I have a story about a return.
Not of a person or people or object or time.
But of a space and a soul and something that used to be, then wasn’t, but was still there, just waiting.
You won’t find the why or how or what for the absence in any part of this story, but you’ll find the hope and faith and total certainty the absence wasn’t permanent.
It’s a story in the abyss. That absolute midnight that engulfs everything you know to be true when you find out it isn’t. Of realizing nothing it what it’s supposed to be, but is exactly what it’s supposed to be.
It’s a story of reaching that point of no return, and then turning back.
It’s a story that seems dark. It isn’t.
It’s a story that seems ugly and terrible and all of those things. It isn’t.
It’s a story of redemption in its purest form.
It’s a story of emotion and feeling and thinking and worrying and reflection.
It’s a story of unexplainable joy in getting something back.
It’s not a story of facts and plots and endpoints. There are no heroes or villains.
It’s a story of decades, with many parts.
It’s a story in no particular order.
I’ll do my best.
At some point I understood what it meant to be trapped in your own head.
I’d heard this statement before, but I had no idea what it actually meant. I knew what I thought it meant.
I had no idea trapped meant trapped in the most hopeless way.
I can’t say exactly when this realization occurred. I just know it did. One minute I didn’t really understand it, the next I was in it.
The fog of the gloom was always there, and I was never finding the edge.
It never ended.
There was the inevitable “some are worse off than you” thought. But that’s not how this works.
The fog doesn’t thicken or dissipate on a sliding scale.
Trapped isn’t an exercise in degrees.
Find the root. Find the wound and deal with it. Find the instance or moment, that catalyst that set the spiral in motion. Find that and maybe find resolution.
But then what?
That’s the thing about being trapped. Knowing how you got trapped does no good. It’s too late to have that figured out.
Escape is the real mystery, and there are any number of keys that fit that lock. Some are terrible. And permanent. And terrifying. A tragedy of being trapped – those terrible and permanent and terrifying keys are in your hand and begging to be used.
Sometimes people use those keys. The fog solidifies and the fog wins.
That’s the truth of trapped.
And it’s your mind.
And the emotional toll trapped extracts is staggering. This can’t be overstated. Everything changes.
But when you find that edge, and the fog melts away – sometimes that emotional toll exposes something different.
Emotional toll isn’t always baggage.