Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In the immortal words of D. Bowie, "Turn and face the strain."

Wednesday morning and I woke up in an immaculately clean room. I stretched for an hour, got up and assessed the milk situation (completely out), made a cup of jasmine green tea and a serving of corn mush. Everything is different from the last time I was out of milk; that’s what I thought to myself. Just a few months ago I was getting creative with all I could afford – cheap, chewy bread, eggs, and heads of lettuce. I made myself eat the greenest parts. I hate the really green parts. They offer no resistance for the teeth, but that’s where the vitamins hide.

A few months ago I would check my bank account daily to make sure no weird little fees were going to incapacitate my rent check. A few months ago I would wake up before God for my daily corporate coffee catechism: “Good morning, how are you today? Would you like room for milk? Soy milk is on the counter now. Have a nice day!”

Here it is, June of 2009. My brother Cripps got laid off and just lost his work-from-home job, too. My dad is always reading on the back deck when I call him, “Waiting for a business call.” My friends are scrambling to keep jobs they hate. And I got hired at the hospital.

This feeling is something like survivor’s guilt, I think. I’m thrilled, on one hand, to have lucked out so completely; I temped in two places, loved the second one and they loved me back. It was a mutual fit with some time to luxuriate and research if it made sense for me. I’m still adjusting, of course. I went from working 6 hour shifts at a coffee shop, running to old lady sitting, running to the kids’ clothing store… Now I have one job to dress for. One place to establish friendships. One set of people to surprise or disappoint. I can faithfully say I’ve never had just one thing on my plate until now. It’s jarring and strange, but I tell myself it’s a good thing.

Here’s the extraordinary part: I write the rent check without looking now. I can do it with one hand tied behind my back. I’d have to hold down the checkbook with my nose, but still…

All of this puts me in a better position for the week to come. I’m still scared shitless, but, y’know, when people ask what I do I have an answer that doesn’t make me cringe.

My brother Smacks gets married this weekend. I’m headed home.

I actually took off Monday and Tuesday (and clearly Wednesday) to prepare myself. I couldn’t explain it to anyone at work so I told them I had to catch up with doctors’ appointments. The truth is I need this time to breathe and be sure of myself. I cleaned the crap out of my room, I went through old journals, I fed myself kindly… I want to think of Boston while I’m there and remember how well I’ve done. I won’t be able to say it much so I have to know it.

The truth is that these are still lonely, scary days. I know the day will come when I’ll have a panic attack at the hospital and they’ll have to know a few things I don’t want to share. And I still have to face the part of me that was so sure I’d grow up to be something different – someone completely in my own skin, creative and growing and bursting with extra love to give out freely.

I’m not there yet. I’m getting there. I can almost see that person behind my reflection, kinda waving me forward, encouraging my steps.