In the morning, I feel so sure. About all of it: the job-finding, the friend-finding, the boyfriend-finding.
I feel sure about Oregon and the Pacific Northwest (vs. Arizona, vs. Maine). I’m beginning to feel mildly harassed by the WILL YOU JUST LISTEN TO ME — it’s been growing louder every day. It’s been buzzing in my brain, blooming in my heart.
I feel sure about my ability to recover fully. I feel sure about my ability to learn new things and put them into practice. I feel sure about my ability to make a contribution, somehow. (Although: Hello, Doubt! I see you there.) I feel sure about my ability to reach people. I feel sure about my ability to work hard, ease up. I feel sure about my ability to strike a better balance, generally speaking.
I feel sure I’ll be able to figure it out: the people coming, the people going. The money in, the money out. The obligations here, the obligations there. All of it — sometimes I think I’ll be able to handle all of it, just fine. I even feel sure that with some more time, I’ll be able to find more and more ways to tilt my real life more towards my dream life.
So that’s some of the time. But the rest of the time looks like…NOPE. The rest of the time looks like nope, I’m not sure of any of it, any of it at all.
Do you know what I’m really not sure of? How to live in the nope, I’m not really sure, but I sure hope. I’m not sure how to be okay there. How to find happiness there.
Before you ask — I don’t have much practice with just having a little faith. (Religious or otherwise.) I have practice with working really, really hard, and panicking when it starts to look like it might not work out. In life and in love.
But I don’t need you to tell me what really hasn’t been working out, personally or professionally. This business of being hyper anxious — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes I feel like a live wire, going to yoga. It takes me half of the class to unfurl the tension in my belly. To breathe evenly.
I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to just let go. The truth of it is: it’s not hard for me to push. It’s hard for me to relax.
It’s hard for me not to arrange. (Re-arrange.)
I am able to do it, though. More and more often, I am able. But by mid-afternoon, my brain usually starts to whir again. It starts out slow, and then picks up speed: You have 8 months to make Oregon work. If you even want Oregon to work — 95% of your friends are on the east coast. You have 8 months to find a job — a real job, not a writing job, so you can support yourself. You’re not going to be able to. You’re not going to be able to figure it out. Or just do a better job of faking it, like everyone else. Face it: you’re a failure. You’re a failure; you’re just going to fail again.
By early evening I’ll emerge from exile, with messy hair and burning cheeks. All cried out. I’ll put on pajama pants, and I’ll start to fix dinner. (Last night: spaghetti with meatballs.) Last night I added a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce, and managed to speak to myself more softly, sweetly. I was able to keep my voice from hardening, too — from crystallizing and breaking into those stupid little shards. They hurt, those shards. They all hurt.
Every day I become better able to cope with the thought of being rejected again. (Maybe it will feel more like being splintered, vs. shattered, the next time around.) Every day I’m more capable of finding delight in something new, something different. Every day my self-esteem gets a little stronger. Every day I become a better friend, a better daughter. Every day I am filled (even if only temporarily) with the feeling that something will work out.
And (and!) every day I look at my body a little differently. I’m already starting to think about it differently. Sometimes I’ll think it honestly doesn’t much matter at all, what I look like. And I’ll believe it. And sometimes I’ll think: pretty. That girl is kind of pretty. And another part of me will think: yes, she is pretty. She’s getting prettier every day. And I’ll believe that too.
“The next time you feel as though your life is a mess, look around. The cosmos, the constellations, this planet, you — look at all the marvelous things that complete and utter chaos can do.” -Beau Taplin
“I’d cut my soul into a million different pieces just to form a constellation to light your way home. I’d write love poems to the parts of yourself you can’t stand. I’d stand in the shadows of your heart and tell you I’m not afraid of your dark.”-Andrea Gibson
“You were always meant to break skies open. Don’t quiet your storm for anyone. Don’t take down the wind chimes inside of you, no matter how much noise they make.” -Y.Z.
“Human beings are made of water. We were not designed to hold ourselves together — we were designed to run freely, like oceans, like rivers.” -Beau Taplin
“Beautiful sadness is a myth. Sadness turns our features to clay, not porcelain.” -David Levithan
“But what I wanted to say is this: After the period of melancholy is over, you will be stronger than before, you will recover your health, and you will find the scenery around you so beautiful that you will want nothing but paint.” -Vincent Van Gogh