Saturday, September 11, 2010

the paradox of choice

my home is the mid-atlantic. my heart is in new orleans. my family is spread throughout the american southeast. my friends are too.

my friends, i have no idea what i want to happen in the next year.

well, that's not entirely accurate. i know the high-level stuff. i know who i want to be with. i know the kind of job i want to have. i even, after lo these many years, have settled on a hair color that i love. (i know, right? important considerations.) but now that my future is wide open, i have nothing but a slate of permutations of this construction. so many possibilities.

choice is something americans love. it's practically our civic religion (well, besides football). go to a grocery store and notice how you'll have 47 different kinds of strawberry jelly from which to select. but when it comes to this, i am kind of at a loss. i've had a very specific path to follow for my entire adult life. now that i'm the captain of my soul, and it's just me making the choice, and i'm the only person whose interests and cares matter? well, damn. what do i do now?

these things will work themselves out. it's nowhere near a crisis. in fact, it's an embarrassment of riches, brought to me by, not to brag or anything, my intellectual achievements and my ability to rise above emotional strife and take charge of my life. so while this is somewhat intimidating, it's also insanely liberating.

in the immortal words of lady gaga, i'm a free bitch, baby. if this sort of confusion is the downside to that, well, i say bring it on. i'll take that over what i've been stuck in any day of the week.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the hard part...?

i should've been asleep an hour ago; i'm going to be hating life when that cab shows up in less than six hours. but here i sit, feeling drained, yet strangely serene. the hard work of tearing down the last twelve years has begun in earnest. y'know, all the stuff i've spent the life of this blog (and the eighteen months before that, to be honest) preparing myself to do. you'd think i'd be a wreck at this point.

nope. to be frank, there's a feeling much like how an overstuffed sandbag must feel when it finally springs a slow leak. the pressure is gently easing. the negativity is draining out of every pore. honestly, this is easier than i thought it would be. but then, how many times has this pendulum swung?

"oh, this is going to be simple."
"wait, no; it's going to be hell."
"oh, hold on - there's hope yet."
"there will be no hope, just blackness."

it's quite a bit bipolar, isn't it? but that seems to be the nature of the beast. and weirdly, it's ok. actually making the request was nowhere near as hard as i thought it would be. i mean, we'll see what happens with the aftermath. but in this moment, i can rest a little bit easy. and really, though there's a lot of work ahead of me, that's all i need.

blow up the outside world

slash and fucking burn. knock the bastard down. raze it, destroy it, get it out of my sight. i want to kill everything in my past, throw it all away, as far away as i can, and rise like a phoenix out of those ashes into the life i always imagined for myself.

it's not even collateral damage anymore; that's a nice image i came up with to delude myself that what i want is something nicer than complete destruction. i want the nuclear option. i want everything thrown into chaos and decimated. this will be a slaughter, wholesale, bloody, merciless. and the sooner i admit that it's exactly what i want, the sooner i can move forward with what i want.

the path i've taken to this moment was cruel, savage and thoughtless. i have made decisions that served only my selfish nature, and it'll take a lot to undo the mode of thinking that got me here. it's been petulant, bratty even. i'm entitled, i thought. i've earned this. well, maybe i did, but the choice isn't made in a vacuum. there are side effects to everyone involved.

the end result of all of this explosive pain will be a rebirth, to be sure. i will have my new future, and it will be wonderful. but i'd better learn to live with the reality that i'm not quite as nice, as pure, as innocent as i like to think i am. i'm not blameless. i'm shiva the destroyer, at least as far as all this is concerned. i wield the sword that hacks my old life to pieces. i will emerge covered in the blood and gore of the death of that existence. the cleansing will come. but the scars will never, ever fade. the sooner i understand that, the better.

Monday, September 6, 2010

everything you want

there's a lot riding on the next 12 months. i have a career to establish, good grades to earn, a job to get... oh yeah, and a personal life to rebuild. i'm strangely sanguine about the professional/academic stuff; i love my field, and even though this is a ton of work, i relish every second of it. it was the personal life stuff that scared me and caused me angst.

note the past tense. i swear, i don't understand how these things keep happening, but the devil's dance between agony and ecstasy in my personal life seems to be ebbing. i find myself with, on the one hand, a fantastic possibility awaiting me once the nasty business is over. but then, just when the business gets seriously ugly, i manage to get a wedge in sideways and crack open a renewed possibility of cordiality.

i don't hate him. that's not the point. i'm just ready to move on. and i'd like to do that as a) quickly and b) kindly as humanly possible. as of last night, i was damn sure that i'd wrecked any chance of the second part of the equation coming true. but then, i got some kind of crazy inspiration to reframe the questions i'd been trying to ask, and i re-pitched my idea.

lo and behold, i think i've found a new strategy. so we'll see how the emotional negotiation that will be september's hallmark goes. here's hoping that everything i hope has happened actually did, and that things are at long, long last going to wind up the way i wanted. i know the career stuff is in the bag. i have so much waiting for me at the end of the month. if i play my cards right, as someone very close to me said, "you are so close to having everything you ever wanted."

and not a moment too soon.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


in a lot of respects, i am not good at waiting. but one thing i can do well is extend generosity, even when i'm being tested. i do everything i can to make things that are difficult as easy as possible on everyone around me. but i've now entered a situation in which this state of affairs is becoming increasingly impossible. i am no longer able to make everything passably comfortable.

this is really driving the point home that not only is it 100% over, which the reality-based community already knew, but that the aftermath will be infinitely uglier and more harrowing than i had even anticipated. i can't deal with the anger, the hurt, the alternating displays of rage and paranoia that have become the hallmark of every single weekend now. it's simply too much to bear. so i won't do it anymore.

there's an artificial deadline at work here, stringing us all along for another few weeks of grating our souls. but beyond that, well, that's it. there are no more illusions of everything being okay, or at least steady enough to maintain cordial relations. things are broken beyond repair, hanging together on the broken shards of a past that was once so promising. any hope of reconstructing them into something workable is gone.

we're in the fourth quarter, but the game is still going on. but this time, after the final whistle blows, there will be no cordial handshake and back-slap between friendly adversaries. there will be nothing but the stony silence of the final ending. and while i'll carry the trophy off the field, there won't be any joy in this victory. all i'll have is the knowledge that, despite my best efforts to make it okay, i just couldn't heal the break.