I feel grumpy today, and have felt miserable most of the week. I keep thinking about how I don’t want to be in Chicago and how I don’t want to be living with Cynthia and Silvia. I have been agonizing over the disparity between the life I’m living now and the kind of life that will make me happy. I feel estranged from people I used to be close to. I’m going to focus on positive things though to change my mindset.
I walked to the bank this morning to deposit a check. The sun was so bright it was blinding and the air was warm enough to feel like early spring. At the bank the young teller’s friendliness made me feel lighter. She complimented my drivers license photo and asked me about my life while she processed my transactions. She waived my starter check fee and told me not to work too hard. I now have 1500 dollars in savings. Tonight at work I’m going to buy a journal and a blue mug I’ve had my eye on. I’m taking myself out to breakfast tomorrow morning at the corner breakfast restaurant and I’m going to order tea instead of coffee.
My ears don’t like gauges. New gauges came in mail and were too big. Struggled to put them in anyway and felt a little bit queasy afterward. Woke in the middle of the night with throbbing lobes and feeling of claustrophobia. Whimpered briefly then popped them out like loose teeth. Now letting them heal and going back to normal earrings.
Dreamed I was sitting on a lawn at a night concert with Elizabeth Gilbert and Sandra Bullock. Turned to Sandra and told her she should make a movie about Amazon women starring both of them. She was very enthusiastic about the idea.
Stayed in a hotel near O’Hare with Jamie. It was a wonderful escape and great stress reliever. We ordered pizza, sat in the hot tub, and had beers at the bar downstairs. Jamie told me about a man friend of hers who she hangs out with regularly. They hike together. They make meals. She took him to get his first library card. She rolls her eyes at his guy humor. Made me want to have someone like that here. Reminded me that that kind of connection is what’s missing in my life. That’s why I felt desolate on the train a couple weeks ago. Was very excited at the airport when I saw planes and passengers. Imagined feelings of freedom and ecstasy I will experience when I take one of my dream trips this summer, when I stand on the grassy tops of the Alps or look out at Scotland’s green hills. Wish I could go somewhere before I turn 30 in May. Travel is one thing I need to do before 30 so that I don’t have a nervous breakdown. Need to make it work somehow. Don’t think I want to go alone though.
Said goodbye to Jamie at the airport. She’s flying to India for a three week trip. Next to us in the baggage check line were two Indian women. I thought they were Italian until I saw that one of them had a bindi on her forehead. Jamie said they were from Northern India. She knew this because they were wearing pants.
Day off. Woke up naturally at 8:30. Heated water for tea. Sat at desk and made list of areas of life I need to work on. Came up with writing, travel, friends, family, books, work, social confidence. Felt English with the tea and small breakfast I had of almonds, banana, and sourdough toast with strawberry jelly. Toast with jelly reminded me of Grandma Knoll. Decided to call her later today.
Helped first grade teachers set up portable projector. Noticed younger one had chipped nail polish like mine and felt better about my life. Librarian’s plan of rearranging bookshelves failed when no carpet under bookshelves was discovered. Looked like she was going to cry and I thought of how attractive women are when they care about things that matter. Read article about how pursuing happiness makes us unhappy. Went to Panera Bread for dinner. Saw Facebook photo of Wrigleyville roommate at Grand Canyon with boyfriend. Admired her easy attitude toward life and told myself to approach life that way. Finished my ham sandwich.
Worked at cafe from five to ten. Canceled plans to go to awful lesbian club event with Cynthia and Silvia. Brushed off Cynthia’s unsympathetic response. Came home and soaked in hot bath. Listened to entire Mary Oliver interview. Played with cat. Flicked piece of dead skin off ear. Was asleep before one.
12:54 P.M. Sitting at my desk looking out the window. School was closed today because of the wind chill. Much to my delight, Cynthia and Silvia brought home a kitten last night, a tiny black furball who wobbles when he walks. He slept in my bed last night and I lay on my side and watched his sweet face as he fell asleep. Yesterday was a quiet day at work. The librarian read a book about Jane Goodall to her third grade class and I remembered how when I was a kid I wanted to be a person who teaches sign language to chimpanzees. When there was nothing to do I read an essay by Zadie Smith, and copied and pasted this part:
“I was preparing to leave when I spotted an album with a wonderful title: ‘More Songs About Buildings and Food.’ You will probably already know who it was by – I didn’t. Talking Heads. As I stopped to admire it, I was gripped by melancholy, similar perhaps to the feeling a certain kind of man gets while sitting with his wife on a train platform as a beautiful girl – different in all aspects to his wife – walks by. There goes my other life. Is it too late to get into Talking Heads? Do I have the time? What kind of person would I be if I knew this album at all, or well? If I’d been shaped not by Al Green and Stevie Wonder but by David Byrne and Kraftwerk?”
When I read the gripped by melancholy part I thought of the melancholy I’ve felt watching improv shows, and when people in their early twenties talk about auditions. There goes my other life. I worked at the cafe from four to eight last night. Even though I feel like I’m off track and want to be somewhere else, I like working there. It’s fun to bake and make lattes. The people are nice too. Before I left last night one of the managers told me I’m doing a really good job and that they are glad to have me there.
Day off school for Presidents’ Day. Logged in to Facebook this morning and had a message from my Grandma Abbott. She told me she has been praying a long time for me to fall in love with a good Christian man, get married and have a family. Wasn’t sure how to respond so I sent her a thumbs up emoticon. Maybe I should have told her to think about why it’s been a long time. Walked to the bank at noon to start a savings account. Cleaned the bathroom. Worked at the cafe from four to eight. A favorite second grader came in. After she recognized me from school she whispered to her mom. Her mom was kind and introduced herself. Got home to a quiet apartment. Assumed roommates were asleep so dead-bolted the door for the night, as that’s the usual routine. Made delicious Mediterranean Chick Pea salad and didn’t hear right away when Silvia and Cynthia got home and struggled with the door. Ran over to unlock it. Opened it to find Silvia with a bag of groceries, glaring at me like Medusa.
Day off. Stayed in room for most of the day, just being. Read several chapters of The Great Trouble, a book the kids at school read. Did two loads of laundry. Cleaned my room. Watched Lindsey Stirling videos for style inspiration. Made breakfast for dinner. Shopped online for hours. Bought three pair of gauges but couldn’t decide on dress shoes or hiking boots.
Worked at the cafe. Bought a pair of black leather converses. Went to IO to see a show called Single On Valentines Day. On the train ride there fought feelings of desolation. Show was sold out so I sat at the bar downstairs and had a couple of drinks. A group of improvisers pitied me and got me a free ticket to a small midnight show. Instead of going I made out with an orange-haired guy who looked like a clean-cut Bill Weasley.
School was closed. Stayed home all morning drinking tea and obsessing about money. Went to the grocery store to buy items to make delicious Mediterranean Chick Pea salad. Made delicious Mediterranean Chick Pea salad. Closed for the first time at the cafe. Leafed through Mary Oliver books while waiting to clock in.
Went to bed shortly after getting home from school. Slept for thirteen hours.
Worked at the cafe with the petite friendly gay guy. Found out he used to be a female. Told him I never would have guessed, but afterward stole glances at his body and noticed a curvy ass.
Tonight Silvia told me I’m awkward and hard to read, and it got me thinking about how much I’ve missed out on in my life by holding back my thoughts and emotions and not taking risks. She said she pictures me being rigid and not knowing what to do if a girl makes a move on me, and that’s how I am. She said I need to be more confident so that someday I’m not forty and single, looking back on my life wondering what the hell I was thinking. The trouble is that I already am doing that. How do I live with the tragic mistake I made in my twenties of being afraid to go after what I want? Why did I not hang out with some of the people I wanted to hang out with? Why did I not pursue theater or writing? I’ve been afraid of rejection, but the pain of rejection is nothing compared to the pain of knowing I can’t get my youth back. There’s so much I haven’t experienced. I’ve never even kissed a woman I’m in love with. For years I’ve been stuck inside myself, not being true to who I am. What has my life meant? Is it nothing more than a cautionary tale?