Last night I took myself out to eat Korean food alone at 2 am and then I sat in my car by myself and ugly-cried while playing loud music. I’m, like, a little insane right now, even for me.
I just looked at a calendar and I’m giving myself a bit of a pass. Exactly one month ago today I got back from a three-week trip to Vancouver Island—you see, I was trying to change my life, and I did. Then about a week after I got back, I got rear-ended on the highway. My back hurt and a car I loved was totaled and I bought a new car last week, and I like it a lot less, but man am I lucky to have a car and a back that, while it hurts, still carries me around. Also last week I flew to California to contemplate the rest of my life. I have more of a potential future than I’ve had in years; also, I have a car to drive West in, maybe, someday soon. Also, have I mentioned my roommate, whom I adore completely, is moving out at the end of the month? And the other one, whom I also adore completely, will be leaving in January? (Does anyone need a place to live, because I have one for you. It’s pictured above, in fact.)
So maybe you can see: I am both wildly privileged, and wildly lucky, and also I want to dig a burrow under a rock and not talk to anyone for a year, because as per usual I don’t quite know who I am right now and I’d like a minute or two to figure that out thank you very much.
But also: I understand more and more these days that much of my self-actualization comes through in the context of contact with otherness. We are some of the most innately social beings on the planet and the gears of our minds are greased by connection. In beginning to plan a future with a new sweetheart, my goals are taking more shape than they have in years. It’s only through talking with my aunt and my mother that I understand my anxiety and shame are genetic, a birthright. I keep trying to become more of a writer, but the things I need to write only take shape when I go walking in my neighborhood, and the top of my head can open up under the sky and the leaves of the trees. Thoughts & leaves are a natural commune. Alone, buried under rocks, I would never come to a better understanding of myself. So even though people and change scare the crap out of me, and that fear basically makes me into a raving lunatic every goddamned day, I need them. Maybe someday the inevitable pain will feel more worthwhile. Until then my higher brain needs to keep telling the part of myself that is hiding, like a frightened fox: Come out. Smile. Make nice. Make friends. This will get better, I swear.
So this morning I went to the farm market, like I always do. I scraped myself off my unwashed sheets and put on my stained comfy clothes and my flip flops and walked out the door with $20 in my pocket. And the sun flowed down on my head. I got caught up in the river of smiling people, and music from banjoes and guitars, the smells of coffee and frying spices, I talked to a person or two and tried. I avoided eye contact with that one incredibly hot agendered-looking couple who sometimes sit at my bar and whom I have a crush on, I guess they must live in my neighborhood. I bought yellow tomatoes and fresh chevre and incredible dark chewy sourdough made with Emmer wheat and rye. Summer is almost over. I bought too much good food.
And the coffee man called me back from around the corner of the church to press a cup into my hand. Free of charge. No reason. I feel very religious about this moment and will be thinking about it for days. (Everyone in Baltimore: Go buy coffee from Zeke’s, right now.)
Then I came home and made breakfast.
Everything is great, and we are all going to be fine.