Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Am I Normal?
It's happening again.
Recently I had to get a new car (it's a long story) but I don't like it. It rides too smooth and turns with ease. I miss my old Plymouth Duster with no front brakes, a broken speedometer and a leaky roof. I want it back. I feel like it was an extension of myself, something that had been to hell and back and still survived. I named my new car Karen. She is a sleek and shiny '02 Ford Taurus with no dings or dents. She hasn't been through any hardships. She also yells at me to put my seat belt on or when the keys are still in the ignition. I'm a big girl Karen, I don't need your help.
We don't get along. Naggy, bitchy Karen. I miss April and her crooked headlights.
I've also started a new job in the last 2 weeks. The job itself is fantastic, I'm already falling in love with the kids I work with. Adolescent drug addicts tend to get a bad rap, and I'm their confidante as well as their advocate. One teacher I met on the first day said, "Hello! So how do you like working with the druggies?" "Oh I'm sorry," I replied, "I don't know any druggies. Did you mean students?" Burning bridges? I don't care; the kids deserve better.
I see so much of myself in these kids. Their backgrounds, their struggles, their suffering. I see my 14 year old self fighting tooth and nail for some dignity or proof that I am worthy of something. For a chance to be myself. For anything.
But in the last two weeks I've changed. I have a shiny new car, a name-tag, and professional clothes that I wear to an 8-5 job. I'm now a productive member of society. I belong to the group of statistics that labels me a "success" as opposed to my childhood label of "high risk". I've been stamped, categorized, and approved. Domesticated. Like a caged animal.
It's my worst nightmare; people looking down on me with white coats and smiling faces, "There we go, now isn't that easier?" They stare at me like a child. "See how nice we are when you stop fighting? Just follow the rules and life will be easy. Trust us, we know what's best for you." They've fixed me. They hand me a blue ribbon with a smiley face and the words "First Prize: Submissive and Obedient".
I hate it. I yearn for the day when I could run away from home. Hitchhike my way to another city, feel the wind run through my fingers, the rain in my hair and just be alone. Funny how running away when you're an adult is more difficult than when you were a child. Responsibility, rather than authority, ties you down.
In all honesty, I ache for a chance to get out. For a chance to feel like myself again. To feel any sense of adventure and defiance in order to convince myself both characteristics haven't completely deserted me. I feel like a sell-out. Trapped. Condemned to a life of order because the logical side of my brain has convinced the wild side that a life on the road would be less desirable.
But I still want it.
I see the black pavement laid out before me each day on my way to work, and the urge to just keep driving is always there. It doesn' matter where to, I just want to drive. To leave. To feel like I am still in control. To feel like I am still free.
Maybe I'm weird.
The only thing holding me here is my boyfriend. While he doesn't understand, he is still supportive. When I said I was going to Italy, his first question was, "When?" instead of "What? Why?" He knows my need to run is overwhelming, but he doesn't question it. He is also aware of my deep seated fear of being tied down, which is why he has stood by me when others pressure us to get married or buy a house. He is the only thing I have never had the urge to run from.
Am I such a horrible person not to want this? Not to yearn for the day when I push a stroller up the sidewalk while comfortably jogging to a familiar mix of songs on my IPod? Or to save my money for a new camera or Rosetta Stone instead of hair treatments and shoes? To excitedly look forward to the day when I am backpacking around a live volcano instead of planning family BBQ's around one of my children's birthdays?
Am I being selfish? I don't feel unappreciative of what I have, but am I acting like it?