This I Believe

Ashlin - Pocatello, Idaho
Entered on November 26, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: place, setbacks

It is where you go to lay your head down and rest, but for some reason can’t. You go to

sleep and dream about a place somewhere other than where you are, a temporary escape that makes it possible to cope with being where you are when you awaken. You ponder why you return to this place, this emotional sink hole, time and time again when you know how it affects you. Was it really so unreasonable to have hoped to hear words of encouragement in a place where you seek refuge from the weather, seasons, and everything else that threatens your health and safety? Instead of support, you heard insults- harsh, sarcastic, caustic words that at first felt like they were tearing off your flesh, but having heard them often enough now only dulled your feelings, your stronger emotions, and your ability to plan- or even hope- for the future. Through your numb gaze you can almost see the hazy outline of the looming, darkening, and rumbling cloud of despair settling on this place, where you feel powerless to escape.

Day after day you park your car here. You eat, sleep, bathe, change your clothes, and leave for school and work only to return again at the end of the day. How dare anyone refer to this place as “HOME?” This place smells like the food on the stove, the neglected garbage that should have been taken out, the dirty dishes in the sink and the animals who also live here. By all appearances a family lives here – two adults and the children – but it’s not “family” like you remember, and “home” was never like this.As an intelligent adult, you believe you should be able to control your living environment, right? You know, or think you know, that you should be able to change everything undesirable about this place, but somehow just can’t. It’s not that it’s physically impossible – holes in the walls highlight their limitations – it’s the thick, oppressive, almost damp atmosphere that slowly leaches away your will to act.

One day, feeling somewhat refreshed and rejuvenated from being away, you make one small change – you bathe the smelly animals. Your triumph is short-lived, though, because once dried the beasts immediately escape through the hole in the screen door, and once outside, proceed to dig through the overflowing garbage cans and bring the same rank smell back through the broken door. Disappointed but not defeated, you muster your will and begin washing the stacks of dirty dishes. You sigh when you realize it is supper time, and are sorely dejected when you discover that every dish you had washed -is once again sticky, slimy, or encrusted with scrape-resistant food residue, just like all the other dishes you hadn’t gotten to yet…It looks like a family lives there, there are two parents, and children, but a family of hope is unable to be found. One could come by and argue the validity of these statements, but my emotional responses to this area overpower any other senses from being successfully accessed.