I’m sitting in my car at Tyler State Park. It is about twenty-two degrees outside. I come here almost every day on my one hour lunch break. Usually I walk for a while as I collect my thoughts. But today I am a wimp. The car is safer. While I cannot hear the frigid wind smacking the leafless trees, I can hear about seventy geese honking in the field behind me. The chirping birds and foraging squirrels that would grace me with their innocent presence throughout the summer and fall are nowhere to be found. That is about the only notion I can understand today.
I come here almost every day in the hopes that one of these afternoons I will find peace. And in finding peace that will free my mind, if only for a moment.
But I am obsessive. I would like to tell you that I obsess over happy things like a good day at work or winning three dollars on a lottery ticket. However, that would not propel my insanity forward. So, I obsess about unpleasantries such as a bad day at work, whether or not I am good enough and the dumb things that spill out of my mouth like cherry Kool-Aid onto a bright carpet. Sure, it can be cleaned up, but the stain always remains.
A small engine airplane just flew overhead. As I hone in on that, still with honking geese in the background I start to wonder where that plane might be going. I have a good idea that it is probably going to the airport in Mercer County, NJ but that thought doesn’t give me warm fuzzy feelings.
I’m tired and have been for years. This game called life is not fun anymore and I look every day for the reset button but it never surfaces. All of the dreams and aspirations I have had in my life have dwindled to dust as I decided somewhere along this path that the right thing to do would be to put myself last. How crippling that thought has become.
Now my days are filled with despondent sighs and dreams of “someday”, “if only” and, the most damaging one of them all, “I should have.”
“I should have” are three words seeped in regret like a bitter tea bag in hot water. Regret is a tough teacher albeit a good one.
I regret not listening to my grandmother all those years ago on our car rides up River Road into New Hope, PA when I was a little girl. My Gram gave me such good advice about how to act like a lady and how you should never be easy. Her words rang in my ears until I became a teenager and the pressure of being cool and fitting in greatly outweighed good advice.
I regret listening to my father. While my grandmother gave me words of wisdom, my father gave me lectures of negativity. My dad, it seems to me now, wasn’t very comfortable outside the box. He told me why I shouldn’t be an auto mechanic, why I shouldn’t be a race car driver and went right down my list of dreams smashing them all one by one with the hammer of doubt. As a little girl, the one thing that I wanted to do very badly was please my father. If forgetting my dreams could help me do that, then that was what I would do.
It became clear to me a couple years ago why my father never pushed me. If I went after a dream and it didn’t work out then he would be devastated. If I stayed inside my little sheltered coven he would feel no pain because I never tried.
Since I need my dreams and aspirations intact, I don’t tell my father what is on my mind anymore. If I happen to be talking to him it is usually small talk. Even if I have something burning my brain that needs a hasty exit through my lips, I hold back. My father can never know who I really am or what I really want anymore. Obsession over that rejection will destroy me.