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Do it, afraid

prairieland in Cody, Wyoming captured in mid-March, 2021, when this piece was written

March 16, 2021

Cody, Wyoming

I arrive where I realize I have been lying to myself.

I come here now where I always told myself I would never be. Where, when I can’t look myself in the face, in the dirty reflection of a stranger’s bathroom mirror, because I don’t want to know the truth.


It’s easier for things to stay the same.

It’s easier to pretend things didn’t change.

It’s easier to do nothing, is what I’m saying.


Even now, peeling back the layers of denial and acceptance, I begin to feel the fear of rocking the boat on which I’ve floated for awhile now. Even though it’s falling apart, even though I can see it’s drifting the wrong direction — away from that island of my latest dreams.


Sorry, is this supposed to be a coherent story? Cohesive?

Well it’s all fragmented instead, like my heart and like my decisions and like the jagged unfitting puzzle when I try to jam the pieces of my past and future together.

My past isn’t going to the right future. My future isn’t joining up with my actual past.


Do you know how much it hurts to change course?

Do you know how much it hurts to peel back the covers, the soft, warm, insulating covers, from this cold cold thing you’ve been hiding? To ask yourself what it is you really want? To look hard and clear at what’s best for everyone … not just you, but the other passengers you’ve been rowing around on this disintegrating boat, too.



Months slip by, but dreams don’t measure themselves in regular time.

Perhaps it’s been eons since this truth was born, but I just realized it upon waking up this morning.

And now I can’t turn back.


Something boils inside me. I know what it is, but I'd rather not name it.

If I admit I'm growing, festering with, incubating a whole new kind of fear …

No. It's easier to go back to where fear like that doesn’t exist.


Our society doesn’t praise taking the easy way out. That’s why we do it on the sly. We pretend we’re doing the hard thing by sticking on the course someone else set us, by sucking up to the status quo, no questions asked, living behind masks like dedication, perseverance.

Oh, hell, maybe that IS the hard thing.

But it’s not what blooms the inky fear inside me.

Fear of the hard, tedious work of continuing not to rock the boat is not the kind of fear that can change me into who I want to be.

That would be the fear of jumping ship, my friend.


Every moment offers another justification to sink back into what was. To stop asking questions and smile at any answer placed before me.

But somehow I know something greater, something truly different, offers itself only on the other side of that great chasm … of doubt, of pain, of irrevocable action, of cascading change.

Of ... SPLASH.


I’ve never felt so terrified to see what comes next — disruptive thought after disruptive thought —

and I’ve never felt a more powerful current beneath my soul’s destructive resurrection.


I know I could do it, safe in the sameness of what I told myself I wanted.

I know I could do it, safe in the image I pretended to project on the screen of space and time, smiling...

But that “it” — that’s not what I really have to do.

That’s not what my seizing soul screams me to.


Because I no longer can lie to myself, I depart.

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