gas stations and country songs.

Humanity is a strange force of creatures. Each being, ticking to beat of a different clock and rhythm, but each beat racing toward something new, new, new every moment. These beats and pulses that are so different, we don’t understand the tick-tock of the person beside us; so different that often we don’t even understand ourselves. We live by the bounce-between of symbolism- of finding something or someone to define us.

I wish I could say that I had a hold on the brain inside my own head, but it’s so viciously wild that I can’t keep up. Bounce- from symbol to symbol- new understanding- old understanding- new again. Slow down, child, I say. Every single day. Slow down. You can’t keep up with your own brain full of dreams and ambitions and yet your feet feel planted far too firm.

I drive, daily. Highways become my closest confidant between the glistening lights of cars and traffic signs. I feel like I’m never allowed to be still- yet it’s all I want and at the same time it’s all I want to run away from. That doesn’t make sense. Why can’t I just make sense.

Here is a constant: gas stations, becoming the ultimate symbol of a slow down. You must stop. You must refill. Your heart needs it but right now you can only fix the leak of emptiness in your car- fix it so you can join the highways again.

We bounce between symbols and hold fast to the once that constantly define us: a gas station and a country song. That is the girl I am: a gas station and a country song. Four years of Rome, Georgia—late night drives to Athens to see a boy- running red lights and being slowed by, yet again, the dim light of an empty sign on the dashboard. Slow down- here it is again: a gas station and a country song.

Now I’m grown up and that boy is my husband and we share a bed and a life and I’m closer to being defined less my symbols and more by the fact of simply and finally feeling known. And then the highways pull me back by days and commutes far too long and it’s nine o’clock at night, sun sinking and I’m pulling into a gas station. Again, and listening to a country song. That girl, still. The moments and symbols that wreak and glow, all at once, of a gloriously challenging past and a gloriously challenging present.

Some days it is just too hard to say how you feel, or “how it’s going” or who you are at the moment. But I’m still the girl, the girl molded by gas stations and country songs. Still trying to make it home.