Friday, July 17, 2009

Thoughts on a Trip to California, 18 1/2 Hours Before

I’ve always disliked change. Within 24 hours, my life will be totally flipped upside down and shaken sideway for a month.

I think a lot of the time I write to make sense of things around me. A constant theme in the novel I’m currently writing has been that one of the main characters is flexible and loves changeableness, while the other hates anything to change and can’t stand uncertainty. It’s a theme that’s appeared more and more as July 18th draws closer.

Tomorrow morning I head to fly out of Dallas with Mar and Telpe. We’ll be flying into California, and spending two weeks with our aunt and uncle there. I guess I should be excited. Instead I just feel incredibly apprehensive. Maybe part of it is because trips aren’t usually enjoyable for me. Maybe part of it is because I’m afraid it will be enjoyable, and I have no place in my head for things like that anymore. I really don’t know.

Also, I can’t deny that I have a terror of airports now. I’ve had countless bad dreams about being stuck in airports alone since December. I keep telling myself that the chances of something going terribly wrong twice in a row are incredibly slim, but it’s hard to be rational when your first flying experience (not counting half-remembered images of airports from flying to and back from Africa as a toddler) ended up so badly. Of course, I can tell myself that I survived that quite proficiently, and that it only lasted for about 18 hours, and then I was rescued. Then I tell myself that Mar will be with me this time, and he’ll have a debit card with him so we’ll have all the money we’ll need, and I’ll have my iPod with all the phone numbers we need, and if worst comes to worst we can get online via my iPod and message someone to come help us. I know now how to navigate airports and find what I need. There is a world of difference between this time and The Airport Saga. But I still don’t want to go into an airport. I don’t mind the plane itself. I like airplanes, far more than cars (which may just be because they’re still new and exciting to me). But I have no interest in airports.

Plus, I have no idea what to expect from the trip itself. This is going to be the first real “vacation” kind of trip I’ve ever taken. My family tends to operate in a very low-key mode, as far as most Americans would be concerned. For “vacation” we go camping (tent camping, no less), or up to a mission station in North Carolina, or to visit grandparents. We don’t do theme parks or tourist attractions or stay in fancy hotels and lodges, because they’re just too expensive. But in California we’ll basically be doing a full tourist experience. I have no idea how to even process that concept. At Disney Land I’ll probably just head straight for the coasters, because they make sense to me. Plus, they’ll remind me of Sixflags and the last Skillet concert, which is always comforting.

Also, I will have limited internet time. Over the past year the internet has been my sanity and my lifeline. It’s where all the people I actually trust enough to talk to are, and so I feel totally isolated and alone whenever I can’t be online. It’s not necessarily that I think I shouldn’t talk to people face to face, it’s just that I can’t talk to any of these people face to face, so the internet is the next best thing. And that’s going to be mostly gone. There are so many people who I won’t be there for. The thought of someone needing to talk to me, needing encouragement, needing prayer… and I’m not there… that makes me furiously angry with myself. I feel like a deserter.

Then of course I won’t be working for a whole month. That’s almost as bad. I haven’t taken more than two or three weeks off in over a year, and even when I did take time off, I felt guilty. That’s a full month that I won’t be earning money. It’s also a full month that my coworkers (and my Father) have to do without me. That makes me feel incredibly irresponsible.

It’s not that I don’t understand that this trip is a great opportunity. I know that. I love my uncle, and I enjoy spending time with him. It’s just that the whole thing feels like I’m being irresponsible and self-centered in order to do something I’m afraid of doing anyway.

And of course, the bottom line is, I just hate change. I’ve spent all day every day for two months at class or in work, then alone at night, on my computer with my Skillet and my graphics and my writing. And I like that. I’ve been more content than I had been in a year, because being alone like that is so safe, and so much less exhausting (besides the fact that almost everyone being gone from my University is a source of much happiness to me anyway).

So the long and short of it is that I’m sitting here thinking “why don’t I just stay home for the next two weeks and then go to the moot in August?” Not an option. I often remind myself that there are only two kinds of things in my life: that which I must do, and that which I can’t allow myself to do. Nothing else matters.

Before I leave tomorrow morning: another 5 hours of work at the library amidst the chaos of the freshmen’s pre-orientation, finish packing my checked bag and pack my carry on and purse, go shopping with Em for a new pair of jeans, write at least another 3,000 words, clean the church with my family for 3 – 4 hours, sync my iPod, and hopefully sleep at least a little. Oh, and maybe answer more of the messages piled in various inboxes.

Hopefully I’ll be able to update this blog a few times over the next month. “Keep a weather eye on the horizon…”

- Elraen -


Liss said...

*hugs tightly* I love you, mellon nin... and I totally understand the guilt feeling... I feel it every single time I leave for a week, along with the panic... It's going to be fine, I know it on faith. :) *hugs* Don't worry so much. Enjoy the vacation as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

Hi Raen. *hugs* It's me- Angel again. I know how you feel. I hate change, too, but there's nothing we can do to fight it. We just have to trust the Lord. Hang in there, girl. I love you lots. And try to have fun on this trip, 'kay? :-)

Linda B said...

You break my heart.