Monday, March 8, 2010

One Week

July 17, 2009
I am always so homesick for a place that doesn't exist.

Leaving for New Orleans next week, and found myself smack in the middle of a sleepless night last night.

I couldn't tell you exactly what set the thoughts to percolating and spinning around (Maybe the Oscars? Sorely disappointed in the Martin-Baldwin pairing. Had expected so much more.) but I found myself staring at a re-run of Big Love at three am and thinking about things that happened years ago and wondering what it is that has me so anxious about this trip.

I think, mostly, I've come to view my week in New Orleans as the parenthetical end to a distinct period of my life that's been characterized by a lot of uncertainty, doubt, and anxiety. It caps off my 3-year mark in Baltimore, and I think back to the girl who swept the sand off of the doormats and unpacked boxes of Cuban seasonings and a shared DVD collection after the two-day drive in a U-Haul from Florida and I find great disjoint.

Not that this is a bad thing.

The thing that has set this period of my life apart from any other is my ready acceptance of the mantra "all I know is that I know nothing." Because, mostly, I knew everything before. I knew exactly where I was going, one foot in front of the other, one box checked and on to the next. Diplomas in hand, wedding plans sketched out. I knew what I would be eating for dinner each night, and made plans six months in advance. I followed all of the stepping stones thinking they were laid out for me and not realizing that they were laid out for others, and that I was just following along without ever questioning if there were alternatives.

And then, one by one, I strayed from the stones. First it was the job, then it was the long-term relationship, then it was every idea of who I was and who I wanted to be. I pierced my nose, cultivated a new identity, dated interesting people, and tried on one persona after another. I cobbled together a haphazard existence of vampire hours, exotic foods, fascinating hobbies, and enviable day trips. I don't regret a thing.

But, as I threw all of these ideas against the wall, one by one they began to slide and nothing seems to stick. There is nothing of permanence in the life I built and this was in direct re-action to the seemingly permanent life I'd previously thought I had.

I wouldn't even buy fresh produce because my dinner plans were so likely to change, most of it went bad before I got around to cooking it.

But, as these things tend to do, my priorities have shifted again and I find that my incessant seeking of new and interesting stimuli has me looking further into the future. What sort of identity do I wish to eke out that can encompass all of my interests and yet still have some semblance of stability and permanence? How can I find a way to take everything I like about both worlds and create a new one that will leave me creatively fulfilled, a little less selfish, a little more aware, and with a larger world view?

"I think you need to not look at this trip as the be-all, end-all," Snap cautioned me during one of our phone conversations (our heart-to-hearts now limited to digital voice transmission since she's relocated to San Fran.) "Just go." She's right- I do have a tendency to assign more meaning to things then is necessary, but I can't help but intuitively feel that everything has been culminating for some time and that, somehow, this trip is going to be a catalyst of some kind for figuring some shit out. I don't know how I could spend a week helping other people, listening, being present, and leaving all of my petty shit behind me and not come out of it with some different ideas or opinions.

That's not to say this will happen overnight. I need time to process, of course.

I stopped blogging awhile ago because, contrary to the idea that I no longer had anything to say, I now have a lot to say, but I also have a great deal of respect and sensitivity for my thoughts and feelings and do not wish to share them so readily. To embark on this trip, and to commit to sharing it with you via this blog again, is an act of courage that is also daunting for me. I'm opening myself up again, however briefly, and so felt the need to share these thoughts publicly to set the stage for the next couple of weeks.

I'm not saying that anything brilliant will emerge. It could be a very long and boring account of what I ate on the job site or the weather or a bunch of dry statistical facts. Who knows. But I'll be here, and I hope you will too.

Every time I think that I am stagnating again, I think back to the last few years of my life and see the violent twists and turns, upheavals and revolutions, radical changes of thought and ways of being and doing, and I realize that I'm still on the journey. Still on the road, on board the train, in the car, headed somewhere. I know not yet where, but somewhere other than here.


Michaeil said...

Le gach dea ghui New Orleans!

The New Glitterati said...

Thanks, Michaeil!

When I get back- pints and discussion. I miss our talks.