Stop This Train

Written on February 23rd, 2017

I try to keep an open mind
But I just can’t sleep on this tonight

Nights like this I feel the world swirling around me, gaining momentum, threatening to throw me off and leave me behind somewhere all alone. Everything moves so quickly and I barely have time to breathe – the lightheadedness creeps in at all hours of the day, requiring a focus I rarely seem to possess to fight off.

I stumble through the hours with to-do lists and “how are you”s and smiles probably nobody realizes are fake, but in my stomach I feel everything unraveling. In just over a year I’ll be graduating and no longer a student – and a student is the one thing I’ve always known how to be. How do I know who I am if I’m not reading textbooks and pushing for A’s?

Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in

I remember the days when I would come home from school just after three pm and grab a snack and sit in front of the TV, letting myself unwind from what I thought was actual stress. I’d do anything to go back to the safety of my parent’s house, the comfort of our living room couch, the unshakable feeling that everything inside those walls was mine – because although I still call Wausau home, I know one day that term will become a thing of the past.

And that day is coming too quickly.

I cling to everything now that reminds me of my childhood. The fleetingness has never been so tangible. In less than six months I’ll be in my twenties; that age has always seemed so distant, so far away, like I’ve had so much time to get there. But suddenly it’s upon me and I’ve never been more unprepared.

So scared of getting older
I’m only good at being young

I do everything in my power to build myself professionally, socially, mentally… but deep down I worry that I will never be good enough. I will never compare. There’s a huge workforce out there and I’m about to enter it, as green as can be, eyes as wide as ever. There’s beauty in that, and I swear I see it – but there’s danger, too.

I feel the fear.

One generation’s length away
From fighting life out on my own

I call my mother for comfort and advice and the familiarity of her voice, and my heart breaks all over again as I realize that someday I will not have my parents to go to. Someday I will be all alone, with no one who has loved me from birth in quite the same way to stand by my side and hold my hand through the slips.

I can’t take the reality of it all. There are days where I feel unbelievably excited about life, and then there are nights where I feel incapable of handling even the simplest of things.

Tonight is one of those nights.

The walls are closing in, the deadlines are approaching, the disappointments are becoming more and more frequent as I leave childhood innocence behind and step into the mess that is our world. I am excited for all that’s to come, but underneath it all is a trembling stress that borders panic in my weaker moments.

Stop this train
I wanna get off and go home again
I can’t take this speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t
‘Cause now I see I’ll never stop this train

There is nothing to do but embrace the chaos and hold on with white knuckles… but sometimes, when I feel like the world is about to throw me off, I wish I would let it.

I have no plans to let go of a single dream or goal or love, but confronting my own fragility is not easy to do with a straight face.