Today, the naked and unapologetic truth about my current state is primary. I am blue.
I often feel like if I ever need to explain life to someone, perhaps if I’m ever to encounter a conversational dead person with amnesia, I will tell them that life is like constantly sprinting head first at a brick wall. If this is true, I crashed heartily into that brick wall sometime around the middle of December, but rather than suffer all at once the raw consequences of the impact, I opted to ration the pain out over a longer time span, thereby prolonging the beginning of the next doomed race. Consequently, the past few weeks have passed by in slow motion as I, slumped like a sitting marionette, slide greasily down the wall, its ridges jostling my heavy body around as I accept my fate with shut-eyed discombobulation.
To grasp the gravity of this situation, reread the above paragraph and consider: that is possibly the most successful product reaped from my own hands in the course of the last three weeks. Unconvinced? Pick your own contender from the list of its contemporaries: a) some particularly charming thank you notes b) one nearly finished purple scarf c) two posts on this blog d) a half-hearted attempt to construct a paper pomegranate or e) an Italian Sausage Risotto, which actually was successful, but as I have recently lamented, regrettably temporary. I’ll say it again, blue.
My mother, bless her heart, has tried doggedly to convince me that blueness is okay once in awhile, and that the timing of this bout has nothing to do with me but rather with my natural human tendency to hibernate during the winter. This worked a little, but as her attempts continued and expanded to include a particularly inspirational reading from the pages of Amy Poehler’s new book in which Amy accounts her unplanned college transformations and advises that to find happiness, it isn’t as important that twenty-somethings decide exactly what they WANT to do as much as what they DON’T WANT to do, I lost it.
Here I was in the midst of a charming scene, my mother, enraptured with the Christmas present I bought her, gives it back as advice to me as we both lie in a warm bed and snow falls softly against the window panes. But in trying to apply this advice of opposites to myself after consecutive weeks in which I did not want to do anything, I led myself to the conclusion that I want to do nothing with my life. Hoping to maintain the beauty of the moment for her, I did not tell my mother that I was suddenly very aware of the bricks slipping down my back as I continued my descent on the brick wall of life. I buried my head into my pillow and thought to myself…
What if I had been enrolled in dance classes as I child and it was I and not Karlie Kloss who cultivated the perfect model body and took the fashion world by storm? What if I had been born a boy and I felt more compelled to prove my metal in math rather than reading and I had ended up majoring in Engineering like the career tests say I should’ve? What if I hadn’t been stressed out to a point of vulnerability that made me susceptible to be misguided by my privileged surroundings when I was searching for college and I had truly found the college of my dreams? What if I spent all of my free time writing instead of watching movies or seeing friends so that I could focus on regularly churning out manuscripts rather than irregular blog posts? I should have been an actress. In my true dream life, I am Rosalind Russell, Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Judy Garland, Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams, Nicole Kidman.
But in my real life, I’m not, and I won’t be. I’m not chasing the dream.
Still… I get a funny sense that I’m nearly finished sliding down the wall. There’s something flickering like it’s just been lit. No, it’s my eyes. They’re open. I’m sure of it. I’m moving quite quickly. I can see the floor.
As I sit here two hours later and transcribe this all for digital eternity, I realize that I have already deviated so seriously from my most glorious path, that any choice I make in the future is pure experiment. Amy Poehler is right, and I think, in a way, a quite self-aware autobiographist by telling people to focus on figuring out what they don’t want. To live by crossing things off the list is is to rely on chance, and chances are mighty hard to string into any sort of cohesive narrative format that a biography demands. I think when she sat down to write she must have been shocked by how simple her story seemed when she began to lay it all out. The transitions must have seemed too natural and the opportunities too available. I’m putting words into her mouth here, but maybe she felt kind of gipped. No matter how excited you are to have control of telling your own story, it seems fake.
I think part of being blue comes from this realization that in my humdrum middle class life, I am so utterly untargeted and terrified of everything unpredictable that I have earned no right to make predictions about my perfect future. I have no perfect future. My dream life as an actress is entirely separate from my real one. I’m not sure whether I will make up for that with poetry or research or corporate slavery or journalism, but it will always be less than that dream.
But my fingers woke up when I thought about this post. If the yoga teachers I’ve been visiting like hermits on tops of mountains really mean what they say about energy, this is a good sign. My body is waking up.
I think that the floor is very close.