I can find my way through my apartment in the dark—curtains drawn, no moonlight, just the red laser glow of the dvd player. I don’t need a map to navigate the front yard or the back, to find my way to the bathroom, or steer through S’s room, befallen toys and all—I know the way. The landscape of the apartment lives in my muscles, in my bones, in my head—it is automatic.
The landscape of my heart has muscle memory too. Although unlike the house, when I find myself on auto-navigator, the alarm sounds. And I jump up and analyze and call my shrink and write about it and meter it all out to be sure that my automatic response is not just a reaction borne from too much hurt and walls and fear and experience. That the course is correct and the best route to take, even if it is not the most automatic of responses. But still, there are days when I wonder: am I headed for that same brick wall?
The old, well-loved map of my heart is crumbling—the roads are blurred from the grease of many finger smudges, from over-handling. My heart wants to follow the path, the well-worn path, that I’ve walked so many times. There is comfort in knowing your way—in automatic navigation. It’s easy to see in the dark when my body knows the way—I won’t stumble because I’ve been here before. My feet are the very same feet the have worn this once grassy place into a hard, dirt road.
Maybe it’s time to stomp out a new path. It will be tough. I may need a light. I will stumble. I may even get poison ivy.
Who needs a map?