Part 1 of this post has not been published, because it’s close to 3,000 words and I cannot see the end. I got a bit carried away, creating a narrative and the right tone, proofreading and re-writing as I went.
Let me go back to the beginning, before that post went awry.
In May, weeks before my birthday, I started writing an evaluation of my life over the previous year, with the intent of identifying what kind of changes had occurred, and how I’ve grown and changed. Or not.
A year ago
I had a crush on an attractive bartender who lacked any noticeable substance. I had a one night stand* with someone who looked at me with awe. Since then, my need to feel wanted ceased.
I recognized and embraced my own uniqueness that comes in so many forms; my love for animals, riding horses, my little bratty bird; more than a writer, I’m an artist; I surround myself with plants. I’m hella accomplished, hella smart, and always try to be friendly, be kind, and do good.
Around the time of the bartender and one night stand, I put my party ways away for good. I transitioned into the next installment of life. The financially responsible one, that is dedicated, committed, and loyal to friends and projects that I care about.
For years I was extracting poison that lingered, from a source I refused to acknowledge, in a successful attempt to move on.
(That’s right. Successfully.)
I have an entire life to lose. It’s filled with things that matter, like being a real, functioning human. Existing in the world, in the peripheral of strangers’ worlds. To see and be seen. To radiate existence.
A Year of Progress
I became less passive aggressive, but still too possessive. It’s jealousy. I feel threatened by other peoples’ skills and accomplishments, as if they invalidate mine. But the fewer passive aggressive, possessive, insecure people I spend time with, the less inclined I am to feel any of those things.
Many times jealousy has lit a fire under my ass and inspired me to create, but I don’t think art can be created from jealousy. Art can be inspired by happiness, sadness, anger, hopelessness, loneliness… most things. To me, jealousy seems too impure of an emotion to inspire. I don’t want to create based on the desire to best than another creator. That seems very lonely.
Even though I (mostly) don’t let me jealousy get the best of me—I cannot begrudge quality, no matter what my insecurity says—I can question the honesty, vulnerability, sincerity, of other art. Criticism is fair, even if it stems from jealousy. Honest, respectful, sincere feedback.
I do not like ostentatious shows of self-praise or accomplishment—YES, there’s a difference between being proud and being a braggart—but I learned to temper my humility, a trait tied to my insecurity, and express myself in a way that is comfortable and which is intrinsic to my education. Like hey, guess what, I’m smart and I’m educated. I paid for this shit and I won’t pretend to be less than so other people feel comfortable when I speak.
And where am I now?
At an office job in the best office environment I’ll ever find, not that I was searching in the first place. I’m exhausted by Friday; being around people is exhausting, making eye contact, saying hello, making actual conversation. And then there’s the part where I do work on a computer all day, and talk about work on conference calls, and talk to my team about strategies for work.
After the first couple of months, feeling like I was back in high school, I got past the curves of settling into my place. I’m not the same as my high school-self, and I’m not the same as my one year ago-self.
I like work. I like the people in this community. The work challenges my mind.
A woman can be many things at once.
Because still I am my high school-self, and she is my elementary school self. I do the work to be more than the young women before me, and there is more work to do. I think there always will be, but want to do that work, and I try my best.
There you have it. A blog post that, by my standards, is unfinished and unremarkable. I don’t want to post it but I don’t want to keep writing it. The only way I would feel satisfied publishing these words would be if I spent all my time going over every word choice countless times, cutting, pasting, re-arranging, only to decide the original was best. But to even write a complete post would take weeks, if I really committed. But this is a personal blog, not the New York Times. So I’m DONE.
I think that’s progress.