The routine remained the same for weeks. She didn’t sleep until 2 or 3 am. She woke around 8:30 or 9, exhausted and hazy. Her head felt clouded, shrouded with dust, or cotton candy, or some such other particulate material. To open her eyes was a brutal chore, but the sweet relief of repose would not return. Eventually she graduated to staring at her phone, one eye cracked to check the ‘news’ of the day, still horizontal. Eventually she would get up, eventually she would shower. After a lackadaisical glance in the nearly empty fridge she shuffled out of her apartment cave, to spend money she didn’t have on shitty coffee just to be in the presence of strangers. She felt less isolated that way. Plus, free wifi. Bonus.
Though she vowed to quit for weeks, time and time again a pack of cigarettes snuck into her purse, peaking out at her like a shameful secret defiantly exposing itself. It often reminded her of hiding mouses in one’s bag, a la The Witches… she then wondered, as she lit up and lazily took a drag, why the hell she connected such random crap. ‘Maybe it’s a symptom of creativity,’ she hoped, ‘….or more likely, insanity.’
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Call that^ an early experiment in short fiction, though let’s be honest, it’s not exactly entirely fabricated.
I arrived in Sarasota Thursday night, late. So far my… landlady? roommate?… we’ll just call her Amy, has been super nice, shown me around, given me the low down on everything before she leaves for a month to visit her family in Nebraska. I officially start my internship on Monday, 9 am sharp. Luckily I’m less than a 10 minute bike ride away. I’m looking forward to the change of pace, or rather, to finally have something to do besides ride the continuous merry-go-round that is my head. It’s great creative fodder for writing, but it can be depressing and exhausting. I find it hysterical that I’m always so excited for the end of the semester, for a freakin’ break already! But give me two days, and then I’m bored out of my mind. Boredom which of course leads inevitably to introspection and eventually super harsh assessments.
I’ve decided to try and view the next two months as a bit like a forced pilgrimmage, some kind of retreat inward. Honestly, I’m fucking terrified. Luckily, I have two buttresses: my best friends, Poofl and Husband Zero, live a mere hour away, at the ready should things become too intense. And I have the wise words of one of my oldest friends. I contacted her via FB the other day, after a second glass of wine and brimming tears after a fruitless afternoon of attempted prose. I started with a straightforward, “Fuck, I’m sad.” After my explanations why (I suck at writing, I suck as a person, if I can’t love myself how can I expect others to love me, fuck I’m a hot mess), she gave me some of the most uplifting advice I’ve received to date:
S: I saw your blog post
S: tbh, i was really proud of you, it came off as really strong and introspective
Me: yeah. It just makes me even sadder, because I don’t know how long it’ll take to get over the hump, how hard it will be, how successful i’ll be
S: I don’t think you’re undateable. But I think now is a very hard time for you because so much is in transition, from your location to your core sense of self. And suppose you meet someone now and in a few months you’re a different person—more insightful, wiser, and so on. You won’t WANT to be with the person who’s a reacher for the old you, much less the new one
S: as for the word “undateable” it’s kind of like the difference between “poor” and “broke.” With “poor” there’s a sense of permanence there, like you’ll never have money. “Broke” is temporary. You’re not undateable. You’re in transition. And that’s okay, in fact it’s good.
S: Obviously I can’t tell you how hard it will be, but I can tell you that I’m 100% confident that you’ll be successful. You tend to achieve whatever you set your mind to. You’re strong (stronger than you think). You WILL get through it
Me: yeah, I know. I haven’t felt this way in so long. it sucks.
S: The thing about you is that since I’ve known you (a long damn time) you’ve been on a quest for self-improvement. This is no different. You work tirelessly to make yourself the best person you can be. I see you continuing that journey, and growing more and more. It’s the moment you STOP growing that’s the concern. There’s a buddhist idea that if 4 horses are in a race, the horse in first place is actually the worst horse because he has no reason to try to improve. The horse in last place will never stop pushing himself to try to get better. He is actually the closest horse to reaching enlightenment.
S: Sorry if that’s cheesy, but I think it’s easy to lose sight of these things, especially with social media throwing everyone’s achievements in our face all the time.
Me: that’s a good analogy, i guess what upsets me the most is I feel like it’s never felt this hard before. Like, you’d think after all the improvement I’d made it wouldn’t always be easy, but it wouldn’t always be this difficult
S: maybe this is the most real it’s been
Me: yeah, maybe you’re right.
S: when you came here i hadn’t seen you in a long time, but it was really interesting: it was like seeing the old L’s that i knew so well before and this new (adult) person fighting with each other over who you “are” now. You mentioned yourself feeling like you were in a violent transition, but for me at no time did I worry or wonder how it would turn out.
S: I don’t mean that to sound condescending (god knows i’m not a grown up yet). But it was real and it was one of the things that made me feel like we had really reconciled because there was this realness there.
S: sorry this is coming out not quite right, but what i’m saying is this: I can see you’re in a transition that is not easy. And I support it and am here for you however i can be.
Me: thanks, my silence is my tears haha. they’ve needed to surface for a few days now. Thanks baybe. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And so, instead of burying my anxieties and depression beneath a tripled dose of meds and a bottle of wine, I will start exercising again. I will write. I will eat healthy. I will get over this hump, because I’m fucking sick of feeling this way. I want to start believing myself when I say I’m awesome, again. Because I am, dammit.
Current Jam: “Better Times” The Ones to Blame