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10.15.2011

claiming the land.



i hated new york this week.

hated the long subway rides. the assault of smells. the brush-bys by men who should not be. that. close.  

hated that i've taken to hiding in the stairwell when i see that one particular neighbor waiting for the elevator. (26 brings maturity, don't let anyone tell you different). 

hated that the guy at the corner store knows me. has for near two years now. hated that he knows when i'm eating well. and when i'm not. hated how his hand always brushes against mine when he hands me the change. no matter how i place my hand--inviting the dropping of the coins, he brushes up against it.  and since i have this theory (or strong-held-personal belief) that all intimacy begins and ends in the hands i find this action invasive, intrusive. 

and yet. he knows me. let's me cut the line when i'm just getting my chocolate covered pretzel. i hand him the dollar and he gives me a wink and a smile. he knows my name. always offers kindness, even when i don't deserve it. 

but this week. oh this week. 

this week i was lonely. 

seems to me as i cycle through emotions some, at certain times, are harder to admit than others. and why is that? sometimes i can't admit sadness. i'll claim everything else, but don't ask me to reveal the underside of that cloak that falls heavy on the shoulders.

this week loneliness sat heavy and oppressive on my chest. this week loneliness curled up under the two highest rib bones, wrapped itself there and clung.

and i considered writing about it. but upon the realization that somebody might actually read these words--oh god, people actually see this?--i evaded, ducked and missed the words all together, which was the first real mistake i made.

it's been harder to write, lately. as though it costs more. takes something from me. a wise friend suggested it's because my life has more value now--or i value it more, so yes, writing from this place is quite literally (metaphysically) more expensive. a side effect of getting better i did not anticipate and certainly do not welcome.

loneliness.

i thought about giving it all up this week. my lease ends in six months. i could sell my furniture. or put it in storage. take three weeks to travel around europe (because it's been suggested to me that three months would not be financially sound) and then move to seattle. or portland. and no i've never been to either of those places but i've  just this sense that i was meant for the pacific northwest. for the gray skies and massive pines and the water. for a pace of life that differs and bends.

i think i would thrive there. i have not reason to think this, no basis for this thought, other than it seems many a good musician is there now and some damn, fine writers as well, so maybe there's something in that water? and maybe that something would do me some good.

if i'm going to be lonely, might as well really be.

might as well go to a place where no one can ask me if i'm acting--if i'll ever, because no one will know me as such, as an actor, as a person who used to act. i hardly know myself as such. no one will know me at all. blank slate. fresh page. page turn.

and just as i'm having all these thoughts, just after having gotten off the train, and having passed quickly through the corner store, i look down at the bottle of sparkling water in one hand and the yam in the other. and the lack of bag, this quick purchase on the way home--it seems so very new york to me. and i love it. and i love new york for it. and just as soon as that thought passes, i pass the local restaurant and wave at my good friend from college who's perched at the end of the bar. and there is a love for that moment.

i'm trying, god help me, i'm trying to feel it all: the dislike and discomfort. the loneliness and wanderlust. the snippets of love i feel for this corner, this home. the in between-ness of this time in my life. because i know it will pass. i know this time, too, is sacred and important. i am changing now, becoming the grown-up version of myself. but oh, how the pushes and pulls make me sick to my stomach.

but again there comes that call--that push: remember this. remember this.

that's the great comfort: all things pass. sadness and loneliness. seasons of our life and slivers of time. and happiness too. and it cycles back only to move on again.

so, okay, before i rid my apartment of all my things, before i take off for europe, i'll enjoy this--this latter  half of october, when, heaven help me, i'll feel loneliness, really feel it. i'll live with it and study it and know it. i'll stake claim to it, plant flags in it, delineate territories and identify tributaries. and make it mine.

if only for a time, if only for a time...


image
via.

61 comments:

wildchild said...

i love seeing you live your life and work through things i've never come in contact with. you're inspiring, meg.

wildchild said...

also, you're a kick ass writer. but i've told you that a million times before.

Allie said...

"This too shall pass..."
I love your beautiful words. :)

Abi said...

i had a lonely week as well. the difference is i'm eighteen and should quit moping around. i think you have a lot coming to you though. it's really exciting. and the northwest is fantastic. seriously. i'm probably going to move there someday too.

Emily said...

i'm terrified of loneliness. it consumes me sometimes and i'm scared it will never leave and it usually doesn't until i let it consume me. until i just entirely surrender to it. in hindsight, i always see myself as strongest during the times i feel the weakest, but that never helps when i'm wrapped up in it. the moving, the wanderlust, the abrasive reminder of intentions abandoned for reasons to intimate and sacred to share with just anyone - yes, that too. i never know if saying that i'm having those experiences too is really a valuable comment to leave, but then i think of comments i receive, some of the ones i connect with the most are "yes, me too." so for what it is worth: yes, me too.

Tara said...

I hate how accustomed I've become to my loneliness...I feel like I've felt it enough to last me a lifetime and that I don't need it anymore. Deep down I know that this is a crucial time for me to learn about myself and learn how to be alone, that it's not such a bad thing, but I'm just tired of it. It's overwhelming, but I think about how overwhelmed I am by being around others and I realize that I still haven't mastered myself, so why do I think I'm ready to invest anything in someone else?

communikate. said...

Come to Portland! Seriously. I'll have a welcome wagon waiting for you! The Pacific NW would suit you well. It's full of coffee shops and beautiful places to scribble little notes on life.

Although New York is so beautiful too. I long for an experience living in that city. Even six months would do. I've been told for (me+one) that would not really be feasible. So you enjoy yours for now, and I'll enjoy mine okay?

Ali said...

I live in Seattle. I have for 3 years. and it has changed me. For the better. It is a bookish city full of art and delicious food. and I promise you would love it. However, I would recommend you move here during the summer. because Seattle summers make the months of cold and rain easier to handle.

Mademoiselle Michael said...

I like your words. They are familiar (this week especially). A couple of weeks ago I was in the doctor's office, crying (due to a painful nerve condition that I might suffer with for oh, you know, just the rest of my life). And this wonderful Hindu doctor said human to human (rather than doctor to patient) in his Indian accent, "Don't cry, life is beautiful." And so, I'd like to give you his words today.

Larissa Wunder said...

yes. thank you!

Madeline said...

For some reason I feel like this week was abundant with loneliness for a lot of people... which is kind of comforting, in a way, that we're all feeling the same things. But also really sad, because we all are too afraid to let people know... I'm lonely today, I'm sad, I'm imperfect. What would life be like if we could all just admit that we're feeling something?

Elizabeth said...

i love your words meg. i always read your blog, and you always seem to be able to put into words things i am feeling or have felt. it makes me feel more sane to know people go through the same things, and it is inspiring that you have the courage to write about it. well done =]

Meghan said...

Meg, I think everyone in their 20s goes through these moments. The transitions into adulthood seem to take forever! Smooth, they are not. Thanks for your powerful words as always. Remember to: "Remember this, remember this." Looking back, we will miss these years and be grateful for what we have become because of them.

belldujour said...

Thank you, for putting to words my exact sentiments this month. Beautiful as always. I love reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Though I've never been to New York, I have spent a lot of time in both Portland and Seattle and I can say without a doubt that for as long as I've been following you (for over a year, and I've read most your archives as well) I could easily see you very happily fitting in to Seattle. Not fitting in IN Seattle, but fitting in TO Seattle. Almost as if you could become one with the place, as if you'd become ome with yourself, and with your happiness, there too. Good luck on whatever journey your heart takes you, Meg. you deserve nothing but the best life has to offer!

Laura Marie said...

Hit me in my gut, this one. Oh, my dear friend, how in sync our lives are and how much I'd (selfishly) LOVE to share a coast with you :)

withoutizy said...

I had a lonely week too! Let's bask in our loneliness. The thing is, I know things that make me feel unlonely, but sometimes I'm too lonely to even bother with them.

So, together I think we're gonna have to bend the universe a little and get things back to normal. to the baseline.

also, who are you kidding yourself? three months in europe is a perfectly acceptable time frame, missy pie! d.o. i.t. and i'm still around when you visit you can crash on my couch. (it's just an excuse to have coffee with you and have deep and meaningfuls) x

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

Such a lovely post, so heartfelt, and so apropos to my own feelings of late.

Do you really think that feeling your life is more valuable makes it harder for you to write? That too would fall right in like a missing piece with what has been going on with me.

It is so odd that I read this post and I feel almost relieved that someone else feels this way, that somewhere there is someone living a parallel experience despite their having a different life, being a different person, living in a different city.

Thank you for sharing this - and I hope this comment doesn't creep you out!

Z said...

I love your writing so so much. I have an extra room in Seattle. You can crash here whenever you want.

Anonymous said...

nothing new to say... i love, love, love your words.

Taylor said...

I love this. Embracing every stage and emotion of life even if it is not the most pleasant one. Taking it for what it is and learning from it. Experiencing to the full all that comes with living including loneliness. Sigh.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

i love your blog header. a lot!

and i read every word of this post and loved it. and maybe even identified with it a little bit, too.

Keiko said...

i hope this helps:
http://arecentmeditation.blogspot.com/2011/10/on-solitude.html

Brittany said...

i sometimes think that loneliness is the worst feeling. but i guess we can all be lonely together. and i can attest to the fact that you would love the northwest. it is so lovely. portland is knee-deep in fall and i am eating it up.

jrm said...

As someone who has moved long distance four times, twice to cities where I knew no one, had wanderlust and had similar feelings you descirbe here -- I say go. Do. Why not. I love Seattle and Portland. With all the info available on the internet you can reasearch different neighborhoods and figure out where you might like to live even if you have never been before and be fine.

Jasmine said...

This was very touching. It's obvious that you're changing now.. just hold on and better will come!

Lel said...

Ah, talk about wanderlust! Unless I'm mistaken its a picture of the Stadtpark subway stop in Vienna. Or it looks spookily like it, at least. Either way it was enouch to make my heart swell and yearn for my other city and bring all sorts of feelings to the surface which I try to ignore on a daily basis. If you ever put your things in storage and head for Europe then take three months, heck take three years! There's nothing like it x

Johanna said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours. Maybe because I recognize it so much, especially this:

if i'm going to be lonely, might as well really be.

It's awful being surrounded by people you know, and being lonely. (I want to be unknown, a stranger to everyone.)

WhiteSeasons said...

You want to hear something silly? I feel exactly the same, only I'm in Europe. It's not my lease, but my working contract which will end in two months, and I'll be free to do whatever I want. For a 23 year old who's always been studying and working and acting responsible in order to pay a rent, this is a big thing. I want to go out for once, see the world. Oh, what am I saying, I've already been to every country in europe or so. But, it's the US that attracts me. Because I know it by heart but not know it at all. Is it like in the books? Or movies? I'd like to think it is. Filled with the anonymity, that seems out of order here but fits your big cities. The tall buildings in which you get lost when looking up, the pretzels and the coffee shops, struggling but then again, giving meaning to each second by making it through.

I was reading you story and thought, maybe we can switch for awhile. sometimes it's good to experience that the grass on the other side (of the ocean) isn't that green after all. or maybe it is. It would be a wonderful experience. If only i could let my responsibility (and my house) go.

Best thing about this world? No matter where you are, there are always nice things to long for. And then again, wherever you are, it is nice there as long as you are open.

Ashley R said...

Thank you for writing this post. Sometimes the familiar is what pushes me to run so far away, and it's lonely and angering and frustrating all at once. Some days are up, others are down, and every day is just one more step to figuring out where it's all meant to go.

I do love your writing, and I have for awhile (even though I don't think I've ever commented before). Whatever you do or however you choose, believe in your talent and know it will work out how it was meant to.

Lorna Diwa said...

I think it's important that you wrote this, if not for yourself then for others too. I really identified with this and love the way your words step around to describe how you're going. Please keep on with this connection of your heart to your brain to your hand (and back around again!)

Bria said...

i moved to the pacific NW and just found more loneliness. i found seattle to be a very lonely place. not everyone sees it that way, but it was a hard place for me to live. i've heard portland was much better :).
i know how you feel though: i hide my sadness too. i'm sorry to hear your feeling so alone. i'm wishing for warm hugs and amazing friends for you <3.

feel better girly.

http://herheartatmidnight.blogspot.com/

Tucker said...

seriously meg.... publish a novel. so i can devour every word, and re-read it several times. and buy all my friends this novel too.

on another note, i have felt extreme loneliness in my life as well. it took up residence in my body... and i was like, get out of here. but that's what i needed. and it made me a stronger, wiser, and eventually happier person for it.


and, great things are in store for you! i just know it. i am an INFJ. we know these things. (:

Shannon said...

Meg, both Seattle and Portland are gorgeous places to live. Take it from someone who has lived there. : )

jill said...

you're brilliant.

Nasha said...

Hi Meg, I've been a long-time reader and a fan from the other side of the world. I think you write beautifully and I may be older (I'm 28 years old and sometimes can't believe it) but you have great wisdom and you are an inspiration. I think loneliness comes and goes. You are very brave and right to face and feel the loneliness. It is the only way to rise above it, by being completely present when loneliness comes around. And I think, loneliness serves its purpose. It is my benchmark. And we all need a one! Otherwise what would we compare our moments of perfect joy to? I hope the rest of October's filled with great moments and memories, and good luck with everything!

Rachel said...

I just love this post so, so much.

sophie said...

in all of the preparations i made to graduate from college, no one ever told me how lonely it would be. i'm having a hard time getting out of my funk, but i'm trying to focus on the present and enjoying the small things, which seems to be working for now.

thanks for reminding me that this loneliness, god willing, will pass.

Steph said...

Please don't ever evade or duck from us. This week was extremely lonely for me, too, even though I was surrounded by a supportive family. Sometimes that just doesn't help. But reading about someone else feeling the same does. Love your blog.

Days Careen said...

'What matters is not whether we preserve our lives at any cost, but how we preserve them. I sometimes think that every new situation, good or bad, can enrich us with new insights. But if we abandon the hard facts that we are forced to face, if we give them no shelter in our heads or hearts, do not allow them to settle and change into impulses through which we can grow and from which we can draw meaning-then we are not a viable generation.' (Etty Hillesum)

The bad things often make us learn more than the good things ever could. We have to experience everything, the whole range from good to bad to find real meaning in life. Being lonely, I think is so hard to deal with, it feels wrong and goes against the nature of human beings but without ever being lonely we'd never appreciate company.

Thank you for another thought provoking post. Read Etty Hillisum, I've got a feeling you'd love her writing.

Taylor said...

By the way, how do you manage to find these pictures? They are always so magical.

m.estelle said...

meg fee. when are you taking off for europe? also, will you still be in your city next fall? jeremy and i are relocating and i think it's about time for a lunch.

xx
e

Yvonne Anderson said...

How can loneliness sound so beautiful and poetic? I have been there , after having moved to so many different places, spaces...it's always there ready to darken my day but I remember that those are just my thoughts and I can choose to listen and attach- or not.

Ramona said...

I can so relate to that!

Caroline said...

Mmm, embracing loneliness. I know the challenge well. I love how well you put my sentiments into words. I also love to read them as it makes me feel that someone else can relate, it gives a sense of kinship.
-Caroline

The Lewicutt's est 2006 said...

I love that you embrace the not only the good moments, but the not so pretty as well... and are brave enough to share them.

It's beautiful.

Alex said...

You are beautiful, brave, and strong. I'm pretty sure you'll thrive anywhere. :)

hellodeer said...

thank you for posting something about the bad sides of NYC too. i love new york, but not forever ever ever. so it was refreshing to read your reminder as too all that could be annoying.

loneliness is temporary. especially for someone as stunning as you are.

Erin said...

you know, meg, i consider you one of the luckiest people i've ever known -- even though I only know you by your blog. you FEEL things in such a way that most people don't. according to the way you write, you make yourself notice each moment, each detail, and the good and bad of it all... the things most of us take for granted. even if these things are only in your writing, thanks. it makes me stop and think.

d&d said...

funny that people keep asking if you'll act again. i mean - you're clearly a writer.

LouBoo said...

Gosh you write well...hope the lonely times have passed; as much as you learn from them, they should be thankfully short. Lou x

Libby said...

26 is one hell of a hard year. I feel it. ( I just turned 26 as well). But its only just started. Think about how much we will know this time next year or how much we will feel.

Anonymous said...

ohhh how i love your blog and your words <3 and the fact that i can always identify with them. i've been following your blog for a few months now,and although i never commented before i felt this entry was the perfect starting point. i too have been feeling this way lately. almost 2 months ago i broke an engagement that ended a terrible brief relationship,i will be turning 25 in april,and hopefully if all goes well i'll be (finally) graduating in may. i feel completely 'lost' atm. i want so much more from life,and i don't feel fully content and fulfilled here in the us. i've been longing for my poland lately and the moment i shared with my family and esp my friends.i briefly talked to a friend about a week ago,and although i've spoken about my "heavy life thoughts" to quite a few people, his words seemed to have a more profound effect on me. "don't be afraid of the next step and doing what you feel is right in your heart. don't plan so much. just do it. because you never know what will or can happen" & i will leave you with this because hopefully it will help :) i'm confident that you too will find your direction. i know i still haven't made a sound decision,and i'm still not sure where life will take me, but i do know that i too need to follow my heart and do what makes me happy,and not worry so much about the "what ifs?" because that is no way to live life fully <3

jessica lynn said...

oh dear. please never stop writing. oh how i love your writing. and with 50+ comments on this post so far you might physically feel alone but you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings of this inbetween-ness in life. everyone has those times. your words the other day inspired me so much - "god grant me the courage to be happy" SUCH powerful words. xo

sugar-n-sunshine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

I went through these exact same emotions only a handful of weeks ago. And it did indeed pass for me, and I realized that I was in no way ready to leave NYC (granted, I have only been here a year - you far surpass me in the length of time you have created a home here). Your heart will tell you what it needs soon enough. You're right to just give it time.

nikki said...

if you do move to seattle, I hope you'll email me

xoxo

jenny said...

oh Meg... you know when you read something and it lights up something in you that is already there... that was buried under layers... that you didn't know was there... but is now vividly alive? that just happened reading this. You reminded me of a college professor of mine who's words and teaching were like standing on Holy Ground. I can remember her reading, "You played a flute for us and we didn't dance, you sang a dirge for us, and we didn't mourn." And there was a thick presence in the room. And I could not put down in words what I "knew" in that moment on a deeper level. And you have done that for me, again.

becky said...

"so, okay, before i rid my apartment of all my things, before i take off for europe, i'll enjoy this--this latter half of october, when, heaven help me, i'll feel loneliness, really feel it. i'll live with it and study it and know it. i'll stake claim to it, plant flags in it, delineate territories and identify tributaries. and make it mine."

This is nourishment, to me, right now. This is beautiful writing. Beautiful words etched into a soul so fine it is incredible.

Woah.

Lily said...

You have got to get your words... all this... published into hardcopy. I am serious!

hayley said...

i long for what you take for granted. i long for familiar faces in local bars and anywhere to call 'local' at all. i'm traveling most the time and while it seems glamorous and exotic, it gets so darn lonely. reading this post made me realize lonely isn't geographic but part of the human condition. thank you