On Eloping

I want to make my home on a mountain high
just me and my lover and the big old sky
I ain’t asking for much
just a little bit of rest before the day that I die
“Fingers to the Bone” — Brown Bird

Everyone deserves to be happy. Everyone deserves to feel secure and loved. When we lose that sense of connection to other human beings, we breed personal demons that make our lives a living Hell.

As for myself, I have become comfortable with my demons. We have a few things to iron out between us, but for the most part we have a peaceful coexistence. Neutrality is a better state of mind by leaps and bounds compared to depression and anxiety and anger, but the landscape out here means the mental weather is usually fair to middlin’. It makes for a great contrast and depth to explore. It can be lonely. Other people may come along and destroy the coastline of your mind, confusing your sense of boundary and self.

I’ve been cleaning up the place, the island inside my head I call Phaneron’s End. A very kind, tall, blue-eyed stranger entered my life a year ago and scared away a demon that had been plaguing me. We agreed to marry and he took me on holiday halfway across the country. We slept in train yards and Walmart parking lots. We flew a cardboard sign that simply read “Traveling, broke and ugly.”

We were homeless and traveling. We were spanging up the money to keep going and get out of the torrent of our lives. We were hungry, we were tired, we were free. We found ourselves at the edge of society, able to see what they call Babylon for what it is.

When we’d had enough of being Out There, we returned to our quiet lives in the Northwest. One transition to the next, we rebuilt our lives, found jobs, and came back to Babylon. We carved out a cute little hole for us to hide in when we aren’t working. I excitedly smile when I see my ‘happy place’.

If our mind reflects our environment around us, and vice versa, I can obviously tell that I am doing much better. I am finding my voice again. I am seeing things with pure hindsight, and sighing a breath of relief that the long and confusing part of my early adulthood has drawn to a natural close. Now, I get to move on to a new territory of normal societal confusion, navigating familial relationships, romantic relationships, and parenthood. After surviving adolescence and early adulthood, I feel nearly bomb-proof.

It’s not to say that the demons are no longer there. They are, but they have been on a diet. Occasionally they get a little over-loved and fed too much self deprecation and overly critical self analyses. It isn’t out of control anymore, is what I’m trying to say. They aren’t winning anymore. I am.

I know I am winning because I am determined. While I still carry a sense of ennui about working the same job every day and doing repetitive things in general, I find comfort in the rituals. I am determined to make bigger changes for myself, to move on and openly determine the next chapters of my life with someone who cares enough about me to do anything to see me happy.

We smoked many cigarettes and drank many cups of coffee on this back step in Tulsa.

Anything is possible. To believe that you will never be happy again is limiting yourself to the possibilities that do exist in the world. If you let others limit your possibilities, I urge you to get away from them. As I said before, you deserve to be happy.

This voice I found is new to me. It is me, but it is like catching up with an estranged best friend. We have a lot to catch up on. I feel like I’ve only recently woken up from a very deep sleep.

I had to lose everything to find this voice. I had to see how I could have nothing and still laugh, still feel safe, still feel human and free. I have come away from my time sleeping on the streets with the man I will soon legally be able to call my husband. People were both reprehensible and amazing. My faith in humanity was restored several times over. I learned to love the smell of sweat and dirt again.

I slept under bridges while the trains roared by not twelve feet from where I was. My future husband did attest, before we left on our journey, that it was the most oddly soothing sensation in the world.

He was right.

The experience that we had was a test for us each to see how we could do. We got to see the strength, resolve, and cleverness in each other, and I think we both were satisfied when we could look at each other and trust that we would do just fine as a team for life.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. This existence is beautiful, easy, and comfortable. I do not mind at all a monotonous, some would say boring life. I like the lack of drama. I like to feel financially secure. I like to have time and peace to work on my aquarium and my garden. I like not worrying if I am doing enough to keep my partner happy, because I know he loves me for exactly who I am.

I feel so lucky… and I have no regrets. I feel nothing but pride and excitement when I think about how we started out. I feel resolute and determined to, as I say, ‘become better grownups’.

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