Hazardous Material

What I want is so much more than physical.

What I want is not a hard-earned (or genetically gifted) V-shaped torso. What I want is not a perfect six-two to my five-four. What I want is not a jaw chiseled from a slab of golden granite, or whatever they’d be most likely to write in one of those romance novels we all read. What I want is not a thick crop of dark hair (that looks as if it won’t be going anywhere fast.) What I want is not a pair of knowledgeable, workman’s hands.

What I want is something neither of us can quite put a finger on.


What I want is something we don’t splash all over Facebook. How does that sound?

I wonder if it’s a hazard of living alone on what still feels like the opposite side of the country — all of this wondering about the man I’ll meet.

I do wonder. (Can you be a strong single lady, and still wonder?) I wonder if, when, how. I wonder who.


This morning I thought about it as I shaved my legs for the umpteenth time. Took an extra ten minutes to clean the shower, while I was in it.

Will I meet him at work? Will I ride the elevator with him every morning for six months, before one of us does more than nod hello? Will he wind up being a friend of so-and-so? Will it turn out that we went to rival schools? Have ties to the same hometown?

Or will he end up being somebody I’ve already met, somebody I already know? Somebody I went to middle school, high school, or college with. And if so…I wonder what the hell he’s waiting for.

I’m kidding, kind of. All in good time, and all of that. But I’ve been playing this game for longer than I want to admit.


It’s absolutely hands down a hazard of being lonely. Although the truth is, 70% of the time, I love being alone. I love sliding around the apartment in my socks and not quite closing the bathroom door all the way and blaring the Joy the Baker podcast when I scrub down the kitchen. I love having a girlie bedspread and I love eating nothing but crackers and cheese for dinner, when I feel like it.

It’s just that the remaining 30% sneaks up sometimes — say when I’m curled up on the couch, realizing my phone hasn’t rung in four days. When that happens, I can’t help but think it’d be awfully nice to be able to make a makeshift pillow out of somebody’s lap again. Or go to a movie, and miss half of it because we were busy making out in the back row. (Do people still do that? I hope people still do that.)


Granted, this is not an easy time. I’m still reeling from MY WHOLE WORLD: IMPLODING, which is basically what happened when my parents divorced and I hightailed it out of NYC and moved out west. Only to realize I was really rather deeply entrenched in an eating disorder. And while I couldn’t have picked a more beautiful place, I’d severely underestimated how hard it would be to get a job, make a few friends, and find my footing in Portland.


And other things, too — other things I hadn’t counted on: how hard it would be on my self-esteem to live with my mom (even if only for a little while). How excruciatingly painful it would be, to let go of anorexia. How miserable it would be to have to hurt people I love, in the process. How disheartened, discouraged, and downright DEPRESSED I would feel, in the meantime. And exactly how many times I would end up on my living room floor, sobbing to a silent apartment.

Not to mention how much I would miss my friends, nearly all on the east coast. (SO MUCH — SO TERRIBLY MUCH.) There’s something so incredibly grounding about having some people around who have known you forever, in all kinds of phases of your life.

I still feel tugged in twelve different directions, whenever I stop and sit still. I look at my life and I think about the things that matter, and I feel like I’m not moving towards them.


That’s not altogether true, of course. But whenever I think about the love of my life residing in middle of nowhere Maine (or Montana — why do I keep thinking about Montana?), it does not help matters.


This helps, though. This does help: to think that five years ago, I had such a different picture of who the love of my life would be. He even had a face, this man. A face I was so sure I had memorized, and would never be able to forget, even if I tried. (Encouraging fact for the heartbroken among you: I couldn’t even make a crude drawing of it, now.)

Two years ago, I would have sketched for you an entirely different face. And now? Now I don’t have a face in mind at all. What I have in mind is more like a list. And do you know what’s at the top?

Same dreams.

{More cozy cabin dreams, courtesy of @hannes_becker, @alex_strohl, and @lily_rose on Instagram.}


3 thoughts on “Hazardous Material

    • Aww I’m sorry Tua, didn’t mean to bum you out! Thanks for the encouraging note. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and forget that there will probably be a part-time job before there will be a full-time one, and a boyfriend or two more before a husband comes, etc. etc. Hazards of being twenty-something, and habitually in a hurry!

      • I know, I have a similar urgency about everything. I think it’s going to be a problem that we girls in 20s will be dealing with until we are past it. Love and hugs. 🙂

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