Sometimes, for me, the best medicine is just being gone for a bit, just going into the woods and spending time around a fire. And so, last weekend, the first free weekend I’ve had in just about forever, I went camping. Solo camping. I set up my own tent, blew up my own air mattress, with lung power, and lit my own campfire.

IMG_6127 camping camping1 I didn’t quite know what I was going to do with myself at a campsite, alone, in the middle of April, but I figured it out. Mostly I read and poked at the fire, ate cheese and bread and meat and roasted a few marshmallows and then, when it started to rain a bit, I curled up in my tent and read by candlelight before falling asleep to the sound of rain on my tent.

And then it was morning.

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I slept far less terribly than I feared I would and waking up in a tent on a cold morning, snug in a sleeping bag, is really rather nice. But, there were adventures to have so, after eating some more bread and some more cheese and some more meat, I broke down the campsite and loaded up the car.

And then I hiked.

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Not far, really, just into the woods for a bit, away from things, and the rain mostly stopped and I found myself again, in the wilderness, not really wanting to come home.

But I did. I drove the two hours home, rolling things over in my mind and feeling probably a little too pleased with myself at my solo camp adventure.

I have this terrible anxiety about things like this, about going and doing things on my own, and yet I’m solidly an introvert, totally okay with spending time alone. But this was a different sort of alone, this wasn’t sitting in bed reading on a Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t watching TV alone on my couch on a Tuesday night, it was removing myself from comfortable spaces and pushing myself into the uncomfortable unknowingness of new solo experiences.

And really, that’s what these past months have been about. They’ve been about saying yes to things I would have hid from before, they’ve been about seeing what, exactly, I am capable of, about doing things I never, ever thought I would or could.

Sure, I’ve camped before. Rather a lot as a kid, and only a little as an adult. I was married to an eagle scout once, so that should garner me some camping street cred, but it’s not something I’ve ever done alone. I was terrified I wouldn’t remember how to put up the tent, even though I did the night before, in the yard, with some slight supervision from someone who has set it up before. And I was scared the fire wouldn’t start, that I would be a fire-starting failure and have to curl up in my tent, eating un-roasted marshmallows and pouting, but no. That fire lit with just one match.

I don’t know if I have a point, but someone said something to me before my last half marathon that I keep swirling around in my mind because he was so, so right. He said, “You doubt yourself too much.”

And I do. And I don’t want to anymore. Because I’m fucking 30. And I’ve had enough of that shit.

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Most days I just want to light shit on fire. I want to burn the whole god damn world down, I want to fight until I’ve got nothing left, just like I’ve been doing for the past how ever many months. I want to take a match, strike it and burn the whole fucking thing down, my life, my love, my reality. I want it fucking gone because it’s not the shit I picked, it’s not the shit I fought for, and yet still, it’s mine.

So I carry it.

Because, really, what’s the other choice? I lose my shit? I strike the match, burn all our lives to the fucking ground? That’s not feasible, see, because we must maintain some semblance of sanity, no matter how hard it might be.

Right?

Because the scorned bitch, she’s the one who is supposed to stand proud and swallow her hurt and live some great fucking life and be the best version of herself, but fuck you. Real life is a disaster. It’s a shit show.

Real life takes the fucking life from your lungs, it cripples you, it throws you on the fucking floor, broken limbed and bleeding the fuck out, because reality, my friends, reality is a mother fucker, and all the things you learn, all the things you realize, they will cripple you.

And sure. I’m a strong bitch. I”m a badass mother fucker. I’ll spit hate in your face and never regret it, but that doesn’t mean this shit, this terrible and fucked up shit isn’t the most terrible shit I’ve ever faced in my whole fucking life.

I wanted to be choked out, to pass the fuck out, to leave for a bit, but my neck is too small, his biceps too big and the closer I get to the bottom, the more I realize that rock bottom is farther and harder than I ever fucking anticipated. You touch this spot, this terrible spot where you think it can’t get worse, and then it hits you, the weight of the lies and the truth and you sink even further and you see your worst self, the most terrible parts of you that you buried in a yard 15 fucking years ago. And yet.

Still.

There she is, that damaged girl, leaving claw marks on everything she touches.

But you live it, you take it, you swallow it, you fix it. Because that’s what bitches like me do. We win. God help us. We fucking win.

Whatever that means.

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A Letter.

by terra on April 7, 2014 · 7 comments

in Deep Thoughts

David:

You’ve been dead for 14 years.

I get anxious as we approach the 16th anniversary of your death, when we get to the point where you’ve been dead longer than you were ever alive.

I got mad this year. I was pissed.

I turned 30, and you, with a birthday just one day before mine, didn’t. And so rage. Because 30 fucking sucks. And you should have been here to suffer it with me, all of it, the heartache, living and breathing and all of it.

You should have fucking been here.

It’s dumb. You took your life at 16, and 14 years later, I’m still carrying it, still carrying the weight of what you did, still bearing the knowledge that they all blamed me, that I was the last person you saw, that I didn’t share enough of your last cigarette with you, that I didn’t demand a ride that last day, that last day of your life.

I want to yell at you. I want to fold up on the floor and cry in the bathtub and regret it all, but your death has colored my life, has made me the bitch that I am, has taught me about survival.

You were amazing. That laugh. That leather jacket. Learning to do headstands. All of it. You were amazing, my almost-birthday-twin.

You’re further away then you’ve ever been. These 14 years, you’ve had my back. You’ve been the thing that kept me from harm and I know, right now, I’m losing my grip on all the things, on logical thought and clear decision making and whatever else, and that’s not your fault, but mine, because I am digging my own grave. You wanted so much to protect me from harm, and you have. You’ve been there, for all of it, in your own way.

I love you.

But I still wish you were here. Every single day, especially in March and always on April 6th.

- t.

(I always wonder, who would I be without you?)

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Some Real Talk. Because Life is Hard, Y’all.

by terra April 2, 2014

Here’s the thing: I want to pour my soul out here. I want to tell this space my secrets and I want to yell and write in all caps and explain this shit to you, but I have this terrible restraint that keeps me from going to THAT POINT, the point of no return. I […]

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Escape plans, 30, breaking down and more running.

by terra March 27, 2014

I am planning an escape. I don’t know where I’m going to go, but I am going to go, for a handful of days, somewhere, alone. I want to visit a National Park, but I can’t decide which. The closest, that I haven’t visited in adulthood, are as follows: Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, […]

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