Something suddenly makes sense that did not makes sense before. Something so obvious that it is almost laughable and certainly denotes a sense of awareness that i did not have even twenty four hours ago. It is something that I tell the children I nanny for, that I remind my friends of when they are hurt by the actions of another, and something that I have always believed myself to understand…until now…because only now do I understand it;
I am responsible for myself. (keyword being ‘I’)
I am. All the time, no matter what.
Not my job, not my parents or my friends, not the arbitrary rules that I put into place in an attempt to give myself boundaries because I do not trust that I can make them for myself.
Just me. Only me. All by myself, all alone, with or without the food on my plate, the clothes on my back or the money in my bank account. I am still, always, and 100% responsible for myself.
(Barring Alzheimer's or some other vegetative state,
for which it will previously have been
MY responsibility to sign the papers
telling whoever is in charge to pull the plug.)
I took myself on an adventure to Brooklyn yesterday -in part because I wanted to check it off my list before I move, and in part to make sure that I don't actually want to live there- where I was reminded that I have no desire to attempt to fit in to that culture, and that while you can certainly see more skyline and it feels much less overbearing than Manhattan…there is still no space.
As I walked the streets ( a LOT of them), I watched in my mind, as many of my old fantasies about life as an artist danced through me. All the fantasies I held about living as some sort of boho-sheik writer/actor person who lives in a terribly adorable little apartment above some kind of noodle shop, and who trots down to her friendly neighborhood coffee house every morning to work on her memoirs…
That same girl who dines nightly at any one of the incredible restaurants in her neighborhood, where she gets fabulously drunk on cheap champagne and heads to an underground hookah lounge/jazz club where she will ‘jive out’ until 3am, and only pour herself into bed -after having a smoke on her fire escape- after she watches the sun come up.
As I walked along, I let those old stories and images wash over me. As I stepped into various vintage clothing shops, I imagined myself trying things on, magically knowing what goes with what, and walking the streets of Brooklyn, confident in my ability to dress myself in a way that was ‘representative of my spirit’…or something like that. I kept walking and letting the images of the life I always thought I would live, wash over me and through me. And then, as I acknowledged the truth that I had no desire to try and fit in there, I got on the train back to Manhattan, and I let all those images and stories and ideas wash away, along with the notion that I was ever suppose to be anything other than what I have always only ever been;
I have only ever been myself.
I may have told myself a LOT of stories about who I wanted to become and what she would be like, but none of it HAS ever, or, dare I say COULD ever, change the blueprints on my soul. And pardon the flowery analogy, but that’s really what they are: Blueprints. On the Soul. Or perhaps OF the soul. Blueprints OF the soul? Whatever. They both elude to the same thing;
we are who we are, and we are not who we are not, and odds are good that if we can embrace the former, then we will spend less and less time concerned about the latter.
It’s that old adage; “the grass is always greener…” and sometimes, that may be true.
But the reality is; if what we really want is greener grass, than perhaps we should stop wasting all our time looking across the street at the neighbors grass, and get to watering our OWN.
And I am the only one/thing/human/mind/heart/soul/watering can responsible for my grass; the bills I need to pay, the chores I need to do, the feeding, bathing and general ‘looking after’ of myself…it’s all me. And it always has been.
But up until very recently, it always ‘has been’…because I have been responsible to someone or something else.
I have been putting other yards before my own.
A job that has needed me to look a certain way. A job that takes up a certain amount of my time during the day, therefore mandating how I spent my remaining hours if I wanted to get anything else done. Any number of particular goals that have forced me to follow a strict code of self-imposed rules about how or what I eat or spend my money on or whether or not I have time for relationships.
Relationships! And the desire to present myself a certain way within those relationships.
The list goes on and on, and I know I am not alone. In fact, when I look around, this seems to be pretty standard in our society today. And while it is not crazy to want to move towards goals, or to want to look and feel a certain way, what is crazy -to me- is how much of my life I have spent in pursuance of those ‘goals’ based on the achievement of things that some part of me knew that I never really wanted in the first place.
That I don’t actually want to be a Brooklyn hipster.
That what I actually want is to move to Oregon and live with one of my best friends and have a whole new adventure.
That what I actually want, is not something I can see…yet…but is certainly something that I can feel.
I am moving to Oregon.
And I am making the choice to move to Oregon for NO other reason than because I WANT TO, and in doing so, I am responsible for whatever comes next.
I am moving to Oregon. I am moving so much so that as I was wandering the streets of Brooklyn yesterday, checking things off of my ‘things to do before I go’ list, over in Oregon, my soon-to-be-roommate was busy re-arranging her entire house so that it is in order for my arrival in a few short weeks. This included rigging a makeshift closet system in her bedroom so that I would have a room of my own (the 2nd bedroom which she had previously been using as a closet). She also spent part of her day setting up my new bed, which she purchased on my behalf, and which was delivered via the truck of one of HER Oregonian friends -a woman I have yet to meet- so that it would be all set up for me by the time I get there, and so that I can “walk in, put my bags down, and feel like I am finally home”.
That is a direct quote from my soon-to-be-roommate.
I want to go live with my friend. My choice, my responsibility.
I have no idea where I am going to work. My choice, my responsibility.
In exchange for leaving NY to move to a much smaller My choice, my responsibility.
town in Oregon, I may no longer be able to order food
for delivery at 4am.
(That one is actually really up to the restaurants of Oregon
However, as it is my choice to live there, it will be my responsibility to suffer the consequences.)
As I release my former life and all of the ideas I had about who I was or who I was suppose to be, I find myself staring at a blank slate.
This feels a bit intimidating.
And then I remind myself that it is only blank because I have yet to fill it, not because I don’t know who I am without the old one.
I have been who I am, and I will continue to be who I am.
I will be setting the standards from now on; watering my own grass.
And if I want to know how the neighbors make theirs so green, I will just walk across the street, and ask.
I am the big rock in my bucket. I go in first, and the rest of the little rocks fill in around me.
We are all our own big rocks. We have to be.
And if you don't like your bucket or the rocks that surround you, it is up to you to go get a new one, but you must always ‘put your oxygen mask on first’…
You must always be the big rock.
This morning, as I write this, I feel nerves and fear. The nerves that tingle when their surroundings feel new, and the fear that tells me that I am headed in the right direction.
Perhaps excitement is a better word. Or exhilaration. Either way, it’s there.
And it’s there because I went to bed last night with the understanding that I had no reason to wake up today, except for me.
I have no reason to take care of myself, except for me.
I have no one to impress or make happy or to do nice things for…except for me.
In surrendering everything that has ever taken me away from myself, I am responsible to no one…except for me.
I am living for me.
I must live for me, and you must live for you.
We all must water our own grass. :-)
And while it is wonderful to acknowledge the color and the height and the health of the grass of our neighbors, we must, all the while, return to and tend to our own yards. To our own houses. To our own lives.
And I don’t know about you, but I want some green mother fu*king grass.
Hell, maybe even purple.
“Try never to impress others, but rather, to impress yourself, and be proud of that.”
-Numi tea bag.
Today feels like a new beginning. A new awareness of things that have always been there, but are finally able to sink well beneath the surface, and settle in for life.
I KNOW this is due to my work with Rachael. It has given me the space and the patience to receive the information when it was ready to come, and to process it and work it into my bones by whatever means necessary.
I am so freakin excited to move to Oregon.
I am so freakin excited to see what happens next.
I am so freakin excited to have a yard and grass to water…
I am so freakin excited to
just. be. me.