I haven’t posted on my blog in a while because I haven’t had the clarity of mind to sit down and write anything. My thoughts these days have taken on the disjointed quality of my outfits. Getting dressed in the morning or before I went out used to be a ritual of circumventing perfection. Now I’m so confused by the West Coast weather that I can’t quite bring myself to care if the outfits I’m wearing actually “work.” I have nightmarish flash-forwards of landing on a future episode of “What Not to Wear,” and all my friends are pinpointing this point in my life as the time I got so overwhelmed that I stopped caring about my appearance and simply forgot to resume caring.
It’s not just the weather that has me feeling discombobulated; it’s the drastic transition I’m in the midst of. I just moved to the Bay Area, finally ready to start my life over again. Although I’ve done a lot of writing over the past two years, I haven’t done much of anything else. I wasn’t sure which way my life should go. So I decided to take a faithful leap, and this is where I landed.
Since landing, I’ve been thinking about times in my life when I’ve made a major change like this and trying to remember if it was quite so hard as it is now. I remember when I moved to New York, fresh off the Amtrak train, getting hastily handed a set of keys by the roommate whose lease I was taking over as he rushed out the door, and dropping my suitcase in an empty bedroom as I waited for my mattress to arrive. But I don’t remember much else about what it was like when I first moved to New York, and my first month there was for the most part a blur.
“When you move to New York, all you need is a fork and a mattress,” my longtime New Yorker friend Chelsea told me. I arrived in Oakland much the same way I arrived in New York, with a couple of suitcase and a vague sense of optimism.
I don’t remember being this afraid, though, when I got to New York. My first couple of weeks here were wrought with fear. Since then, the fear and anxiety have mostly been relegated to the mornings, when I wake up with the whole day ahead of me to take on, one hurdle at a time. Or maybe all the hurdles at once.
What kind of mettle did I have as an eighteen year old when I headed off to college, or a twenty-two year old touching down in New York? I certainly had a lot less life experience, so why am I scared shitless now and have no memories of such nonstop panic in my earlier iterations?
What I have come to realize is that one of the great things about growing older is you are more invested in the things that matter. After my father passed away, the importance of family, friends, and having enough space in my head to write down my thoughts took on paramount importance. When I told people back East that I was moving out here, I was met with several rounds of “What a great adventure!” But I don’t want an adventure. I want a sense of stability and security and to be surrounded by people who love me.
So, in short, my paralyzing fear and constant striving for a new and full life has left me feeling a little inept at writing well and with focus. I want to have the clarity of mind I had before that enabled me to write something coherent in one full swoop. But everything’s changing, and I have to let it. My focus may go elsewhere for now, but I have to trust that this will all inform my writing, some day, hopefully not long from now.