Sep 24, 2012

Pushing Off

I love Michigan. It's evident in my writing, and the outline of the state is tattooed on my right arm. The need and desire to get the eff outta here is also embedded in my writing and my lifestyle. Until this summer, I thought I needed to get out of Michigan for myself; I needed to find something better because I am better. But ever since I reflected on the writing of Hemingway; spent a week in Detroit in June; and slept on the beaches of Ludington; I've realized I am a product of Michigan. I am a product of Ford and Chevy, of the UofM and MSU, of Fruitport, Norton Shores, Ludington, Holland, Grandville, US31, M22, and

Lake Michigan.

And, for a couple of months, that scared the hell outta me. I pictured myself in a manufacturer's box, like a car part at AutoZone. Through July and August, I reflected on my Michiganness. Toward the end of August I decided to free myself from the anchor I had tied to myself and get the outline of Michigan tattooed on my arm. Wherever I go, I will carry with me a mark.

Dark water is one of the scariest things on earth. This summer, my friend Heather finally got me to jump off the end of the pier. The North Breakwater in Ludington is half a mile long. The two of us included the breakwall on several of our early morning runs this summer. As we were halfway to the lighthouse, we said, "We're going to jump." I looked at her smile, and said, "I know." In the weeks before that day, I had come to a sense of peace about jumping off the breakwall. I realized, if I die, I am still completing a purpose.

We sprinted to the lighthouse and stripped down to undies. It felt like ten minutes past as I stood at the precipice of time and space, but it was not even a minute. Heather was talking to me, but I wasn't listening. I hear seagulls and waves. I started to speak to the waves in my head. 

Please don't kill me...I respect you...this is for growth...fuck...I just gotta do it...

I felt like I was going to cry as I could feel the fear begin to win. Then, Heather's words started to register. "You got this," she said. I closed my mind, opened my eyes, and ran.

I am Michigan.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You are brave!

    And glad you are at peace with your roots!