the stoplights, begging me to halt and continue my longing for the life I once had. The intersection was dangerous and my recklessness with my overcoming the pain that I was in may not have left others unscathed but I could not stop. I didn’t know any other way than to continue. I never sped up, but I never slowed either. I just kept moving. My life at an even 38 miles per hour faced the onslaught of cars, trucks, bodies, amongst other shit and decided that it wasn’t going to stop this time. I needed to run this red light if I was going to get anywhere. I needed to take that risk that I may get hurt, I may lose once again, and that I may hurt others by continuing forward but I need to. I HATE that some will feel left, lost, maybe even forgotten but I am still here, I don’t watch you in my rear view but I see you in the car with me, closing your eyes, screaming “What the fuck are you doing!!” but along for the ride nonetheless. They have screamed at me for far less and I love them for each word. So yeah, I blew through the red light and yeah there are things I am leaving here like my anger, my pain, and my longing for the life/ wife I had before but those who are with me, my friends and my boys, are in the car sitting right beside me. Sure, we may run a light or two, but it is only because I see something up a head that I want, and I just cannot stop anymore. I stopped for two years at that light waiting and hoping that she would jump back in car that anything positive would jump into the car. She didn’t and it didn’t, and now it’s time to pull forward. I only have to say, goodbye, so long to the longing, I gotta go.