Tag Archives: life essay

Tight-Rope Walking Across Manhatten

3 Oct

Change.

I used to be so in love with it. I still am, but it’s more of a complex, love-hate relationship. Now, it brings worry that seems less easy to brush off, it clings to me causing occasional sleeplessness and intense feelings of anxiety.

Change comes dressed in a variety of ways lately, in the big things like my name having several different letters and in reorienting my life with another person. It shows itself in packed-up boxes and the abandonment of paintings that have been hanging on my walls for years. It’s apparent in the heat in the air beginning to lift, and the joy of waking next to my husband. Chang is in getting used to that word, and other new words.

Last week I stood in the mud by the side of the highway next to my broken-down car, two days after my husband’s car kicked the bucket, the day before we had to move out of our apartment, four days before I would seriously start looking for a new job. (I know. Seriously. Right?)

Changes. Once you finally settle into one thing, it’s time to let go of it, time to embrace another one that is about to run full force into your life.

And you’ve got to make room for it.

Room in your brain and your heart.

Room where the old has lived so long, you’ve allowed the dust to form, grey and thick.

You’ve got to sweep, let some fresh air in. It gets too musty when things remain the same.

I read this quote by Jeanette Winterson the other day, and it made me feel normal again, glad I wasn’t the only one who at times feels too weary to clean my teeth.

There’s a strange thing that happens when you go from your early to your late twenties. Maybe it’s normal, it’s only weird because I am currently in the midst of it.

Growing up.

I guess I felt so strongly I would always be this crazy-adventurous, antsy, flexible person who was so afraid of “settling.”

Now I find myself balking at change, making decisions based on how comfortable I will feel, and stressing at the first sign of things going wrong.

“I used to secretly love it when the bus I lived on broke down,”

I confessed to my husband as we waited for rescue on the side of the highway next to my dead car.

“Yes, but that was different. You didn’t own the bus. It wasn’t your responsibility.

Responsibility. Adulthood. Bills. Financial decisions.

It comes all upon you at once.

Like joy and pain and life happening.

And you know what? Even when things seem overwhelming and insane, I’d rather have everything at once.

And I’d rather be where I am in life right now, because I am not living life alone.

I’d rather have change and be uncomfortable than stand still.

And I am not afraid of “settling” anymore.

What I am afraid of, is not having eyes to see that all of this is an adventure.

Even if it’s not the kind that will become a best-selling-book-turned-blockbuster…. yet.

I am afraid I won’t see the beauty in change. It’s hard in Texas where the autumn doesn’t announce itself in a burst of color like New England, and you have to relay on coffee shops with their seasonal flavors and piles of pumpkins in store fronts, far away from the farm they came from.

My biggest fear though, is that I’ll stop looking for those things, I’ll stop finding things to be in awe about. I’ll take life for granted and have nothing to write.

But I am proving myself wrong right now, because the for the first time in a while I am able to put words to just what is going on around me and inside me.

Change is happening, and will continue to happen, and it is beautiful.

And one day, in the midst of all these crazy life changes,  maybe I will feel as if I could tight-rope walk across Manhattan.

 

A Short History of Roads

6 Mar

Sometimes I have flashbacks of certain roads.

Maybe because I have spent so much time with them.

Living on them. Loving them. Hating them.

Wondering where certain ones will lead.

1.

Walking on a rocky dirt road with thick jungle to my right and a trash covered beach to my left.  My sense of adventure is heightened after hearing tales from an expatriate in a hostel of a black panther that stalks his home.

I am 23, and once again letting go at the life I thought I had. My hair is carelessly short, and I don’t do anything to tame it. I have no money in my bank account or future plans, other than a lofty desire to change the world through what I write.

I sit on the beach and write poetry. The words are naked and beyond me. The ocean waves break into my mind, affecting the cadence.

I have never felt so free.

2.

The road is ambling,  full of potholes and bumps from the harsh New England winters. The dirty river, which imagine to be chocolate, is eating away at the bank, causing the road to grow narrow as I grow taller.

I am eight, and my imagination takes me everywhere. I am an explorer, a sailor, an astronaut. I am abandoned on a deserted island with nothing but tree bark to survive on.

I am strong. I am well-loved. I am going to change the world.

3.

A decade later, I walk down a path in East Texas, intoxicated by fragrant white flowers that grow wild on bushes, their scent pushing its way into my broken heart, my guilty mind. I mutter prayers to myself, everything and anything, so desperately seeking God to make me better. I make my way into the pine woods, oblivious to the lengthening shadows and the dozens of things to accomplish the next day.

I am hungry, deep in the pit of my stomach. I am desperate to be more.

They say life is a journey, and I understand why.

I see my life so far in moments.

In places.

In walks down roads.

It is not a straight path or a  neat track where you can time and measure and compare your position to others before you cross a finish line.

Instead, it is a crooked path down a series of roads that seem sporadic and misguided, and if analyzed too deeply I may come believe I am lost.

But when I stop my analysis and close my eyes I once again become the first eight-year-old astronaut,

And as I blast off above the atmosphere, I take my gaze off the stars ahead and look down and see,

All roads interconnecting and intertwining and leading me to one place:

Here and now.

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