Memory is a tricky thing. I know better now than to trust it, but still they remain, handprints in the gray cement of brain. Early impressions are some of the most deep: the sun on the top of my mom’s head as I ride in a backpack while she bikes. The swaying, the wind in my face, everything moving too fast to see.
I’m not frightened. I love the movement, the speed. I feel a profound sense of well being. Her hair is a dark nut brown, braided, glossy with sunshine. I reach my plump little hand, white and pink with indented knuckles, out to touch her hair. I sink both hands in, grabbing and feeling. Her hair is soft and feels as shiny as it looks. I am fascinated by the contast of colors, the textures, and the whole experience of this moment while the road races by.
She says something, and reaches back to untangle me. The moment passes. I'm less than two.
It's the first memory I have of bliss–a peak emotional experience that floods the brain with a cocktail of amazing natural feel-good chemicals.
Maybe this is when I fell in love with speed.
People ask me how I handle my job. 55 hour weeks doing therapy, a lot of it with children. Trauma. Autism. Abuse. Sad stories. Deep wounds. Things often don't get better. I keep trying. And when something doesn't work, I get creative. I never give up on a case or a family. But no one ever said it was easy.
First I breathe throughout the day. That really works, when I remember to do it.
And then, people, I confess. I speed.
I have an awesome car, finally, in my forties. And to de-stress from the day, I roll down the windows, open the sunroof, blast rock music, and drive fast on my way home from work. Last night, Adele sang Rolling in the Deep while I drove, the wind in my face, my hair a flying straight out of the top of the sunroof, sunset gilding the volcano.
I had the same feeling as that early memory, and I was just as blissed-out, a 100% chemical free high, and when I got home I'd forgotten all about the stress of the day and my cases. Maybe that's why Lei drives fast, and car chases feature heavily in my books. They say “write what you know”!
(For the safety conscious, speeding on Maui means going, like, 65. We don't get to go any faster around here due to speed limits and the narrow roads)
What physical sensations take you to another place?