I have never known if the feelings that I have are common for a writer. Sometimes I have these terrible moments when I throw my hands up in the air and think It’s done! I’m over! I’m bitter and it will never come out of me that way again! Those days used to scare me. Last night, I felt it and I threw those arms up like a basketball fan does and just thought F— this. I’ll never finish the book, my projects, or my blog. It’s over! It’s gone. As I went to bed, I tried to listen to my own advice and get on my knees.
I got restless and so I opened up a notebook. I scribbled, then turned the page. I didn’t like my pen. I scribbled again, turned that page. My handwriting was shit. Scribbled; turned page. Maybe a pencil is better? Then, as usual, my hand surprised me. It wrote out the following:
things that never occurred to me
I frantically began to write out a list of the things that came to mind. A part of me wanted to put it all down, call it a night, and sleep— but it was impossible. It was raining and I couldn’t fight the rain. As I began to write things out, I began to weep. Sorry for using that word, but “cry” sounded a little too intense. They were alligator tears, if you know what those are. They are simple, gentle, and quiet; like a faint guitar playing somewhere in the park. When I was done, I looked at the list. I had been trying so hard to pretend that some of these things hadn’t occurred, but they had and it was time to face them. Once you stain a page, it’s hard to walk away from the truth. It’s there; your conscience has spoken. While some of the things on my list made it difficult to breathe, others made it impossible not to smile.
Then I had a flashback… Please insert Zach-like dream effect for the intro to this story:
I remember the first night in my NYC apartment. I remember throwing away all of my old clothes before moving in and only having about 20 hangers up with things I liked. I remember having a bare white room at Stuyvesant Town Apartments and just looking around at what I had managed to figure out. I sat down slowly after I locked the door, took a deep breath, and cried like a child that had just done a boo-boo in her pants. It was over: the job search, the struggle with my parents to stay in New York, the “can I do it?” questioning, the discomfort of not having my own place, and quietly stomaching other people’s antics because I felt more appreciation for their support than anything else. I remember that I started breathing frantically as the reality of what I had experienced sank into my skin. God, that was so hard. How the hell did I do that?
To this day, I don’t know how I did it, but I remember that I did. The memory of hard times has resurfaced. Sometimes we forget that other bridges have been crossed.
Some things are too difficult to stomach while you are in them. I think it’s a little like the moment you close your eyes before jumping off a cliff. You look out into the ocean because you know where you want to be. You know it’s going to be scary, but you close your eyes and go with it. You trust your feet will push you as far out into the air as you need to go and you trust that the universe has placed enough water below you to wrap itself around your fall.
The moment you get down there, look up. Yes, you did that.
I suspect that experiencing this kind of a moment/sensation demanded that our vocabulary have a word to represent it; [enters the word awe to the stage].
Make a list of the things that you have experienced that had never occurred to you. Some will make you angry, others things may bring shame, and some will make your heart melt. This exercise is an eye-opener to how random life can be. It seems to me that the universe refuses to stop exceeding our expectations. In turn, I guess we need to understand that we won’t be able to anticipate how this is done.
In the last year, I have lived an unexpected life, which I have narrowed down to mean two things: I must aim higher and I must loosen my grip, because the universe is much better at figuring things out than I have ever been.
So, kids, enjoy the fall. You’ll wish you had once it’s over. The view at the bottom will be worth it.
In the end, I think the world knows a little more about us than we do, forcing us to the edges of some cliffs that we had written off for someone else. It seems that just when some of us are about to quit, we realize we’re screwed because someone knew we could do it. How? I don’t know. I don’t know who squealed, but it appears… they were right.