I returned home yesterday from a wedding in Houston. My friends Mead and Cheryl had tied the knot over a very loving and enjoyable weekend. I sat down with my journal and a coffee before I left to get focused on the week ahead…
The drive from Houston to Austin is beautiful, though I enjoy just about any excuse to get on the road. While driving through Bastrop the recently and still charred trees made themselves apparent. I’m not sure why that place is so susceptible to getting burned. The large amount of lush and vibrant greens stood in stark contrast to what had shared that same color.
I had written in my journal a simple list of things to do for the day. Not much. Not hard. But when I got home and as I opened the door to my quiet dark house, I felt a wave of exhaustion, a heavy familiarity that I’m used to pushing through.
I half-heartedly began to make an effort to film myself performing a song that I didn’t know well and was too impatient to learn. I stopped in the middle of the second take after the battery had died. I knew what was happening; I was being challenged. Every time I begin something I am pushed to quit.
Do you ever experience this phenomenon? Why does this happen? My thought on the whole thing is that we’re being hardened and strengthened to do bigger and more powerful work. We have to push through these minor pains and challenges so that we can be prepared for tougher stuff.
I put on my shoes and left the house for a run. The other options were to have a beer or start compulsively chain-smoking, hoping that God would come down and say, “Hey Marcus, no big deal bro. You’re doing fine! Here’s the key to that giant door you’ve been trying to open.”
Those other options used to be my go to. I’m not sure I really believed I was helping myself by so quickly heading for the escape path, but some part of me did. I’ve felt more comfortable in verbalizing lately that I’ve been changing and that I’m much less likely to fuck myself like that anymore. But it does happen every once in a while…
On my run I saw Travis, who had just biked in front of the metro train thing that no one uses, causing the conductor to blow his horn. We were about to head over to my house for Velo practice, the first since our triumphant return from New York. I was happy that someone had witnessed my hard work.
I showered when I got home because you do that when you get sweaty. Usually when I go work out, and especially in response to that familiar lethargy I was speaking about earlier, I get really energized. It’s like the “I can do this,” fist pump moment that you frequently see on the cover of a magazine.
It didn’t work like that this time around. I’m not sure if I wore myself out on my run, or if I was still in the middle of that challenge and the challenger was like “Marcus, that trick isn’t going to beat me anymore. You’re going to have to do more.” I could have done more. I didn’t want to.
After practice I walked with Ofer to get beer and cigarettes from the store so that I could try to talk to God like I used to. Except I really was too tired even to do that, or maybe I just knew what God would say; “Marcus, what the fuck! You know what you need to do. What’s up?”
I walked over to Stay Gold and was not surprised to see a very crowded patio on a Monday night. Austin is just like this. “Hey man its Tuesday afternoon, wanna party?”
I’ve been pretty good about avoiding this mentality lately. Maybe I wanted a reminder of why I can’t live that way anymore…
I ran into some friends and stayed for a bit. It was fun, we didn’t go crazy. IT WAS A MILD NIGHT. But even then, even just dipping my toes into this world is delicate and dangerous.
I set my alarm for 9:30, which is a “sleep-in” kinda expectation for me. I hit the snooze button until around noon. If the iPhone snooze default is 8 minutes (correct me if I’m wrong) then I must have pushed that button around 18 times before actually getting up. I drive for Lyft so I don’t really have to get up, but usually I wake up around 6 or 7am.
I didn’t want to wake up because I didn’t want to face myself. I didn’t want to be disappointed in myself. I lived in a dream for a few more hours. It was some strange talent show sort of thing with giant dance numbers and a lot of insecurity on my end.
Eventually I woke up. I brushed my teeth. I wasn’t hung over, I wasn’t really mad at myself. I took a look at my list from yesterday, and among other things “write a blogpost” stood out.
So I guess the lesson here, kids, is that you need to have something to write about if you’re going to blog. And that’s why I drank last night…
With a bit of perspective, I can see how far I am now from who I was. I don’t want to say that my struggles with alcohol and drugs were/are just some sort of youthful phase that everyone goes through. It was really very real and dangerous. No matter how different I am, how much I’ve grown, experiences like last night serve as a reminder of how easy it is to fall.
Each of us has such important work here on Earth. We can’t rob the world of our gifts through our selfishness. We’ve got to push ourselves to share more and to grow stronger. There’s simply not enough time for us to waste our lives getting wasted.
Love from me to you,