Wildly and Dangerously Free

It’s a moody rainy writing day — my favorite kind. Eight months ago I asked Google how much rain I could expect if I moved to Portland, and I have to admit, I was a little taken aback. I like a cozy indoor-day as much as the next girl, but even I didn’t have that many pairs of fuzzy socks. Or books to read, or teas to try, or letters to send.

I thought to worry about the rain; I didn’t think to worry about the quiet.

A quick word on the weather, while we’re on the topic: either it’s genuinely not that bad, or someone has decided I could use a little luck.

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I could use a little luck. As a matter of fact.

It’s so quiet in my apartment. The powers that be turn the heat down during the day, while people are presumably at work, so it’ll be five o’clock before I can count on the heat’s happy clanks to keep me company.

Sometimes I sit here — yes, okay, dangerously close to swan-diving off into the deep end of my own personal pool of self-pity — and think, how did things go so wrong.

But it’s not that things have gone so terribly. They just haven’t gone according to plan. The plan — in case you’re curious — was to move out west, find a job while I looked for a better job, and make a few friends (through one job or the other). The plan was to start out living with my mom (while she decided whether she should make her base in Oregon or Arizona), and work really hard in order to eventually be able to secure a little place of my own.

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The plan was to live in a city with lots of jobs, lots of trees, and lots of people who also feel relatively attached to that thing otherwise known as work-life balance. The plan was to work but also to continue to write, whenever I could.

The plan was also to fall in love with someone at a coffee shop. When the timing was right, and yada yada yada.

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There was a lot of hoping, in that plan.

It is almost as if I am afraid to hope again, now. Hoping involves more hours and days and weeks and maybe months (please no) of trolling the Internet, in that endless search-and-scroll for a job description that doesn’t look too ridiculously far out of my league.

I don’t know what has happened to my confidence. It is not as if I have never had a job. It is not as if I have ever been fired. I’m exceedingly conscientious, hyper-punctual, and very happy to work independently once I know what I’m doing. And I’m the person who actually remembers people’s birthdays. Every office needs someone who is going to supply the card for everybody to sneak-sign. Don’t they?

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Half of me feels like I’m in the middle of this massive upswing, and things are just going to work out, and all I need to do is be myself. And breathe. And try not to worry so much, if at all possible. I should just keep working on being less attached to the outcome (in the grand scheme of things) and continue to remember that no matter what I do for work, I am already valuable for all the other things I bring to the table.

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I like this part of myself. It’s new; it’s a work in progress. But I do believe that I don’t need to make an enormous amount of money to be happy. In fact, I’m quite sure I only need to figure out a way to make enough — just enough to pay my bills, buy a birthday present for my mom, and put a small amount aside each month.

There’s this part of me that insists that the ideal life description involves being present — making coffee, making love, making bread, making lists. And making sure to carve out time to swim the ocean and walk the woods and take chances and make mistakes. And learn, and know my worth. And love fiercely, forget quickly. And let go of the things that make me feel somehow less. And you know, all of the other things we could file under According to Pinterest.

But there’s a bigger part of me that says: hi hey hello, the clock is ticking, and do you realize you’re going to have to give up on Portland and go to Scottsdale if you can’t find something full-time, and oh by the way, you will never get a job IF YOU CONTINUE TO BE TOO AFRAID TO APPLY FOR ONE.

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“Don’t be afraid. There are exquisite things in store for you. This is merely the beginning.” -Oscar Wilde

“I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.” -Tracee Ellis Ross

“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” -Hafiz

“Be yourself. You’re okay.” -Yohji Yamamoto

“We live on a blue planet that circles around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea, and you don’t believe in miracles?” -Marteria

“It is a strange and wonderful fact to be here, walking around in a body, to have a whole world within you and a world at your fingertips outside you. It is an immense privilege, and it is incredible that humans manage to forget the miracle of being here. Rilke said, ‘Being here is so much,’ and it is uncanny how social reality can deaden and numb us so that the mystical wonder of our lives goes totally unnoticed. We are here. We are wildly and dangerously free.” -John O’Donohue

{Vanilla bean cheesecake via @nickersonross; my kind of studio via @jannikobenhoff on Instagram.}

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