I’m on a road that stretches so far off into the distance, I can’t see the end. I’ve heard tell that once I get there, life will be better. I’ve heard the trip’s a challenge, but the destination makes it worthwhile. I’m told that once I get there, things’ll be alright.
Once I get down the road, I’ll be calm, grounded, and fully me. They tell me my eating disorder can’t live there.
They tell me I’ll be happy.
They tell me I’ll be free.
Those are appealing thoughts, so I start down the road again, determined to get going. I’m always desperate to escape my here and now.
The road’s unpaved and the weather forbidding. Ruts and puddles abound. There are no signposts, no hints as to how long the trip will take. There’s just the road, stretching out in front of me. Walking is an act of faith.
The realities of the journey ahead scare me, but I want that promised life. I want more than hard feelings and buckets of self-loathing. One foot hits the path and then the other. I’m walking.
As I travel on, I notice pathways branching off to my left and right. They all seem more appealing than the road I’m on. Some are paved and well lit, some are rut and puddle-free dirt paths, and some are thin trails meandering through softly waving grass. The sun shines and the air smells sweet and warm.
They’re deceptively lovely, those alternate routes. In truth, they’re a lie. I know where the easy roads end. The honey traps are nothing but false advertising. They’re not alternate paths at all: rather, they’re switchbacks, dragging me right back to the misery of nothing new.
I wish bad choices didn’t look so inviting. The road I need to take looks demanding: I’m not sure I have it in me. Falling down is always easier than climbing back up.
I keep walking despite my pessimism. I can always give up later. Knowing that I can quit if I want to makes it easier to push on. And, I’m ready to try something different. Doing the same thing over and over leads to the same result and I’m done with it. I’m beyond tired when it comes to picking myself up. And why wouldn’t I be? I regularly redo the things that bring me down. The unknown may be worrisome, but the familiar is worse.
I’m told that where I’m going is better than where I’ve been. I’m going to give it some time, and until I believe, take it on faith.
(November 19, 2017)