Solitude is an old friend, one who likes to open the doors in the hallways of my mind. Some doors lead to the past while others are no more than an empty canvas awaiting the strokes of a brush.
One or two lead nowhere. In fact, they are mirrors upon which I see today. This moment. Right now. 3am.
"Aren't you afraid?"
Jack Canfield once wrote: Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Fear evokes one of two responses. Fight or flight.
Too often I consider fleeing like one of my characters did. She drowned her fears in a bottle of vodka, and some grapefruit juice while she rode her personal roller coaster of a life. What I learned from her is what keeps me strong. At least, I'd like to think so.
"More than you know," I replied though I might have missed exactly what they thought I should fear.
"It's only four months at most. They'll be back and start over."
Sometimes the temptation to flee is too great and it keeps us from reaching our goals, whatever they may be. "I'm just really going to miss them."
"Yeah," they said, their expression guarded except for the ephemeral torn look in their eyes.
"Life is like one those mystery workouts in an elliptical. Just when your muscles stop burning and your breathing slowly becomes normal wheezing, the infernal machine raises the track and suddenly you're pushing, bearing down with everything you have to reach your goal."
They smiled. "So life is a work out?"
"Each time I feel I'm one step closer to getting us out of this, the slope becomes ridiculously steep. So much so that the light at the end of the tunnel is obscured."
"So you're afraid."
Fight or flight.
How easy would it be to let it all go? How easy would it be to shut down every link, delete every blog, forget all about getting a story out of my head and into a page?
"A choice you'll have to make."
My once ideal sandcastle of a life succumbed to the tides of poor decisions. I built walls too close to the water, ignored its whims, and lamented my stupidity when only a perfectly flat surface without a trace of what once was showed me that zero is in fact a very real number.
Fight of flight.
I've rolled the boulders for the foundation of a new home away from the shores and up to the high ground. It's a painstakingly slow process I'm ill prepared to do at 38. I have three people (and a big-hearted dog) who depend on me, who have bravely hung their hopes on this dreamer, this slave to the muses in his mind. Despite the fact my ship is poorly moored with gossamer lines as storms approach, they see me as a lighthouse daring the waters to extinguish its light.
I wonder whether they know fear is my first thought each morning and the last, and most consuming one, each and every night.
Fight of flight, right?
Today, or rather yesterday, I took a step in an unexpected direction by returning to New England. Like the beginning of every human endeavor, only time will reveal a genius or a fool. Until then, I have to keep in mind that even the darkest of nights meets an end at dawn, and no rain falls forever. A second step has already followed.
Let fear and time know they've been served notice and the choice has already been made.
When I took that second step, I chose to fight.
Javier A. Robayo