The waves no longer lap at my feet. The tide has changed and, even from the shore, the current laces its long, cold fingers around my ankles and pulls– hard. I’m being pulled out to sea but the sea is not a gentle one. Its waters are choppy and at times great gusts of wind pull the waves to frightening heights. It’s a sea that’s easy to get lost in, to drown in. And even though I’m standing on the shore, ankle deep, I’m in the danger zone. The intensity of my yearning overwhelms and surprises me– and it scares me that my past has so much power even in my present.
I’m prone to nostalgia and always have been, although I don’t know why. There must be something inside of me that embellishes days gone by. My memory is tainted by the embellishment, the nostalgia, and so I yearn to relive the past.
At a basic level, I suppose I am chronically unsatisfied by the present. There’s a hollow emptiness inside of me that I run from. And running to the past has become a predictable escape. There’s nothing wrong with looking back with a little nostalgia– but I take it too far, I transform it into an escape from my present at the expense of progress.
My nostalgia knows no bounds– just yesterday I found myself missing my in-patient psychiatric hospitalizations. This is very nearly absurd. I hated every minute of the hospitalizations, spent most of my time there crying, and literally counted the hours until my release. But I caught myself thinking about it nonetheless. Maybe I’m missing the freedom to do nothing, to sleep all day, the freedom from having to keep it together, the freedom to cry, to have someone checking on me, making sure I’m alright.
Nostalgia can be dangerous. My deep longing for my drug days gone by is a problem. Lately my mind has been taken over by recollections of my law school drug benders with the Werewolf. And I’m struck by the intensity of the feeling, the feeling that I can’t shake. I long for that experience, and the sense of boundlessness that came with it. When we were on those benders there were no rules– we could stay up all night, re-dose at five in the morning as the sun came up, refuse to come down, spend the weekend naked, have sex whenever we wanted, cancel all engagements, and never leave the house. I have to tell myself that those days were bad for me but caught up in the memories of the past, it’s hard to remember why. This nostalgia is dangerous– it jeopardizes and strains my sobriety. But lately, in spite of these warnings, at my core I long for those days gone by and it feels like I would give anything to relive them.
And so the tide, the currents, the waves, and the winds of the sea of nostalgia are pulling me into the fray, into the heart of the sea where it’s easier to sink than swim. My past lies at the floor of the ocean and it sings its siren song to me. This song haunts me and my heart yearns for the reunion– even if I’ll have to drown to get there.