I woke up this morning with a feeling that I forgot something. I was pregnant and I was happy and when I saw Paul, I remembered that getting pregnant wasn’t supposed to happen. It made me feel confused and I started to wake up, realizing it was all a dream. I looked at the clock: 8:30 a.m. Then, I lay there, thinking, what the hell am I doing?

I’m working for The Man again.

I thought about all the posts I’ve written. The confusion, the indecision, the scatteredness, the blasts against the system, the bucking of the establishment, the cheers for escape, the longing for the timeful life, the desires to be home, the desire to write, Italy and the beautiful women I got to know,  the fact that I haven’t written about my sister yet and I don’t know why, that writing is making me feel more and more solitary and I wonder all that I’ll lose in following it, wondering if I have any choice, is it all determined, do I have a free-will, are there parallel universes where I’m making different choices, I wonder how the me on the other side is doing?

I’ve been playing the Devil’s Advocate so long and so vehemently now that I don’t know who I am. Like looking into a mirror while holding a mirror, I see myself again and again. At the very center, a tiny version of me winks at me and doesn’t mirror the horror I’m feeling.

Elida was telling me about a book; the premise is that physical ailments have spiritual sources. For example, if you have knee problems, you’re afraid of changing directions.

I don’t have any knee problems.

I get headaches. Bad ones. My lymph nodes feel inflamed, but I never really get sick. Every day, when I wake up, I notice the headache. I skip the ibuprofen cause it doesn’t really help.

What am I doing?

I get down on my knees and I pray that the regular teacher comes back next week. I feel the disappoval of my extended family and the outside world.

I don’t care.

There are a few times in my life in which I made decisions that I never doubted. Once, when I was in Costa Rica sitting on the red cement floor listening to the ravings from the abyss, I swore I’d never doubt God’s existence again. I didn’t know all of the details, still don’t. But I knew, with all of my being, from revelation, that God existed. I was 20.

And another time, when I smiled at the world witnessing me getting married, I knew that I belonged with Paul forever — that I would love him with all of my being, that I would abandon caution and give myself totally up, with all of its risks, with the possibilities of hurt, of pride lost, of betrayal, I was sure that my path meant being inextricably bound to him. I was 21.

Those two pivotal points in my life, I wonder if they were even choices? When I look back — they look more like rescues — pivotal, yes, but free-will choices? The Hound of Heaven and my Soul Mate all feels like an inescapable destiny. A foreknowing.

Four daughters later. I am 37. Something feels familiar that brings up those old days of the pressing, prodding, and pushing of the protagonist. Is it another rescue? A foreknowing? There is a build-up. I’ve experienced it twice now.

Something is going to happen.

I remember another pivotal point. I always wanted to be writer. Since I was a child, I’ve wanted that. I was working for a newspaper and they were paying me crap. A new job opened up and I asked for it. The editor didn’t give it to me. They just wanted to keep paying me crap.

I enrolled in a teaching program and quit.

That was a free-will choice. Like I said, I don’t have knee problems.

Maybe your true destiny is determined by the Maker of the Cosmos. The free-will part are all the choices you make not to follow it. Who knows? It’s not like these issues haven’t been battered about by philosophers since the beginning of time.

But for my purposes, I think I made a mistake back then. I think I was afraid. I should have quit the job but for different reasons. I should have quit because I didn’t like covering council meetings and interviewing century-old farm owners or people raising emus.

I should have quit because what I really felt was (to paraphrase Hemingway) a desire to sit down at the keys and bleed.

I’m bleeding now.

I’ve received some feedback that maybe I reveal too much. Maybe I should keep some things hidden. I receive calls from worried family members. I feel stricken to think I’ve caused pain to anyone.

It’s painful to write it.

But a writer’s job is to pull back the curtain, release the memories, unleash the bound, open the locked doors, and reveal the hidden places of ourselves. Perhaps a writer isn’t really writing if the reader doesn’t squirm.

Writers undress and walk into the spotlight.

I just realized I don’t have a headache today and I’ve been writing since I woke from the dream. That old denounced method of bleeding someone actually works sometimes.