This morning, was just like every other morning. Since the end of May, beginning of June, 5 days a week, I wake up at 420am and mostly asleep, I somehow get myself dressed, downstairs, refill my water bottle, grab my keys, put on my glasses, and I slowly scoot out the door.
5 days a week, I have driven the same road, at 430am. To get to job#1. It is a nice, quiet, smooth ride. NPR on and I can hear every word (no kids in the car). During the summer, it was slightly breezy, the sun was just starting its morning stretches and it peered over the hillside and greeted me, the first to say hello, as I drove along the last stretch to get to job #1. But now, it is starting to get cold. It is dark between the hours of 5pm and 7am. And the fog is rolling in.
Here in the valley, we are notorious for fog. I remember one fall when I was either a Junior or Senior in high school and we were literally fogged in, 24/7 for over a month. It was an interesting sight. Imagine that movie “The Mist”. But without all the scary creatures. So fog? Not new to me. In fact, quite the opposite. I feel embraced, empowered by the fog. You have to be in control of the fog before it takes you over, before it sucks the air out of your lungs.
Some segments of fog – you cannot see more than 10 feet in front of you. Barely seeing another car coming up. Almost missing your turn. Proceeding with caution so that you can make that curve that you just know is somewhere, coming up, on the road you travel often.
Today, was no different. The fog greeted me as I walked out of my house. Mostly asleep. The mist sent shivers up my spine. It was oddly refreshing. It awoke me a little more.
The drive today, however, something was different. I drove today with a purpose. Not sure why. But my brain was metaphorically analyzing my drive, assimilating it and matching it with what is going on with my life right now. Making links between the dark ditches and veering off path; between the bright center yellow line and holding on to hope; between anticipating a corner somewhere and being prepared for any possible triggers.
I left my house, took a couple left hand turns, and I was on the first straight section. I felt powerful, knowing that at least for now, I was moving forward, in a straight line. Very similar to how we have been hitting dead ends and left hand turns for quite a while, but only now, do we have a possible answer, as to what is going on. And this possible answer, is my straight line.
And then the section of small but noticeable curves in the road began. No lights, only the reassurance that there is a yellow center line dividing me and oncoming traffic, and a bright white line between me and a dark ditch. At this point in my drive, I remain hopeful, that I know this road. That the small curves are merely bumps in our path. Nothing too insurmountable. In fact, quite the opposite. I knew they were there, so I was prepared.
After a quick drive along a road with highly visible lane markers that I relied heavily on as I could not turn on my brights or it would have caused more blindness than not, and there were no street lights to be able to warn me of anything upcoming. I was just reliant, on lane markers. And at this point in our own personal journey, I am reliant, on research and personal stories. I have no light ahead of me to look forward to. I just hold on to hope that by doing my own research, listening and reading what others have experienced/are experiencing, I too, can be hopeful.
But then, it was time for the shortcut, that I take every single day. I knew it was coming up. Just unsure of how far away. So I slowed down, almost to the point of standing still. In a dark moment. But I didn’t stop. I kept going. Moving forward is the only option. I had to become hyper-aware of where the turn may be. And then it appeared. Like the meltdowns that you know are going to happen, but don’t know when. You slow down, holding your breath. Waiting, because you don’t know what will be the trigger. But you know, it is going to happen.
And then I turned. This road is a shortcut. It truly is the road less driven. Not many people take it. But it cuts off a minute or two from my drive. Maybe I like it because not many are there and it is an open road for me to explore. But it is a difficult shortcut. The middle yellow line is visible, but could be better. And the white edge marker – nonexistent. In that moment, I became not reliant on a permanent path, but reliant on my senses, my intuition, my gut, my knowledge.
There are ditches on either side of the road. When it is light out, or not as foggy, I have trust in the side of the road. I know that it is OK to veer off in certain spots. Just like in life, I know it is OK to be at peace with leaving routine behind, if only for a short second.
But on this road, at this hour, I cling to the center line. It is my lifeline. My lifeline to make it around the next corner. Because if I didn’t cling, that ditch is right there waiting to welcome me with open arms. And I don’t want that. On this drive, our journey, is about clinging to the line most visible. The path to hope. The path away from fear. The path to understanding. The path around the corners and the bumps and the obstacles.
In this SPD fog that we are in, that center line, is our anchor. Bringing us back to center, making sure we do not veer off so far that we end up deep in a ditch that we are unable to climb out of. Our journey is foggy. Not knowing is scary. But there is always hope to be had. Sometimes it takes clinging to a lifeline, such as therapists, doctors, teachers, understanding family members, to survive the next fog, the next meltdown, the next unknown, the next unpredictable trigger.
The foggy road this morning? It reminded me that I am not alone in this journey. My husband is more understanding; my aunt is more understanding; my mother is finally getting on board. There is definitely work to be had. But it wouldn’t be worth it if I didn’t work hard. As long as I continue to fight thru the fog, eventually, I will arrive at the final upward hill on my drive, with the street lights every 20 feet, lighting my path, so that I can reach my destination.
Our destination. In one piece. Together. Surrounded with love. Anchored by a path that I know is OK to slalom, but not OK to steer away from. I don’t know what lies ahead, in this fog, but as long as I have a path to hold on to, the fog will clear. One day at a time. One anchor at a time.