a few days in the mountains brings clarity.

two hundred feet up with the wind trying to pull you off the sandstone as dusk descends… yeah, that will wake you up.

rappelling into the black, hiker headlamps bobbing in the woods, heading toward the not-even-a-town that’s sprung up at the base of Seneca’s spire, just overhang and air beneath your feet… that will remind you you’re alive.

the brother you’ve missed for too long, hard cider bottles with broken tops, baring souls by the fire, sitting in the hot tub until the water is lukewarm and fingers are prunes, spontaneous hugs and back rubs in the morning… these things tell you that life is worth it.

laughing like I used to, feeling my brain stop its crazy spinning, quietness in my center, something deep inside me trying to wake up for the first time in what feels like years… I remembered that happiness isn’t utterly unattainable, worth straining for.

driving back into the city in the dark, hiding tears at goodbyes, the lonesome radio chattering in my car, solo–the sadness and claustrophobia and missing descends on me again. it feels like it’s crushing me.

a broken, lovesick heart. trapped in an anxious, depressed body. living in a house my childhood memories don’t recognize. stuck in a city full of people I used to know. holding once-upon-a-time dreams I barely recognize as my own.

what the heck am I doing here.

I’ve tried everything to run from my sadness. I’ve traveled. I’ve climbed. I’ve read. I’ve lost myself in Netflix. I’ve listened to music. and made music. I’ve written. and written. and written. and slept. and slept. and slept. I’ve sat in church and sneaked out of church. I’ve talked to people and refused to talk at all. I’ve cried and felt numb. I’ve let myself remember and forbid myself from remembering anything. I’ve literally run, tennis shoes on asphalt, my breath shaking my world.

the sadness isn’t going anywhere. I guess that happens when you lose your whole world, its center and everything orbiting it. everything goes dark, because everything that was shining just isn’t there anymore.

but I’ve got to try to make it better. I can’t change my circumstances. I can’t make choices for other people. I can’t wait on someone who may never fight for me. my stubborn heart might keep waiting, but the rest of me has to try to find a way to live, even as it hurts. I’ve got to tell myself, it will work out if it’s meant to. no matter where I am. no matter what I’m doing. no matter if I’m happy or not.

maybe that means quitting school temporarily. maybe that means leaving the city, turning my car into a home, hitting the road. getting a dog. maybe it means finding a job that gets me outside and close to the wild places. maybe it means finding people who don’t know me. maybe it means chasing down the people that do, in Brooklyn and Boston and Germany. maybe. maybe. maybe.

maybe this will turn out to just be another form of running. maybe it won’t. but I won’t know until I do. and wherever I go… I’ll take the memory of you.