Type and erase, type and erase. Sometimes this is how it begins.
On the annoying days, this is definitely how it begins. Every once in a while, someone will ask me how I can write every day, and the truth is, I can’t. The truth is, sometimes the words just won’t come, and I move from coffee shop to coffee shop, thinking: twenty-three, and washed-up already.
On days like these, I like to think that all of the words originally intended for me made the unanimous decision to veer off-course and go to another girl. I like to think that this girl was sitting alone in a coffee shop, somewhere along the way, and she needed to write more than I did.
But today I don’t feel like so beautiful a person. Today I don’t feel like conceding graciously. Today I feel a little like stamping my feet and saying: moving across the country is a big thing, and admitting you have an eating disorder is an even bigger thing, and it was all supposed to be a little less hard once I got out here, but it’s not turning out that way, and I could really, really use a good writing day. Okay? (OKAY??)
This isn’t going very well, is it? The wise thing to do would be to power down my laptop, slide it back into my purse, and go for a walk in the sun. Who knows what I might see.
And maybe I could stop at Salt and Straw, for a waffle cone. (I am going to do that! I’m just working up the courage to go alone, and actually eat the whole thing.)
And maybe afterwards, I could find a pretty park and sit on the steps. Maybe I’d feel better out there. I bet I would.
But I know where I won’t feel better: home. My new home. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
The trouble with my new home — that, again, I am unbelievably lucky to be able to live in — is that it’s not mine. Yes, I pay rent. Yes, I stock half of the fridge. And yes, I have a room of my own to decorate. Provided I stop buying every heirloom tomato in sight.
But it’s not mine.
Why is mine so important, at twenty-three? If you asked me what I wanted more than anything else in the world, do you know what I would say? My independence.
And I know I’ll have it, someday. And I know I would have had a much better shot at having that sense of empowerment now, had I not chosen to eke it out as an intern-turned-creative in NYC, for a year. And had I not chosen to move clear across the country, afterwards. To try again, to start over. At the exact same time that my parents got a divorce, and my mom needed to choose her next steps too.
We knew it would be unconventional and ill-advised, but we decided that it’d be best if we started out together. And it really might turn out to be best, but right now it’s really, really hard. Much harder than we thought it would be. As much as we love each other.
I look at my friends living with roommates their own age, and I feel insanely jealous. I look at my friends signing leases with boyfriends they think might be It (Capital I, it), and I wonder where the hell I went wrong. I look at my friends who have cars and couches — and stock options and savings plans besides — and I think how can I be so far behind.