Life In The Rearview

I wish that I could stop living my life in the rearview mirror. Because all I see is accidents behind me. Wrecks, both big and small. Carnage sometimes. And I just keep tooling along as if this isn’t a problem that my eyes are seeing. It’s just life in the rearview!

It’s funny too! Not the funny that tickles your sides but the ironic, baffling, shameful, self-incriminating funny that eats inside of you. Humorless funny. Helpless funny. Because in the rearview, you only see what has happened, what you’ve done. And the helpless part is that I don’t learn. I don’t seem to be able to learn from my own past and I end up making mistakes, sometimes the same mistakes – oftentimes the same mistakes – and I don’t know why.

Maybe my past is the problem. Wouldn’t that be ironic funny? The carnage I see in the rearview, maybe that comes from the past that I can’t see in the rearview! Maybe it’s the things that I’ve been, seen, heard or felt before I actually started looking! Maybe those things. Maybe those lost and never had things, maybe that is the root of my mad mayhem.

Maybe it’s love. The love I never had. The love I’ve never learned. The love I’ve never been given. I mean, I have seen love. I’ve seen it in eyes, hearts, smiles, hugs… I’ve seen it. But I’ve seen the moon too. Never been there either.  There’s a separation between me and love. A barrier that has yet to be broken. Something standing strong and tall between us and – in all my years – I haven’t been able to break down that wall. And therefore I’m broken. Ironic funny again, eh?

I’m missing the connection. The intersection of soul and touch that locks with another when eyes meet. Where hearts beat and minds sync and vibe. Sharing by spiritual osmosis. It feels like something is missing. Like I am missing.

And the most frustrating thing is that I don’t know what is ailing me. I don’t know how to heal myself or even how to ask for help. I can’t put a name to my malady. I can’t put my finger on the dirt that I drag behind me.

The truth starts with being honest with myself. I want to see that reflection in the mirror. To know what it is and how it is and how it came to be and how it still IS! Is it my destiny? My lot in life? My ever, lifelong failure?

Which begs the question: how honest can I be? With myself. How much can I admit to myself? Hard truths. That’s what’s needed. Hard truths.

Let me start with questions:

Do I want fame and riches and success without the hard work?

Am I only capable of getting work done if I have someone to tell me what to do?

Am I strong enough to break bad habits?

Do I have enough discipline to be successful?

Am I afraid of success?


Yes. Maybe. No. No. I don’t know.

Success is mine if I just reach for it. If I strive for it. If I do not focus on all of the bullshit in my life, the things that aren’t important and don’t mean much — not in the grand scheme of things. Things that should actually be the discarded wreckage in my rearview mirror.

Can I do it?

Or do I need help?

I look at myself as a man. The last line of defense. A grown ass, motherfuckin’ man! And a man does what he has to do, not only what he needs to do but what he has to do. And I’ve failed in that. I get so easily sidetracked that I let success pass me by.

I think that I’m an attention hound. That I have to have that big fish, small bowl spotlight on me. I think that despite my resolve, I care too much about what others think.

I remember when I was a young lad. I was much quieter. More shy. I didn’t talk much and I didn’t need to be around people much. I don’t know when I came out of my shell but now it seems that I’m fighting all the time to stay outside myself.

Overall, I am much more comfortable inside of that shell. There was peace there. Quiet there. And I was able to keep my nose to the grindstone in there.

And the rearview mirror held no reflections.

No dented relationships left on the side of the road. No hurt feelings standing by the wayside, tears streaming freely. No betrayals turned on its side. No burning husks of cursed promises and broken dreams dotting my path. There was nothing there.

In retrospect, that may be as terrifying as the damage that I see now, when I glance at my reflection now. I don’t know.

I’m still seeing my life through the rearview mirror.


Published by: Nane Quartay

Nane Quartay was born in upstate New York. After a tour in the US Navy, he traveled extensively before returning to New York to begin writing his first novel, Feenin'. His titles include Come Get Some, Take Two And Pass, The Badness and soon to be released Feel The Fire. He now lives in the Washington, DC area.

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