I got back from vacation last night and so, today, between my days off and being back to reality, I have been living in a daydream. I’ve been sitting on the couch for the past hour, neglecting all of my “back to routine” responsibilities (laundry, gym, cleaning, groceries, etc), in favour of thinking about what could’ve, should’ve, and might be. I can’t help but feel like I am not where I am supposed to be.
It isn’t really that even, it feels more like I am not who I’m supposed to be. I’m going through a bad phase with social media where I look at other people’s accounts and compare my own and I feel like I look so incredibly superficial and boring. There’s no real content to my life. I worry that this speaks to a deeper level of dissatisfaction from the superficial happiness I have been experiencing.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it though. Go do what ought to be done, to start (laundry, gym, cleaning, groceries, etc), and then maybe work on re-prioritizing. But also remember that social media is not an actual representation of the ways in which people are living and experiencing their lives.
My house smells of coffee in the mornings now. It never did growing up. In one of the small sacrifices I can see now, my dad didn’t drink it because my mom didn’t like the smell. He would buy a coffee or get some at the office instead, never complaining. She eventually bought him a k-cup when the conversation came up of how much money he was spending on coffees, though she insisted on taking it when they separated a few years ago. It sits in a cupboard in the apartment he pays for, just like the elliptical she demanded to keep, which is buried beneath boxes and knickknacks in her study. It wasn’t the hill he wanted to die on though, so he obliged, not the last of his many sacrifices.
It took me a long time to warm up to coffee and I am still not a habitual drinker, though there is a pot made every morning and it’s aroma fills the whole house. It reminds me of my grandparents house, my mom’s parents. Their house always smelled like coffee in the morning. I don’t understand where the disconnect is between them and her, but there is one.
It isn’t just about the coffee.
I have lived in this shared one bedroom apartment with my craigslist roommate for close to three years. I have stared out at the dirt and mildew stained walls outside my window thousand of times thinking about my life and existence and the future. I keep feeling like I will be sad when I leave on Saturday, but I suddenly realized that this place has never really been my home.
In my transient young adulthood, this is the longest that I’ve ever stayed in one place, but the yellow tiled bathroom and beige walls don’t belong to me. No matter what efforts I put in to making this place mine, the calendar on the wall, or chalk boards with my to-do lists, it never really felt quite right. It was always a shared place, not fully my own. I think about all the memories I’ve made here, all the ways that I’ve really come into my own and become a person I am happy to be, and built relationships here and a life, but that isn’t about the place itself.
Sure, I will miss the memories, and maybe a little bit of the freedom I had in this ~300sq ft room, but this place was never really my home. Now I have the chance to make a real one for myself, if I am ready to give up the idea of myself as a transient youth and move forward into a real life with someone. It’s scary and overwhelming, but I’m ready to say goodbye to this non home and move forward into a real house with plants and dogs and friends and a man who loves me.
So goodbye, mildew stained paneled wall. I don’t think I’ll miss you.
I think about the way that I am, or is the way that I choose to be, and wonder if I will ever be okay in my own skin. I feel too much, love to deeply, but approach the world with a bitter indifference. Don’t let them see you cry. Stiff upper lip. Continue reading WHO AM I?!
Ugh, Facebook does that thing now where it shows you pictures from previous years asking you if you want to share them (I do not). Today I woke up to one from eight years ago of me and my first serious boyfriend. I stared at it for a long time, noticing how thin and youthful my face was. I don’t necessarily look any happier then than I do now. That’s the thing about pictures; they aren’t a real representation of what things were like. I stared at the picture for probably ten minutes, feeling a real ache inside of me that I couldn’t quite shake off; it was a kind of growing anxiety. I stared at our young naive faces and thought about how he lingered on in my memory like a stain. Nobody else could notice his mark, unless I pointed it out, but I always know it’s there. No matter how hard I try to scrub it away, there it is. There he is.
I remember he asked me once what my biggest fear was. I smiled and told him I was afraid of the ocean, it’s deep caverns and unexplored abysses; I worried about what was lurking beneath its surface. He smiled and kissed my lips gently. I can’t remember now what his biggest fear was, probably something like failure or heights. I do remember how later that night I stood in the shower, thinking about him, tracing my soapy hands along the lines of my curves, imagining it was his hands instead. I suddenly felt a boiling panic rising inside of me, a sort of deep seated anxiety. I was really afraid of losing him, but more than that, I was afraid of not being happy. The ocean was a metaphor for me; I was afraid of what was lurking beneath my surface, an unhappiness and melancholy that had been there since childhood. I pushed the thought away then though, and smiled again. He was mine, nothing was going to change that.
I was wrong of course, and I think about that from time to time- how wrong I have been so many times, about so many different things. When I look back at my life even a year ago, it feels like the girl in those pictures isn’t even me. Her life was so different. There was so much hiding inside of her, waiting to make it to the surface. So much would fall apart and come together and then fall apart again in this year. And that’s the thing about it, no matter how much you think you know about yourself, like the ocean, there are always new strange things lurking in the deep. These things have been there all along, but have existed undiscovered. So how then, can we expect to know another person entirely when we don’t even fully know ourselves? Continue reading Excerpt 1.