i look around me and i see where friends have paired off. long relationships, some leading to marriage. children entering the fray. successes becoming more frequent, more exciting.
and i feel...less than.
so much less than.
i'm twenty-six trying to find an apartment to live alone in for the first time in my life. less than.
a set of keys. belonging to me. to use when walking through a door, into a space, that will be mine. for a time. no one's mess but my own, no one else's nutella on the shelf tempting me, a culture for living that i dictate. no shuffle-step around other people's values or wants and needs. no toilet seat left up. no wondering which of the many shampoo bottles is mine, or which head of lettuce is mine, or how the electric bill got so high. less unknown. more comfort.
but still. less than.
no committed relationship. no dream job. still the nagging question of what-the-hell-am-i-doing-with-my-life.
last night i snuck away from a table of my dearest friends to use the bathroom. and as i stood there, letting the water wash over my hands, taking long and deep breaths, there came a thought: it will come in an avalanche. it'll come with such force and ferocity that you best get your survival kit ready.
sometimes life is like that. isn't it? even the success has the potential to knock your legs out from under you and send you tumbling down the mountain.
i can't imagine it getting better. i can't imagine feeling a love returned. or working and making money at the very things i've wanted all my life to do. i can't imagine a family in front of me. or an apartment i'll share with people i'd trek to the ends of the earth for. i suppose as you get older life gives you evidence that these things happen and that patience and small, slow steps do pay off. but in the blindness of youth i am thrashing.
i'm still just trying to find my word.
remember that great passage in eat, pray, love?
"Every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there. If you could read people's thoughts as they were passing you on the streets of any given place, you would discover that most of them are thinking the same thought. Whatever the majority thought might be--that is the word of the city. And if your personal word does not match the word of the city, then you don't really belong there."
i had to go back to the book to look up what new york's word was. i knew it began with the letter a, but i kept coming back to greed. so avarice, then? it's actually achievement. which i think i can get behind. but in the heart of the city i think that achievement is laced on every level with a hefty dose of avarice, and that stops me short in my tracks.
there is a moment when you realize everything you ever wanted is nothing you want now. less than.
which is not entirely true, of course, you want much of the same things, but holy hell if it hasn't shifted and changed and totally turned on its head.
i don't like manhattan. i really don't. i don't like that the amount of advertisements i see in any given day is more than some people see in their life. i don't like the hustle and bustle and fast-paced rushing to some place else. always some place else. i don't like the only way to get to the A train from where i now live is to walk past a corner of men who make me feel small by the way their eyes follow and peel. and so okay, it's cultural, maybe. but why does their culture get to supersede mine? and why is new york small enough that you always run into people you don't want to see, but big enough that even when you walk several blocks out of your way you never see the people you most want to.
there are parts of this city that i adore. the west village, bits of the lower east side, tribeca right up against the water there--but these are the parts are less densely populated. where life moves with more ease. they are the corners and cracks where achievement is laced with something altogether else: peace, family, and a thing i've yet to name--something centered and whole. these, of course, are the parts of the city that i can't afford. and so the achievement i need now is laced with the need for money.
money. less than.
it'll come in an avalanche.
it just feels so darn far away. and my faith in that future, in that hefty proclamation wanes.
i want to be more than. or just enough. i want to make those i love proud, i want to live in a place where the word is my own. balance. i'm pretty sure my word is balance. ironic, since i'm a libra.
time to make it snow.