“I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.”
I’ve written about my late teenager years quite a bit since I last visited Missoula, but tonight I was hit with a bitter nostalgia with a healthy shot of joy. When I think of my most formidable years, I think of my time actually forming defenses and fighting the demons, because that’s what I spent the most time doing. But there were quiet moments too. Sometimes too quiet… Moments where there was literally no one and nothing stopping me from breathing and being me.
Those beautiful moments would often come on paydays. No, I was not some shopaholic or heavy spender. No, I used my money for a very simple luxury: gas. I’d fill my tank and drive and drive and drive. In Montana, you never truly go too far, but Missoula is a vast valley with mountains enclosing it under the blue inverted bowl. I would spend half of my paycheck solely on gas to wind my way through the neighboring areas and flee from my demons and captors. If you drive just fast enough — If I drove just a little faster, maybe… Just maybe…
But I didn’t need a permanent release. I needed reprieve. Just a moment to breathe in my own essence and not the toxic dogma for once. For quite some time, I saw my sanity through one fiery-edged mountain sunset at a time.