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follow the white line forward

Coping Learning to deal with one's emotions and loss.

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Old 16th November 2018, 2:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: South East US
Posts: 231
follow the white line forward

I've been dealing with a lot of negative things in my life lately. I do it mainly through writing. I spend a lot of time in introspection, trying to find ways to direct my thoughts and actions towards more productive things than dwelling on what I want or need but don't have. Today I found words to describe a new way to help me think about moving forward with my life. Perhaps my words might help others too. My newest saying refines down to this:

Find the white line through the lights,
Follow it forward through the dark,
On the road to the next objective.

And here is how it came to be:

One of the first times I ever drove at night was against oncoming traffic on a busy two lane road during rush hour. The lights of the oncoming cars were blinding and they just kept coming, one after another. I was terrified because I couldn't see the road properly and yet I had to keep moving, and keep going at least 50 mph. Eventually I figured out how to center myself in the lane by focusing on the white line of the right shoulder. I figured out how to keep looking ahead but still be able to see the road by focusing on the white line instead of on the lights of the oncoming cars. Now, after driving for more than half my life, it is automatic for me to avert my eyes and focus on the white line on the shoulder when driving against oncoming traffic at night.

I feel like a lot of things in my life right now are equivalent to the headlights of oncoming cars at night. There are so many things that are right in front of me or headed my way that I have to not look at directly to be able to keep moving forward. I have to focus on the white line on the shoulder, on my path through, or fear paralyzes me and I am blinded by the things I can't avoid. They aren't going to stop or turn their lights off for me, and I can't stop or look away from the road if I want to get where I'm going. I have to keep focusing on my path through, on the white line. I have to keep moving.

There are some things you can't un-see or un-experience no matter how unpleasant or unwelcome they are. Oncoming headlights, right in front of me, blinding, paralyzing, unavoidable. But I can still look to the right, to the white line. I just have to find it.

There are too many things that can make me cry. Too much frustration, too much pain, loss, loneliness, despair... so many negative emotions. Sometimes it is better to cry, to let out my feelings through my tears, than to try and hold them in. But my dilemma still stands; I still need to find my way through this, something to focus on that carries me forward without blinding me. I need to be able to replace one set of thoughts with another, more productive, more positive set. I need something to shift my focus to. Easy enough to identify in theory; harder to define in specifics. It doesn't help that plenty of things on the list of what needs to be done, things near the front of my mind, things I've pushed to my subconscious to avoid them, also count as oncoming headlights.

I know I need to again list them out, to look directly at all the things that weigh on my mind, at least briefly, so I can better figure out how and where to look away again. If I don't face my obstacles, if only to identify them as obstacles, then it remains impossible to see a way through them, and I end up wasting time back in limbo where I know I don't want to be. I want my white line, my path through, but I first have to stand back and look at the road with everything on it and in front of me. And there are weights I need to set aside rather than carry forward with me....

I still don't want to think about so many things, but I recognize that I have no viable alternative course of action if I want to keep moving forward with my life. Needs outweigh wants, and I have greater wants than those of my immediate present. And so I write through my frustrations, grief, pain, losses, fears... and I list out all the things that weigh on my mind, so I can leave them behind on the page and better focus on my path through.
"Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate." (Thoreau); "Nothing endures but change." (Heraclitus of Ephesus)
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