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The Speed of Nothing

I am in a period of constipation and I don’t mean the butt kind. My ability to emote, move, relate, follow through, answer messages, finish lists, ad nauseum is a never ending all day ticket on the struggle bus. The strain of living, breathing, producing, pretending, choosing, the ridiculous nature of it all is tearing open a space inside my head.

Just trying to drive through the Costco parking lot without getting hit by other drivers clearly unfocused in their temporary weapons with wheels unfurls within me a rage that unseats the human in me. Would you like to die today? Is that it? As careful as I am, everyone else seems wreckless from mere boredom and daily circumstance.

If I don’t move quick enough at the traffic light, a horn accuses me of wasting their time. In a hurry to get through this life so you can die?

There is no time to be safe. We are sold on time being money surely as every minute on the clock as an hourly employee is carefully recorded and rewarded.

If we can’t quantify it, somehow it doesn’t exist. That is why we speed speed speed in the car, at work, at the park. To fit it all in. Doing more is impressive and expected.

When I tell people I don’t work outside the home, a bizarre laugh is emitted from the inquisitor and is followed up with a crass, “So, you’re just hanging out all day?” The attempt I make to justify my own existence in society should not even be a thing.

If you don’t punch a corporate suit or put on a blue collar uniform every day, somehow you don’t deserve space or time to get in the way of others. Their lives are super important and you, well, you are just hogging Earth for no good reason pooping in someone else’s toilet.

When I was first diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder in 2009, I felt that fighting to the fullest extent to remain on the same level as everyone else was necessary. I carried this burdensome idea until 2014 until I cracked after 7 inpatient hospitalizations, a plethora of rotating meds that were certain to ruin my liver and kidneys someday, and even 11 sessions of electroshock therapy.

I’m not a quitter, goddamnit. I have never even slowed down, once working three jobs simultaneously day and night. I used to be that guy driving 90mph switching lanes in snowstorms like I had nine lives to live and give. Until I couldn’t do it anymore.

Living a slow quiet life invites some ridicule and general confusion. I never know how to talk to people about it.

My mail carrier, Linda, encouraged me to apply for an open full time mail carrier position with an air of excitement. I am always home when she delivers the mail and sometimes, my hair looks like shit and I’m not wearing a bra or clothes, just pajamas. How do you say, I’m doing okay? I write poems to process life, I make art with beads, my husband takes care of me, I love my dogs, my life is limited, but I am enough.

The drive to stomp through society swiping up as much cash as you can, reproduce as many mini reflections of yourself, and acquire all the great plastic things you can is strong. Any deviation to the life plan is cause for concern.

You’re not doing it right. What’s wrong with you? Don’t you want to be happy? You are making the rest of us suffer to support you. You must be lazy.

I’ll be frank. No one really gives a fuck if you’re mentally ill, physically sick, or physically disabled. That is no excuse to not follow the rules.

We gave you a handicapped spot at the mall, now get over there quick and help those stockholders make bank. It’s Christmas and everyone wants their bonus check. You’re unAmerican if you stay home on Black Friday. Get that wheelchair out there or eat some cheap chocolate if you can’t take the crowds.

Increasingly, there is no escape from the digital rat race. Out of options? No degree? Drive for Uber. Rapists welcome.

Speed has made us crazy but my crazy didn’t give me speed. It gave me nothing but a heavy rusted boat anchor I keep picking up and throwing on my back for the compulsive reason that I live under the pressure to conform to the barest of societal expectations for a childless 41 year old woman.

The immense drive to be has consumed me with the brightest flames of orange stealing bits of my fire over time so that my person has dulled and dimmed. When do you say back the fuck up? I’m nearly destroyed and the end is coming?

The difficulties I have experienced recently following a horrific car crash have caused additional pause. There is no more patience left in me for explanation.

If you don’t like my speed in life, you have a personal problem and it has nothing to do with me talking to myself in the store or looking 8 times before I make a left turn. Why would it matter if I never lived like you?

I’ll be honest, I never liked Jello jigglers and I refuse to brush my teeth more than once a day. I’ve never wanted kids. I prefer the train. I walk, never run. I often read the same sentence multiple times to get it.

All this I have accepted. My trials in life only convince me more that there isn’t much time left but wouldn’t I rather eat from a gourmet landscape over a fast food desert?

About missyrogers

Lifelong Michigander, early 40s, craft addict, chihuahua collector, coffee drinker, recovering human being, bipolar I, electronic music lover, bullshit caller, 5' tall, my blood is organic, and I refuse to be anything else. I will write until I die.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “The Speed of Nothing

  1. You are still young though your body might argue. The forties are a brutal era that forces us to look life squarely in reality and acknowledge that the race we were running is fake and rigged because it has no end and no winners. The forties are when we run full tilt into a brick wall that sits us flat on our tail while we assess what makes us happy and how we can balance that with paying the bills/our responsibilities. Part of that is learning to let go. We let go of the meaningless, the mundane, the pointless and head ourselves into a future that realizes the necessity of savoring the now, this day because today is the real gift after all! Congratulations! You are ahead of most of the rat race!

    Loved your piece!

    Posted by cathylapointeblundypoet | October 26, 2018, 1:17 am

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