Leaving the Trail Isn’t Any Easier
I never imagined how this whole experience would affect me. Being off the trail has been as hard as being on the trail.
So What Happened?
I don’t want to rehash why I got off the trail in the first place, but you can read about it in my blog post “Lost in the Morass of Thinking”.
Then I decided to go back…
I blogged about it, but in the embarrassment of the aftermath, I deleted it. I didn’t want to admit that I went back and left again…after only one day.
The blog post that was and then wasn’t
My Name is Rewind
Who knew how accurate my trail name would be? In true Rewind fashion, I’ve decided to go back to the trail and finish what I started.
But I thought You Were Done?
So did I. My ego did some of its best work on the trail. It cajoled, begged, sweet-talked, made promises, and was oh, so convincing. And I believed it. Mostly. Somewhere deep inside, I didn’t believe it. How do I know? Because I was miserable. Right from the time I told Tim I wanted to come home, until yesterday, when I said out loud that I wanted to go back. Once I admitted to Tim that I wanted to go back, and he agreed that I should (really, where did I find this fantastic human being?), I was happy. I felt good. I was excited.
How can I trust what’s inside my head?
I can’t. I don’t. In fact I’m highly suspicious of anything that ‘I’ tell myself now. So, I’m going to go on gut feeling and see for myself. I’m not kidding myself that it will all be sunshine and rainbows either; in fact, I expect it to be harder than before. But as they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn.
A fight to the death
The ego will fight it’s hardest and send in it’s toughest troops if it thinks it’s in danger of dying. And it is. It must be or this wouldn’t be so hard. This is a fight to the death and for once I refuse to back down. Obviously, there will be some failure, but without failure, there is no wisdom or success. So, off I go to don my backpacking gear for the next battle. I may win, or I may lose, but at least I will have tried.
Rewind vs Ego Round Two
As I prepared to head back to the trail, my excitement turned to fear. It took a massive amount of patience and support from my husband and his friend Chris (who picked me up in LA and drove me to Big Bear), to get me back to the trail. They both sat through varying degrees of outbursts and tears, as I tried to deal with the fear I was feeling about returning to the trail.
I spent the night at mile 275 and the next morning packed up and headed out. The hours felt like days and my mental state was unstable. By mile 280, my mind took over and I couldn’t move forward. I’ve never felt so much fear in my life. What was I scared of? I can’t even tell you. I was perfectly healthy, perfectly safe, and perfectly able to continue, but my mind convinced me there was absolutely no way I could go forward. Forward was death. And so, believing my mind, I turned around and went back. Back to the road, back to the bus, and back home.
In the end, I wasn’t willing to ‘die’ for the truth. What truth? The truth that I’m not afraid to change. The truth that I am strong enough.
It’s not any easier at home
I came home believing that was it. I was done. The trail is not where I’m going to face my demons. It was too hard and my demons too big. But as time passed, I gained some distance and perspective. I still believe that the trail is the fast track through this block I’m at. I also believe that the block doesn’t leave me just because I’m ‘safe’ at home. Everything is everything. But now I sit here, knowing I have the strength and ability to hike the PCT, knowing I can get through the fear, and knowing I have to, no matter what the cost.
But I also wonder, am I obsessed with the trail so that I don’t have to face my life here at home? Am I just grieving for the loss of something that has been the centre of my attention for over a year? Do I just want to avoid all the change that is happening here? Who knows?
If I could, I would….
I’ve never in my life felt so torn, so obsessed, so afraid of something. If I could, I would keep going back to the trail until I stayed, until I walked through that mother-fucking fear to the other side.
Unfortunately, each time I ran away from the trail, I used up more of my funds to do the trail. I no longer have a way to support my hike. So I got a job. Hopefully two. And if it’s meant to be, I will be back on the trail in August, maybe. Maybe.
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