Thursday, June 16, 2005

An Entry in Which I Am Reminded of a Shirt My Brother Used To Wear: The Many Moods of an Alien

I feel restless and edgy and at a loss and my mouth waters in anticipation of something I can't quite put my finger on. I'm spoiling for a fight and craving the feel of a hand on the back of my head, palm on my neck, fingers splayed. I feel lost and adrift and full of wide eyes and confusion because I realize where I've planted myself and I'm overcome with the urge to run. Run to one of those places so ingrained in my memory that I can still conjure up the smell of dry heat, wet stench, cold air or the smell that is New York.

I want to run to these places, find solace in anonymity and start over.

Because I'm absolutely and utterly terrified I picked the wrong path, as Robert Frost would say. That cliched poem, chosen by so many high school graduates, reverbrates in my head because I see the dozens, hundreds, thousands of paths I could have taken and I see that not all of them would have been good, some of them lead right back here and others lead to that point in the road that rises in gentle slope until you can no longer see of the top of the hill so you slow down, approaching the top with just the barest of trepidation because you know the road extends, you know it doesn't drop off into nothingness, but it's a bit like choosing door number 2 on The Price is Right-- a total crapshoot. One where there could be a shiny new car or a set of dishtowels. Both useful, neither harmful. But one is definitely more appealing than the other.

I saw my reflection in a mirror this moring and I saw how my hair seemed to gleam today, how my hips looked beautiful and curvy in my black skirt, how delicate and feminine my ankles appeared, resting in my blue shoes. I saw the slope of my ribcage begin just under my breasts, flowing like carved water into my thighs, my knees, my toes. My eyes looked bright and I felt like I might actually stand out, like I might actually catch someone's, anyone's attention. I saw my visage and for that moment, saw beauty, saw past the heavy eyelids, the face I stare at, absently, a thousand times a day. The face I watch, warily, while drawing on my eyeliner, patting my cheeks with rouge and glossing my lips. For a second that face wasn't mine and I saw what it would be like to be aware of myself; conscious of being female, of having this strange kind of attractiveness and always knowing it was there, knowing that the life inside my skin was mine and I had taken it and let it thrive. Not thrust inside the skin I normally see, with scars on my hands, my knees; small but there, a reminder of the time I burned my hand in the oven, fell on the sidewalk, or ran a knife down the top of my hand, watching for the well of blood that was accompanied by the greatest sense of release, relief, too scared to continue, knowing what I'd become. A road I didn't choose.

All of this a contradiction to the night before, when I caught my eye in the armoire mirror, bending over to turn off the television set, close the doors and retreat into my bedroom. I saw me, aghast, my chin soft, my arms soft, my middle soft and round. Not the good soft, but the soft that comes from too much time taken up by stray thoughts, work and exhaustion, remembering what it felt like to be strong, feeling muscle under my skin so smooth and taut. Never skinny, or even slim. Just toned and firm, breasts round and hips gentle. Legs that felt like a mile long, or maybe that I could run a mile, kick a mile, even lift a mile if I so chose. Seeing in the mirror a complete distortion of who I am, was. Makeup worn away after hours of rubbing my face in frustration. Hair hanging ragged around my face, looking as worn out as I felt. "I'm twenty-five," I think. "What will this be like when I'm...." and I can't fill in the blank. I can't fathom more years, more exhaustion, more nothingness.

Around and round in circles I go, where I stop, no one but me knows.

And then I come back around from this morning, my feeling of awareness has vanished and in it's place is a combination of anticipation and melancholy. I know I can change things, but I keep getting so distracted, so confused by the thousands upon thousands of questions swirling in my head. I miss the days of only 6 years ago, when I was so sure, so confident in the path I had chosen. I knew what my career would be, my life-friends were just starting to emerge from the depths of dormitory halls and I could feel the eyes of men, some lecherous and some curious, as I walked through doorways and and arches, unconcerned with my choices, knowing they were right and good and I knew I was me. Confused, maybe, sometimes, and always a little bit crazy. But I could feel a part of me. Everything happened in whirlwind-like fashion and I embraced it and worked hard at everything I thought I would be, at everything I had planned to become. And somewhere along the line, a combination of events, possibly The Event, marked a beginning of sorts. A beginning where I consistently feel like I'm making the wrong decision.

By now I feel encased in those decisions, unable to escape. I have to exist, survive, remain sane, therefore I have to have this job, that job, remember that job? It wears me down until one day I realize that yes, I am crazy. Not the good kind of crazy. Just crazy. And though I'm better, better than five years ago, better than 2 years ago, better than six months ago, I'm still not me. I'm still walking through water with ear muffs on. Too many thoughts and responsibilities and even though I know that retreating into my head is the very worst thing I can do, I want to, crave to do it anyway.

10 comments:

Adam said...

Whooooo!!!! Glad to have you back lovely lady!!!!

Murrye said...

i find myself in the same place. i always said i was going to leave, go somewhere big like new york. and then i graduated and moved to little rock. i don't exactly regret it, but i tell myself it's temporary, i'm going to do the things i always said i was going to do. i don't want to settle, yet how can i be sure something is right just because i've thought i wanted it for so long? so many choices, how do you ever know which one is right?

Carl from L.A. said...

My "Daily Affirmation" -

"I refuse to let circumstances hold me hostage. I do the best I can, make the best decision I can make, when the situation arises. I don't look back. No regrets. No stress. If they don't want me, it's their loss. I am happy with what I have, who I am. F*** them all."

Jbsss said...

BIRDIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't think you know just how HAPPY I was to see you post on my blog. I lost your link and could not remember the title of your blog. I was just like "MAN THIS SUCKS!" cause I could not find your blog.

Thank you so very much for posting. Now I can enjoy peeking in to your most wonderful mind once again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

meghansdiscontent said...

Girlfriend, chill.
Seriously.
You're in the middle of one of those times.
We've had them over and over.
Sometimes alone, sometimes together, but those moments of "Jesus Christ, where did my life go and why did I let it get there?"
You're fine.
You're wonderful.
You're not where you want to be, but you're not where you will be in the end.
We will figure things out. Together.
It always helps to know you're not alone.
Just think . . . you're in such a BETTER position than so many of us who started together 7 years ago.
You're not a bagboy at Wal-Mart (despite a 4.0 grade average and a college degree) like Daniel.
You're not completely indecisive, covered in debt that you have nothing to show for and unendingly wandering through the world on a quest from God like someone we know.
You're not psychotic and throwing down drinks while yelling accusations at your innocent boyfriend and bystander friend.
You're not unemployed.
You're not homeless.
You're not Jane Pauley, but who the fuck wanted that life.
You will find your way. We will find your way.
You may be the next Charlaine.

I love you much and promise to help in any way I can.

birdie said...

i love you.

James said...

God I know what it is like in these moments. So Often I find myself in a bubble and I just can't seem to relate with the outside world. I had some many different plans for my life then taking 5 different medications and living a life of seculsion but I do my best to get by. Hang in there.

Adam said...

I hadn't actually read this entry when I posted before. I was too excited to see this blog up.

Now that I have read it, it means a lot to me. I find myself in a similar place. It's sunday afternoon, I'm at work because I want to talk to my girlfriend about stuff and there are too many people at my house. The chick is hanging with her band and will call me when she is ready. Together we've made her life as perfect as it can be and she doesn't understand why I'm so alone. I chose to work in the city that is not my home, I chose it as a test to myself, a test I fear I am failing.

Hang in there girl, if we were there each one of us would hug you and hold you close, talk about direction and cool places to be.

Ian said...

I can understand all of this. I can trace the exact moment my life started going astray back to the day I started my first job in this career. Realising that is a wakening moment. The question now is - am I strong wnough to walk away from it and get my life back on track? That is the million dollar question...

Adam said...

Is anyone else feeling Birdie lackage?