Sometimes walking at night can be a pleasant experience. The night can be peaceful and filled with its own sense of magic. At other times, though, it can mirror and manifest the kinds of things you are struggling with inside.
The last few nights, my hikes have taken on this latter tone as I continue to try to fight through a really difficult storm made so much harder by the holiday season. Walking up and down streets, past houses of the neighborhood, a lot of things go through my mind.
You see the glow of lights coming from multiple rooms, or the muffled sounds of a tv or loud stereo, or even the slightly-raised garage door with sounds of laughter and scents indicating that the inhabitants are smoking something other than cigarettes inside. You sometimes see a car pulling up somewhere down the street, with multiple individuals getting out to head inside, or one person for whom someone else opens the front door to welcome them home. You pass the displays of Christmas lights, some just a decorated tree to others elaborate enough to approach the world of Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation movie.
All the while, you know in your heart that none of it is a world that you are a part of any longer. I often look at the Christmas lights, and wish so strongly that I could feel a sense of the magic that I once did for a holiday I looked forward to like no other. I think it hurts more knowing what those earlier times felt like in contrast to the cold of today. I look at those displays again and again, hoping to feel a spark, but there is nothing.
Passing those houses, I know I am now on the outside looking in. I've got a lot of love to give, and nowhere to give it. I have no home to return to, in the true sense of the word. In some ways I'm much like the feral cats that I often see roaming this night world. Every day is just something to survive, where there is no sense of home and you really don't look ahead anymore. My days are a walk through empty streets in a biting cold and there is no sense trying to sugarcoat this reality. The overwhelming majority of the time, all I have is me.
I've had many well-intentioned individuals make a number of remarks during this time when I try to tell them how hard this time is, but more often than not I have to bite my tongue, as I realize that they are trying to give some manner of encouragement. All the while, I want to remind them that they have wives or husbands in their world, girlfriends or boyfriends, children, roommates, or family members they live with or who they see daily.
It is so hard to convey what it is like when many entire days you have just you, and only you, literally, to rely on, especially when you are dealing with something that has overwhelmed you. This doesn't diminish what others who are not alone daily go through, it is just to say that the dynamics of what I go through is not something others can really understand unless you have been through a battle like this.
I haven't curled up into a ball, not by a longshot. I train just about daily, I do my work, I practice guitar, I write, but none of those things can address or heal the nature of what I'm contending with. At best, they address symptoms. They can never heal the disease.
I set my mind on forging ahead, even if thoughts about why I bother whisper as the days go by. I have to push those kinds of thoughts back, which takes even more effort. When I say it's a daily battle, it is not a writer being fancy with words. It is the absolute truth.
It just gets very tiring walking such a long, long road through cold, empty streets trying to find my way to a place I can call home.