Clink, clink. Squeak. Slam. Whatever sound an engine turning over makes. Ca-chunk.

My keys clink against the side of my purse as I make my way to the garage, intent on one thing only-- I must not be late. The door squeaks slightly as it opens, and slams satisfyingly shut, assuring me that it will not open in mid-drive (an small, albeit unreasonable fear of mine). The key turns smoothly and Shenandoah wakes from her idle sleep. Ca-chunk. The transmission falls into gear, and together we roll backward, out of the mellow warmth of the dim garage, into the bright light of the afternoon.

The rutted gravel driveway jerks and shakes me, but I am not deterred by such a small inconvenience, and it soon gives way to a smooth carpet of asphalt. I must not be late. Even the rich tapestry of blossoming fall colors cannot entice me to stop and marvel at the soft yellow that gently dusts the foliage about me. The wind sighs and hisses through my partially open windows, tousling my curls and muting the music that I near-obsessively surround myself with. Reaching for the volume, I sing along without thinking, falling into harmonies long since learned, my mind in another place and time.

I drift back to the past, to childhood memories, and I try to recreate my life as it was. Why are there so many holes in my memory? I can't say. I also cannot say whether things were as happy as I perceived them to be. The full man hates the thought of food, but to a starving person, every bitter thing is sweet.

My mind wanders forward, to the near future, and my mind begins to methodically and compulsively sort the coming week. That provides little challenge, for I have traveled this mental road a thousand times, and I know the waymarks well. My thoughts turn to finances, and I again sort and plot, until I realized I have stopped singing.

Click. Buzz. A new cd. Maybe that will help me focus on the task at hand--the road beneath my humming tires. After all, I must not be late, and if I do not pay attention, I may hit a deer, another driver, a skunk... the possibilities are endless.

Late? Late for what? Any number of things. And, usually, I make it by the skin of my teeth...or maybe not. But it is when I drive that I really have time to think. The only problem is, my thoughts are so jumbled and circular, it really goes better when I have someone to talk to. I come to so many realizations when I am talking to someone, rather than just thinking it out on my own. Or, say, when I have a blog to type away on. If only I could regurgitate my thoughts out onto a page of paper, then sort of stir them around until they make sense... a surgery of sorts.

Why, why, WHY do I continually feel as though life is too much for me to handle? No matter what insignificant fragment I whittle my life down to, I can hardly bear it. Is it me? Or am I really doing "too much"? Am I depressed? Quite possibly. What do I have to be depressed about? Nothing. Yet I know that these thoughts and feelings and this tiredness and overwhelmedness have a root somewhere. I am not a mental hypochondriac, but I know that every symptom has a root, even if it's not what we might expect.

Can I just quit my life for a week or so? Just bow out of every commitment I've made and learn to simply exist? Maybe I could go camping for a week. That would be amazing. You know, I just might do that. I mean, why not? There are lots of places around here that are ripe for the (temporary) settling. It doesn't even have to be in the remote wilderness. Just a campground somewhere will do. Probably car camping. I'm still a novice when it comes to backpacking. Also, since I'd be by myself, I ought to be somewhere near people, in case anything goes wrong.

BAM! There goes my imaginary fist into a fictitious wall. I feel like I'm out of control. I also find this situation slightly amusing, since one of the ways to "control" my life is to schedule it into oblivion, and when I accomplish that schedule, I am a good person. I have achieved. I have not failed. I am worth... something. And yet, the more I schedule, the more I fall apart. A suspension bridge of glass am I. The tension holds me up, yet at any moment threatens to shatter me and send the pieces hurtling into the chasm below. The chasm where Failure lives, with his roommate Resentment, along with their freeloading cousins Pain, Humiliation, Insecurity, and Isolation. Also, I have reason to believe that G lived there at one point in time. It might just be his vacation home. Or his birthplace. I'm not sure which.

And don't you think, hypothetical person who is in reality not hypothetical at all but who I choose not to name for the sake of the greater good, that I would enjoy this good thing that you are well-meaningly pressuring me into? Yes, it is good! Yes, I see this! Yes, I want to support you! But I can't. Or won't. I'm not sure about that one, either. But all I know is that, if I don't take some steps to guard what little emotional sanity I have left, I may not be around for much longer to take part in said good activity anyway. My body may be here, but my mind and my heart will be lying in a sepulcher of my own craftsmanship.

Blub, glub, splutter... the sound my mind makes as it is drowning in my personal sea of apathy. And yet, it is not entirely apathy, because I do care, and I want to care, and I want to just... be better. Be whole. Be a better person that people can rely on, who doesn't dread the commitments she so enthusiastically espouses. Bah. I am a brussel sprout. Stinky. Aphid infested. Immobile. But, when cooked the right way, maybe I, too, can be delicious and nutritious.

I don't know how to say all that I want to say. I desire a cleansing of the heart, a purging of the mind. I thought that blogging would help, and it has... some. Infinitesimally. Well, slightly more than that. Not as much as I had hoped. In the past, I would have gone and done something... gone with C to a movie, or to a friend's house, or... something, anything to gloss over this infernal restlessness. But now? Now, I have nothing. My coping mechanisms have been stripped away, and I find myself yearning for I-know-not-what, and I have no idea how to achieve that blessed peace that has so long eluded me.

Maybe another cup of tea? I doubt it.

Oh Jesus, help me now. This is one of those times, and I don't know what to do. Give me peace, Lord, give me peace.

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