As I drive west on Interstate 70, there is no other traffic. Draped in the solitude I continue lost in the rhythm of the road. The scorching sun beats down as I face hours of a straight highway and the only scenery consists of uncountable rows of corn. The vibrant green stretches beyond my comprehension, only broken by a few farm houses with dirt driveways. I peek down the rows as they pass organized in an unnatural pattern of human control. I see evidence of life on both sides of the car, and I’m wondering about the generations of choices that provided for a life on the plains. My personal angst continues to reverberate “What am I doing?”
I have labeled myself by relationships, job titles, politics and a few accomplishments, but I still don’t know who I am. Who I am supposed to be? What was I meant to do? I want to know the eternal question, the down deep, below false expectations.
I have had days to think as I look at my life. Today I see the metaphor of the highway. My story seems as straight and narrow as the barren road racing to the horizon not knowing when it will meet the setting sun. I can see my life as a series of stories, usually starring someone else and not a single hero. I see the multitude of possibilities spiraling in and out from the interstate, but there is no exit. So I chose the road most traveled. I have worked hard to fit an image that was designed and sold for women of the 50s. I have fashioned myself to appear to be a good girl, a loyal wife, an honest employee. In reality, I have only disappointed myself.
I turned my back on the possible adventures of life and wasted into a sad older age. I recognize at this moment that I’m not alone; we are all defined by our secrets, our dirty little secrets. It is the truth that breaks the rules; it is the truth that leads us to our authentic self. I want to turn my back on the lies and follow truth to the genuine me. I wasted decades hiding and lying, followed by even more years wanting to atone for the unspoken. The sins I committed in haste and confusion didn’t go away; they expanded in the dark recesses of my humiliation. I have exaggerated and fed the lies as they linger, poisoning and causing the same destruction as a slow moving cancer.
It is impossible to cut them out, as they have roots that enslave the heart. From this milepost I will no longer blame others for the crimes against me. I was complicit by allowing it to go on. What I can do is set the secrets free, and I will leave the guilt and shame at the very next rest stop. My salvation is this moment when my escape becomes a journey.