reasons to escape: mid-life crisis, marriage and just life in general

August 29, 2009

The English language can be a deceiving little monster.  One can say, “I love pizza” or one can say, “I love my mother.”  It is the same exact word with two drastically different emotions being expressed.  If you doubt me then take a slice of pizza up to the roof of the tallest skyscraper in your city and toss it over the edge.  Now take your mother up to the roof of the same building and toss her off.  Did the two events feel a little different?  Exactly.

Escape.  This is another one of these words in the English language that likes to play trick or treat with us.

I simply Googled the word escape and found an article titled, “Saudi Girl Drinks Bleach to Escape Marriage.” She was 16 and her father arranged for her to marry a 75 year old man in exchange for that man’s 13 year old daughter. Bleach was her escape.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain longed for escape.

He tried to escape a stomach ailment and his disdain for mainstream popularity by using heroin.  How many people do I know that have, rather how many times have I used drugs or alcohol to escape?  Cobain wrote,

“The most violating thing I’ve felt this year is not the media exaggerations or the catty gossip, but the rape of my personal thoughts. Ripped out of pages from my stay in hospitals and airplane rides hotel stays etc. I feel compelled to say f— you F— you to those of you who have absolutely no regard for me as a person.You have raped me harder than you’ll ever know.”

So he turned to heroin for escape.  The consumption of heroin is marked by a euphoric rush, a warm feeling of relaxation, a sense of security and protection, and a dissipation of pain, fear, hunger, tension and anxiety. When heroin is snorted or smoked, the rush is intense and orgasmic. Subjectively, time may slow down. Any sense of anger, frustration or aggression disappears. Users enjoy the feeling of “being wrapped in God’s warmest blanket” and it is the ultimate escape.  When the heroin stopped working he made the ultimate escape from life with one shotgun blast to the face.

In June of 1962, Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin did the unthinkable.  They  escaped from Alcatraz.

Alcatraz

The inmates were moved to the Rock because of their many successful escape attempts and authorities knew this would be their final resting ground.  They made 14 foot long life rafts out of life vests.  They made a drill out of a vacuum cleaner motor.  They fashioned dummies out of toilet paper and toothpaste that looked real enough to give them time to get the hell out of dodge.  They were never seen or heard from again but no matter what their fate, one thing is certain.  They were going to be physically locked on that island for the rest of their lives so they felt the need to escape.  And they did.

What about the 45 year old, balding, old spice smelling banker that suddenly buys a corvette and starts “working late”?

Mid Life Crisis
He comes home one day and informs his wife and two kids that he is dating a 19 year old and is leaving immediately.  I can guarantee you that somewhere in the banter with his therapist that the word escape is used.

You can read about the lines at Auschwitz in “Night” by Elie Wiesel.  You can read about him getting off of the cattle car with his family and waiting to see which line they will be put in.  Some walked under a gateway that read, “Work makes you free” to be confined to laboring in a concentration camp.  The ones that went to the other line that ended at the smoke stacks got to escape.  They turned into the gray fog that constantly blocked the sun over the camp.  I wonder what kind of emotion the word escape meant to the Jews in the lines.

Here is a picture of escape in New Orleans.
Katrina

Here is a picture of escape in New York City.
9/11

Do you remember when the country went crazy looking for Jennifer Wilbanks in 2005?  She disappeared right before her wedding and showed up 5 days later at a 7-11 that was 1,400 miles from her home.  She said she was kidnapped and forced to cut her hair.  Finally she admitted that she was simply trying to escape so she didn’t have to get married.

We’ve looked at people that have escaped from fame, marriage, pain, jail, hurricanes, and crashing buildings.  Though the many ways that people choose or are forced to escape from are diverse – it has shown me a couple of things.

Be content and seize the day.

I have, on a couple of occasions, packed all of my things up and made a transcontinental move to escape from my problems.  I found out that wherever I went – I showed up.  We must live each day as if it is are last, dance like no one is watching and sing like no one can hear us.  We must find that thing that we love, no matter what it costs us, and do that thing.  This way we never feel we must escape from other’s expectations.  In doing this we will be ready if we ever need to escape in the literal, physical sense.  If the building is crashing and our only escape is to jump we must fall in serenity – with no regrets.  If someone forces me to marry a 75 year old man- may  I,with the unwavering knowledge that I lived each day passionately, say, “Hand me that bleach.”
Bleach

6 Responses to “reasons to escape: mid-life crisis, marriage and just life in general”

  1. kfrayz says:

    At the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil, or Oprah, perhaps the secret to avoiding the bleach cocktail is compassionately loving ourselves. This includes ALL of ourselves…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  2. lee lee says:

    “This way we will never need to escape from other’s expectations.” Sounds like a good plan…but what if I need to escape from my own expectations?

  3. I am not certain how I got here–Altavista maybe? But this is a nice post.