First, thank you all for your concern – I mentioned on Monday that I’m not super ok and the emails came pouring in. I’m actually fine, mostly, it’s just…
In the past year and a half, I’ve been tasked with the enormous burden of tearing down an old life and building a new one, and I got passionate in my pursuit of peace and order. I took the opportunity to rip up bad habits and fix things I didn’t like. I pared my apartment down to the bare essentials, with only decorations that meant something to me. A place for everything and everything in its place. Finally, I stood in the middle of a very clean, clutter free house, and everything surprised me by getting loud. The enormity of life – stripped of boxes and extra books and a cluttered closet – roared in my ears.
It’s overwhelming. I’m enjoying a sweet, quirky career, but I’ve been cruising, kind of, figuring out what is next in this calm after all the divorce hell and apartment rearranging hell has gone away. Who am I, and who do I want to be?
Sometimes I miss my old life where I at least had the illusion of all of the answers. There are moments when the stark reality of “the world is my oyster” and “I’m doing ok but I have no idea where I’m going” slam into me. It’s overwhelming and scary.
Shit is hard, yo.
I’m making small efforts and trying stuff. There’s a chorus I’ve joined that meets every Tuesday. It’s technically open to everyone of all abilities, but is, in reality, stocked with wonderful singers. I can’t actually sing well, and the director has very sweetly rearranged the seating arrangements so I’m surrounded by stronger vocalists, but there are moments where I get lost and feel terrible for throwing everyone off. I keep saying I’ll quit, but walking away from things is not my strong suit.
I bought a bicycle, and a helmet, and a lock, and a basket, so I can be one of those people riding around Brooklyn. It’s terrifying. I rode two blocks – from the bike shop to my apartment – and immediately needed to have a two hour nap. I keep searching the faces of everyone on bikes, trying to figure out if they’re terrified, too. They don’t seem to be. WHY AREN’T YOU SCARED, MADAM? Don’t you know this is scary stuff?
Yesterday, I asked the guy at the bike shop to show me how my new lock works.
“It’s kind of self explanatory…” he said, starting to smirk.
“No. No. You don’t understand. I haven’t had a bike since I was a kid. I’m scared. This is scary. I’m so scared. You have to explain all of the things that you can to me now, so I can feel as brave as possible. I know it’s probably easy, but I need you to show me. Help me. Please.”
And then I accidentally started to get teary eyed, but he got it. He saw me, and then he realized I was being bold doing something he does every day without thinking. It was awful to have to explain that, but worth it as he he showed me exactly how a bike lock works, explaining it like it wasn’t the simplest thing in the world, and I was so thankful.
Maybe it will all get easier? I don’t know. My friends Melanie and Cecily have offered to ride with me to build confidence, but I need to get to the point where going four blocks doesn’t make me want to throw up with fear.
I’m pressing on.
I have to. I will literally never be ready for change, but Kathryn said over wine last night that change is the fundamental truth of all existence, and something about we’ll die if we keep holding on to versions of our old selves. Wait, I think that’s what she said. I was tipsy.
It’s really, really hard.
So that’s what’s going on. There are days I feel good, and days where I pull the covers up to my chin, and shake, and think, “My god. Putting my feet on this floor this morning is going to be so enormous.”
And good things are happening. A photo I took made it into the New York Times. I figured out how to invest some money I’d saved up in a wise manner all by myself. I nailed the tricky part in a choral piece, so that I walked into Tuesday practice with confidence. I rode two whole miles on my bike, and did not get dead.
It’s coming together piece by piece by piece. My method for coping is to just pretend that I’m brave, and then doing the things that scare the shit out of me. It’s all I can do, I think, because the fear keeps curling around me, and if I let it trip me up, I just wouldn’t get anywhere, but it’s… scary! I come home, and bury my face into my dogs, and reach out to my tiny group of excellent friends, and press, press, press on. It’s all I can do.
Sorry, this is way too long of a blog entry.