Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. Actually it’s more like most of the time.
Some of it is the schedule. I’m working 30 hours a week as a wage slave to the fashion industry. And though I like talking to women about heels and the “vintage vibe”, ass kissing and customer service are surprisingly exhausting. Add onto that my three classes, and the monumentous amounts of work I’m getting from one of my classes specifically (there’s a blog post to come psychoanalyzing my professor, I assure you). Plus I agreed to help coordinate an event for our church and community kids – I expected an attendance of 50-100, but the estimate we’re currently working with is 400. Many of these are firsts – it’s the first time I’ve worked this much and gone to school, the first time I’ve planned an event this large, and the first time my pseudo-intellectualism just isn’t enough.
But I don’t think that’s what really disturbs me. For a girl whose motto is I’m fine – I’m always fine, survival isn’t really an option – it’s an assumption. Of course I will keep it together. I’ll apply lots of concealer and smile at work, I’ll prostrate myself for the academy, and my adreneline will keep me focused on the finite details of my event. And more than likely, I’ll pull a 3.5, earn praise from my church peers, and customers will continue to ask me how I manage to be so perky at X time of day.
What scares me is the feeling that even though I’ve changed scenery, I’m in exactly the same place. Granted, my life here includes high-end (window)shopping plazas and ethnic food, but it’s empty. I did the math last night, between presentation preperation and hot-dog dinner number crunching, and concluded that I’m spending 60 hours a week doing things I really don’t care about.
And what makes my stomach fall farther than my toes is how easy it is for me to do it. How disgustingly well trained I am. How good I am at playing by the rules and how used to being chipped away at my soul is. It hardly even phases me when I feel like my heart is dying inside of me because the feeling is nothing more than deja-vu. Since infancy I have been taught the practicallity of dilligence, like we all are. My family has bosted that brand of liberalism that values literature, art, and passion, but we want to put it back on our bookshelf when we’re finished with it. Things like adventure, ignorant pursuit of ideals, misery and love on fire have no place in a world of pracical conventions.
I’ve reverted to my old vices of calculating plane and train tickets in my spare time, and I’m realizing that the purpose of travel in my life was twofold. Part of me was running, both from something and to something. I was escaping a world where I disliked not only what lived around me but what lived in me, and I was also running to places that made me stand pidgeon-toed with my hands behind my back – places and people that made me feel like life means something. I’ve known this for some time. What what I have been less forthcoming in acknowleding is the balance I sought in the people I fled to. One of my favorite things about my favorite hosts is their ability – in ignorance or courage – to fuck up.
I’m developing an unbelieveble respect (and irrational jealousy) for the people I know who have had the balls to take their own life into their hands. People who left places when they could see they were destroying them – because I stayed. People who got involved in incredibly stupid things, got burried, and had to dig themselves out the hard way – because I’ve always been too smart to do something like that. People who have pulled people into their lives and dragged them down – because all I’ve done is push them away.
I feel like I’ve spent the last four years becoming something I hated and then un-becoming it. And it all happened inside my head. I’ve got scars but no stories.
And here I am. It’s a Saturday night in the suburbs, and between work on a paper topic and assembling a flyer, I’m shreiking at the top of my lungs but not a sound is coming out. And the pragmatist in me is shreiking too. What can I do to stop this, change this, make it so my life isn’t just an exercise in endurance.
And the most frightening thing to me yet – I don’t have a damn clue.
“Plenty of people are onto the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness.” – Revolutionary Road