Kin Lane

There Is No Going Backwards

Sometimes I wish I could turn back time. Go back to when I was more unaware. At first thought, it is always simpler back then. Then I remember how intellectually miserable I was, and I always drop this idea. I remember being tortured that I couldn’t slow my brain with intellectual pursuits within the small rural town I grew up in. Back then, I did not understand what was wrong with me, or what might be the cure. Now I understand that it was a need for knowledge, understanding, awareness, learning, and intellectual stimulation. Now that I have found my way into what I was seeking, there is no going back. It scares the shit out of me to go back to anything from my past. There is not going backwards for me now-—only forwards.

The mental illness that plagued me then still exists. I can’t tell if it has gotten worse, better, or just that I see it more clearly. The difference now is that I have the understanding and access to resources to address it now, where I didn’t back then, and I know I would not have it if I “went back”. In short, I have to keep my brain busy, otherwise it becomes my worst enemy. It isn’t the cure, but it is the prescription that keeps the strongest symptoms suppressed. Care and treatment for my condition requires quick access to books, smart people, challenging intellectual problems, and other resources that just aren’t available to me in the rural areas I grew up.

I’m happy. I love reading and writing. I love working on massive problems as part of my professional work. I do not think people I grew up with understand this. They do not grasp how critical it is to me. How these things do not exist for me back there. I remember when my book reading slowed as a teenager, after being made fun of for being such a nerd. I remember my father-in-law from my early marriage introducing me as his son-in-law who plays video games for a living (I do not play video games). I remember many people stating how smart I was, meaning it as a compliment (I think), but it seemed like an insult for some reason. I just remember not fitting in. I remember never being satisfied. I remember a need to always get out, even as home sickness would regularly bring me back.

I know many folks believe it would be simple to come back. I’m wealthy, just do it! First, I’m not wealthy. I just have more resources than many of them. Second, it’s not that easy emotionally. The road there is scattered with emotional landmines. The stay there will be filled with ghosts. Very real memories have needing to get out. I’m different now. I’m not the same person anymore. However, the location, the isolation, and the people still have a stranglehold on the inner me. Even though I’ve evolved, traveled, and moved forwards. I wish I could go back, but there is no going backwards. I wish I could transport myself back in time, but I’m unsure I truly would want to. I know many of the good memories have dark shadows right behind them. I know that I won’t have access to the resources I need to keep moving forward, and I cannot allow myself to be stuck again. Otherwise, the forward motion will stop, the intellectually gears come to a halt, and I will slip into…