Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Forcing the Words

Published in Blog.

For about a month I worked at FedEx, picking up boxes at the mouth of a semi-truck after they’d shot down a big metal shoot. I picked them up and I stacked them. Sometimes the boxes were small, sometimes they were massive. Sometimes the queue seemed endless, sometimes it was manageable. The last few days there broke me. I only did the job a few hours a day but when I came home I was beat. When I woke up I was already gassed for the day. I couldn’t give two weeks notice when I quit. I couldn’t physically continue to do the job. I just called my manager and left a message. Shortly after my shift that day would have started he called me asking what was up, why I wasn’t there. I asked if he’d not received my message and reiterated my excuse: It was just taking too much out of me. His reaction told me he’d heard that before. He said goodbye, I said goodbye. That was that.

I put myself here, but I don’t want this anymore. I want to muster anger, an eruption stemming from fear and self-disgust that I’ve swallowed and hidden away. This whole process of looking in if only to learn how to say goodbye to yesterday, though, has been enlightening. It’s helped me realize that writing here doesn’t make anything more real than it already is. Writing that I want to change my life doesn’t make my feeling more real. Writing that I don’t want this doesn’t do anything but serve as a timestamp on a thought, a feeling, and a period that will be gone before long. Writing that I’m not settling for that job or this apartment doesn’t accomplish what the action of trying to get out of here does. More important, though, writing doesn’t really do anything anymore.

Time feels like it’s moving so slow, but before I know it this whole period of my life will be behind me. I’ll be gone from here, and things will be better. I will be more satisfied because I was the one who created change. The last time I checked in here I felt like the pain that the job left me with was the only thing that was real. That was not true, but the experience away from this screen is what’s been important for me. Forcing words for the sake of writing doesn’t accomplish as much as it used to feel like it did. The transition away from that person isn’t, and hasn’t been, instant — it’s taken years. There have been withdrawals, but those are almost out of my system. Coming here only to document feels empty. Returning here doesn’t feel good anymore. Actually, it just feels unnecessary.