The Time-Traveler’s Lament | 1

Today, I am living in the present. I am opening my eyes and peering into the shadows in the corner of my room. I am seeing the clutter and mess I have learned to tolerate, as if for the first time.

What does the mess tell me about myself, I wonder? There is dirty laundry everywhere, receipt papers from grocery store runs covered in half finished poems. The smell of seemingly insurmountable sadness permeates the walls and makes me want to curl up in my bed and fall back asleep.

It is only 10:30 A.M.

Often, people romanticize living in the present. They say to me, the present is a gift, to be happy with what I see when I swivel my head from left to right. To smile through the pain of self-discovery.

But the present is not so simple for someone like me, who has always craved to peel back the veil that separates me from the future and witness the future as it rushes to meet us all. For someone like me, who looks back on the past for clarity, for wisdom, and for strength.

I understand though. The present is where the work begins. Where I stand up for myself — to myself — and make plain that my needs for cleanliness, for color and vibrancy, and for stillness shall not be denied.

The present is where I recognize that I have been giving myself none of those things.

I blast my music to drown out the sound of others in the vicinity, to pretend for a moment that the anxiety I feel at not being enough, at being a failure in the eyes of others, does not exist.

I push the mess on my floor into “neat” piles that give me a false sense of order, because “at least I still have room to walk, right?”

I keep the curtains drawn and the light low… in order to feel safe from the world that exists outside the present.

The present is the epicenter. It is the culmination of my experiences as I have previously lived them to this point. It is the critical juncture by which I step — or do not step — into the future.

I cannot stay here. The present lasts but a fleeting moment, and then it is gone. To exist in the present for me, is to remain in stressful stasis, from dusk to dawn.

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