Spring Break

The Spring Break mentality.

That’s what I’m calling it now, I’m not really quite sure if that’s the best name for it. A work in progress.

I don’t think it really started during elementary school for me, but at some point as I was transitioning between childhood and “life after”, I learned that the best way to deal with something horrible happening was to put your head down and wait for it to end. If you waited long enough, a respite period began, and the sweetness of that relief would be so monumental and complete, it would wash the dreariness of this bad shit away. It worked with so many things, in the short term, things would be awful, bullies would be throwing my shit in the shower and pissing on it or somebody would be shooting an impromptu dart into the meat of my leg or the security guard would be harassing me for the fifteenth time because he “didn’t like how my eyes moved” when he asked me about shit, but at some point, all of these shitty people would just be gone and I’d be back in my cave again and everything would taste sweeter. Icy blue cans of Pepsi pulled one handed from a seemingly never-empty drawer in the bottom of the fridge simply tasted better, than tepid Coke bought from a flickering steel caged soda machine situated neatly between the redneck and chicano “free harassment” zones. Carrying my rented cello to the orchestra room past the wrestling gym, for example, was a higher stress proposition than dragging it down the hall to my bedroom, and playing it on the corner of my bed.

For me, Spring Break represented freedom from the world at large. I missed the school work, the schedule. Semesters, quarters, periods and penalties for being tardy, all of this made sense to me. On the first day back to school I’d wake up before my alarm, get ready and sometimes be at school when it was still early morning dim and I’d have to go hit the greenway and ride ten or fifteen miles to waste some time. But after a while, knowing that going to school meant “seeing other humans and the way they treat each other” ground me down. And soon I found myself with my head down, enduring, waiting for Spring Break. When I could wake up and look forward with great excitement to a day where, if I was really lucky, I wouldn’t see anybody my age for a whole week straight. Nobody. None of this confusion and constant fucking harassment and no weird “what do we do with you now” panic like summertime brought along, just a solid week, unmoored. The prospect is so catalyzing, I can barely eat (and in those days I could ALWAYS eat) and Friday before it begins, instead of hitting the snooze button for the fifth time, I’m waking up before my alarm again. The dusty red pink haze over the horizon lases first sunlight to the cicadas and me, jittering our enthusiasm for daybreak in the parking lot.

Waiting for relief works when the problem is too many days of teenage angst in a row, because as I now know, the only cure for being a teenager is to wait until you’re not one anymore, but in most other situations, sitting with your discomfort without a plan is failure by any other name.

I am tired of failure, regardless of how easy it is.

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