It was halfway through Missouri, or at least what I thought was halfway through Missouri, when I felt nothing. And haven’t felt nothing in a while. I sit shotgun, not driving, for once in my life. I let the reigns go and let Steph drive. She wanted to drive the majority of our ten hour drive. I never relinquish my rights to be in control. I usually want to control everything. I usually find myself anxious when I’m not leading or making the calls. I am amazed in myself right now. I’m amazed in my ability to let go.
I have thought this trip would perhaps help me work through some personal insecurities and help me build my fortress a gate to let people in. I’m a lot of things I don’t show. I’m a writer, and so I thought I’d write my way to the people and places I knew would heal me. I have a lot of friends in Des Moines, I have a lot of family close too. I have my Des Moines best friend by my side, in the driver’s seat right now and she’s so tolerable. She’s so supportive and that’s all I, and I think people in general, need.
She lets me sing Kelly Clarkson’s Heartbeat Song at the top of my lungs down the interstate and then she helps me rap Ludacris. Because all we truly do is win! She let’s me Snapchat insanity and hilarity out to the people who care enough to hold their thumb down on the screen for ten seconds. In a lot of ways, she’s unlocked my sanity. She’s made me stop.
I don’t remember the last time I stopped. I overload my brain with work, my heart with kids who need me, and responsibilities at home. I’m good at navigating life according to how society expects. My resume is usually the reason I do things. If it builds it in value, I’ll hike a mountain for it; I’ll work myself all day and crash at night, finally refueling. I’m all about my future, even though being a teacher doesn’t come with raises or bonuses except for the miniscule yearly boost. (It’s not really a boost at all. Fuck you, inflation!) I will never have a savings account large enough to buy a house and comfortable lifestyle flying solo. Society’s not built to be lived alone. But right at this second, Steph is driving and I’m endlessly doing what my heart wants — what it needs. I’m writing. I’m stopping. I’m letting myself go where it goes. I’m content, and it’s not cloudy anymore. It’s clearing.
An inspirational Des Moines teen group called Movement 515 has taught me the phrase, “get free”. And this is my goal for this 11-day road trip. I want to get free. I want to let go long enough to find a part of myself I let go for too long. I’ll find a way to let everyone in, to see more of the woman I am. Because I’m so tired of it being unseen.
So road, I know you’re long, but I pray you’re long enough to build my heart up to head in the right direction. What direction? I don’t know, I’m not driving.