Perpetually in the asking. Teetering between existing and loving and breathing in the absolute overhaul feeling of change, OR re-building, block by block, the life I used to have, but instead here, in Baltimore. Writing this, I can feel my core firm and my heels prepare to dig in the ground. I Do Not Want To ReCreate My Old Life. I want to keep floating; I want to keep allowing myself to Be in the new me Being In Baltimore. I know this; I have been doing it incrementally; it makes me so so Uncomfortable.
I have a hart time applying to jobs in Baltimore. Multiple applications I begin, and abruptly x out of the browser when it comes to Employment History. I am tired of writing about Denver Public Schools, Arkansas Teacher Corps, Teach For America; My Other Lives. I do not want to continue that, but I don’t know where else to Go.
There is nothing else to write. Maybe:
“Hotel banquets for 2 weeks, Annapolis MD”
“Tiny poetry books, sold 7”
“Okay at talking to people most of the time, I think”
I like saying yeah I’m used to moving across the country and acting like None of Anything is Ever a Big Deal. I like casual. I like Being Different because I guess that’s the most universal thing most humans like, Being Different. What is that book or quote or something about people wanting to be anything but ordinary? How horrible Ordinary is? I am trying to not be Ordinary, and in doing so am embodying the epitome of the Human Condition. So pat on the back for me!
I think about how Right Now is a strangely difficult time: I am tentative living in someone else’s place; I have very little above zero amount of money; I don’t have any insurance; I am banking on the graces of karma and the universe that nothing Horrible is about to happen; everyone I know here I have known for one week or less.
Sometimes, this Right Now makes my skin crawl: I take literally two hours to mentally get myself out of the house; I can’t fathom picking up a book for the sheer mental weight of it; I am scared to open windows and doors; I wake up at 1:30pm somewhat regularly; I cannot get myself to sleep before 6 or 7 in the morning; I smoke enough cigarettes for my body to rebel in chronic coughing (current life, that is, which is an arguably excellent way to Quit smoking, again).
AND YET, AND YET, MY FRIENDS: Sometimes, this Right Now can be self-affirming Baby Steps toward what this embarrassingly inspiring quick read (borne of this Medium post) sent to me by a God-Given Friend Delivered By The Universe calls your MUST. Musts are the stark contrasts to Shoulds, and lately I have found solace categorizing my behavior by the two:
- SHOULD: have a job with consistent, regular hours, that is good for the world, that pays at LEAST $45k (which obviously means it’s salaried), that includes insurance and some kind of grown people clothes
- MUST: take a job that requires next to no brain power but gets you out of bed and into the universe, requires you to do things like pick up dirty plates and roll silverware, that pays $12/hr and changes your shifts daily, that is a 45 minute commute and surrounds you with people you would otherwise never speak to
- SHOULD: live in a “safe” block, neighborhood, city, that is full of people like you namely white middle class young professionals who are athletic and maybe with babies and monogamous relationships, where you have a place to park your car and a park you walk to and maybe a farmer’s market, and *obviously* you have your own space, room, kitchen, windows, keys…
- MUST: rely on the kindness of a high school friend and his Karmic renting of two places simultaneously, use His Keys, His Bed, His Desk, His Kitchen, His Drawer, His Closet, His Floor; pay nothing and make mental notes of How In God’s Name you will ever repay him; become friends with 30 something entrepreneurs who are equally far from children and monogamy and feel strangely Not Weird about it
- SHOULD: schedule and block days to be productive times; use the color coded web-based calendar system you relied on for six years to be Organized and Intentional with your time and resources and existence, Plan Everything, set benchmarks and goals for number of jobs applied to, neighborhoods to live in, museums to visit, people to have drinks with; generally micromanage all of your minutes to be highly productive and Prove You Have Worth (Quantitative and Qualitative)
- MUST: sometimes sleep until 1:30, sometimes apply for jobs, sometimes abandon job applications; schedule next to nothing; attend social events on whims, attend tinder dates when provoked; allow days to pass without pre-planning or recording any of it; feel Mostly Fine staring at the wall, eating the exact same sandwich 8 days in a row, and having a breakfast of popsicles
I honestly don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, working toward, walking toward, waiting for. There are major elements of Daily Basis Terror, and also major elements of All Life Is Not Like The Last Seven Years. I am trying to not get stuck in excuses or paralysis, but also not pile boulders on my shoulders and act like they’re worthy accessories.
Two things that are staying with me right now in This Baltimore life are texts:
- From long time high school bestie / newish twin mom / DC thank God close to me friend: I’m sure [you’re having a hard time] because you aren’t throwing yourself into work! So what else can you throw yourself into
(Because, you know, it IS an option to ‘throw myself into’ things other than work. The kind of obvious but revolutionary comment that sticks.)
- From tinder date turned daily check in friend, after I told him I am quitting smoking again because a) it made me so sick I can hardly sleep and b) I want to be better at soccer: I’m glad you know what you want. 🙂
Because it’s laughable and at first I had a physical aversion to the comment (WHAT? NO I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I WANT! THAT’S THE PROBLEM!) but after three seconds I realized he’s right: I want to quit smoking, and I want to be decent at soccer. And those are Real Things that I can want, and that are just as meaningful, though different, from wanting to be The Best Teacher or a High Paying Job.