by MD Maurice
how life can change one level at a time, part of a large work in progress
|I have a phobia of traveling. Its not born out of the more typical, "I'm afraid of flying" or "I hate security lines" or "my baggage will get lost" kind of fears though. This runs much deeper. Its more that I'm terrified that something bad will happen while I am miles from home, miles from being anywhere where I might be able to "fix" something if I needed to.
I used to love to travel. In my industry, it was a given. I readily used to volunteer for trips, relishing the idea of spending days on the road in new places. The best trips were the ones that afforded me the ability to move outside my own borders, spending weeks in South America, practicing my language skills, sampling the cuisine and building business contacts in Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. I was in my element. I traveled well. I was efficient, comfortable and confident. My willingness and ability to pick up and go was an asset to the company. I had no children and few responsibilities that would tie me to home when they needed someone out in the field.
Then something happened, my life became unmanageable. My involvement with an addict, that unbearable roller coaster, began to make traveling a terrible burden. It was difficult enough to navigate the road map of keeping him, and our lives on track. It was hard enough to make sure the stove wasn't left on or the cat wasn't let out into the street when I was home. If my anxious calls were not answered, home was only a short drive, it was only a small distance to cross to reassure myself that all was well. There were the daily tasks of checking for bottles and making sure rent money wasn't disappearing, that the pets were not out playing in the street when I got home...things impossible to do from hundreds of miles away. Lying in a strange hotel room, calling back home to a dead line, translated into long nights without sleep and a sick stomach and sour head, making the work I was charged with next to impossible to attend to.
I found myself calculating the miles for each prospective trip, automatically building the best route home should I need to get back in an emergency, an emergency that loomed on the horizon of each and every day. My travel necessities included sleeping pills, antacids, a corkscrew for the inevitable room service bottle of wine I would have to order. It was a mess. Slowly, he robbed me of one of those things about my work I loved the most. Chains tightened around my ankles as I resigned myself to be house-bound. It just became to much to think that the next trip would be the one when he wrapped his car around a tree, or fell and hit his head in a drunken stupor and I would rush home to find his corpse. Or even still, that the hotel bedside phone would ring in the dead dark and I'd find my place, everything I had, had been destroyed by a tragic accident. Insanely paranoid thoughts I know..but that was the madness I traded in back then. That was the currency with which I made deals with God.
For the first time in two years, I'm back on the travel roster. My life is completely different. The man with whom I share that life, is completely different. I have, I can say with confidence, nothing to worry about. And still, still there are those old fears, those old scars, the places where my spirit still has not healed in places. I have to keep reminding myself of the path I am on now, no longer lost in the wooded forests of grief and anxiety and fears that seemed so much stronger than my own resolve.