A Map with No Roads

| March 29, 2018 | 1 Comment

“Where am I going?” 

What should’ve been a drive home from the park once took me two hours from home, through the winding hills of High Point, New Jersey and far from the security of familiar roads. My faulty internal compass has been one of my longest running jokes, the idea that I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag with a map and a pair of scissors not too far off the mark.

But on this drive I had been a knight in a shining Chevy Malibu. A 17-year-old eager to test out my newfound auto(mobile)nomy. Like Robert Frost, I took the road less traveled, taking an unfamiliar turn and coasting down back-roads until I found myself lost among the darkened streets of Sussex County.

The fear that I felt that night, alone and parked on the side of that pitch black road, has become an all-too-familiar feeling. As I approach my final months as an undergrad, I find myself asking the same questions muttered on that darkened road. “Where am I going?”

The future is not something I’ve thought about lightly. In imagining visions of a post-grad life, I often skipped the big-picture steps of job applications and higher education. My daydreams were full of meet-cutes and wedding bells, of growing old and dying in the arms of a loved one. When life became overwhelming, I clung desperately to thoughts of escape. Throwing myself into alternate universes where my troubles could not find me, attempting to stave off the impending desires to simply disappear all together.

“Who will go with me?”

Sometimes I feel so lonely I want to scream.

Sitting in a room full of people, I find myself faced with an isolation so great, my skull threatens to crack under the pressure. They say that we’re born alone, that it’s only fitting we go out the same way; but I think that’s simply untrue. I’ve been lonely my whole life, but I’ve never been alone. I think that we make a choice – either conscious or not – to find comforts in the presence of the people around us.

In asking “Who will come with me,” I think we place too much emphasis on all-or-nothing companionship. What dictates companionship? Is it physical proximity? A warm body in the passengers’ seat, lost somewhere on some winding road in North Jersey? Or rather, is it a presence that starts in the heart? Someone to listen when you’re head aches and your shoulders can no longer support the weight of the world?

The question of where I’m going used to frighten me like no other. The fears of what might lurk further down those darkened roads almost too much for my mind and soul to bear. I think we place too much pride on toughing things out by ourselves. The cult of independence only fueled by a distinctly Capitalist emphasis on worth being equated to individual productivity. Though there are still moments in which I find myself suffocating under the weight of my own loneliness, I remind myself to step back. To rethink what it means to have someone to take the journey with.

And although it may not seem like it, I know I’m not alone.

Featured photo credit: byzantiumbooks How to Lie with Maps via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Reflections, Thurman Thoughts

Vicki Saeed

About the Author ()

The brash speaking voice of a sea-hardened sailor and the softness of a velvet child. Two types of Brown and constantly talking about it. Catch me knitting in the sun and talking about social injustice/horror movie plot holes.

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  1. Someone Who Cares says:

    It’s so sad to read the yearnings of a young soul crying out for companionship. But so succinctly put you confirm that you can be in a room full of people and still be alone. Enjoy your ‘me’ time. When the ‘us’ time rolls around you’ll long for what once was.

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