Thursday, September 1, 2011

The 1st of This Month

I feel like an idiot. I spent a long time figuring out exactly how I wanted the layout of this blog to look: what font best represented me as a person, and what color the text should be to trick the reader into thinking this would be a worthwhile read, and where exactly My Followers should be on the page so they wouldn't feel put out... and even though I kept reminding myself how ridiculous this all was (would David Sedaris care about any of this? Has Eve Ensler ever read or written a "blog"? Would I have enjoyed On The Road more if Jack Kerouac had presented his writing in an aesthetically pleasing, technologically accessible way? No, in fact, I probably wouldn't have given it the time of day) it still felt important to take care of this first, before anything else. I think the actual problem is that I've always been afraid of my writer's self, and I'm constantly trying to bring her out while simultaneously beating her down for being inept, conventional, and generally just too normal to exist. And so if I could spend a lot of time working on the look of my blog then I could a) stall on actually beginning this writing adventure and b) at least be confident in my design choices if I have to be ashamed of my ability to write. I'm already re-reading this and thinking "OH MY GOD SHUT UP". Whatever, I'm sure the only people reading this love me, or at least care about what I'm doing, and are at this point just annoyed that I haven't started talking about anything that's actually going on in my life.

Personally, I find memoirs obnoxious. Admittedly, I have only read a handful, but that's because the voice of the author writing a memoir just sounds self-indulgent to me. The only exception to this was Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso, and I didn't even really take much from that book. The idea of writing about my thoughts, feelings, experiences, and opinions in a completely direct format seems... annoying?... to me. I prefer to work hard to understand the thoughts of authors through abstract interpretation of fictional characters and events. Especially if the characters and events have some kind of supernatural, magical, or fantastical element to them, which is why I've recently fallen in love with Toni Morrison, the One God of magical historical realism.

But I'm about to embark on an interesting journey, and I think it's worth recording. I'm terrible with journals and usually just end up using them to draw or jot down playwriting or story ideas. This is also a convenient way to keep my loved ones updated, so you're welcome. And thank you for being a Loved One of mine, I love you too. So what the heck, let's just do this, shall we?

It's September 1st, but I'm not moving back into my lovely Allston apartment to prepare for another academic year at Emerson College. Instead I'm sitting in a room now called The Den, a room that used to be my bedroom, my living space, in my parents' house in New Hampshire, a house that's beginning to feel more like a retreat than anything else. I graduated from Emerson in May and am now just beginning to feel the post-grad sadness. As excited as I was to graduate, to be done with school, to embark on my professional life, I can't help but feel depressed when looking at old photos of Freshman year. Crazy Boston adventures with crazy new friends, exploring the snowy beaches of Wonderland, running rampant and wild on quiet, cozy Beacon Hill, walking up a flight of stairs to an entire floor inhabited by my best friends. I have to keep reminding myself that by the end of my academic career at Emerson I was very sick of academia and the presence of most Emersonians.

And now I'm preparing to do something very crazy - I'm moving to Germany to work as an au pair for a year. Who saw that coming? Besides the psychic I saw in Jaffrey last November... who told me I'd be taking a journey East, to Germany specifically. Who also said I'd feel at home there, I'd find myself there, and do a lot of writing there. Her advice to keep a journal and record my thoughts is definitely one of the reasons I decided to start a blog.

I don't know any German, except for Das Kleine Krokodil (the little crocodile), Ich tertuen Mufasa! (I killed Mufasa!), and other important phrases I picked up from watching German cartoons and Disney movies dubbed in German. I haven't started packing yet. Right now when I think about leaving, I feel calm and ready. Sometimes I feel like my chest is swelling up with air, snow, ice, fire, and boiling water and I think I'm going to explode with anxiety.

I've been thinking about trees a lot. I'm a restless, impatient person, and if I feel unproductive, even for a moment, I go crazy. It's hard for me to let go of control, let things be as they are, and to be content just existing as I am without working to improve myself in some way. Which is why I love trees - they exist just as they are, and always have, without any need to do anything or be anything else. When I am out doing whatever it is I do, things I find important, things I find trivial, the tree I see outside my window will just be there. Growing, slowly. Adapting and changing, slowly, to its environment. While I sleep that tree stands there, in the dark, on its own, in silence. As a kid I used to wonder if trees ever get bored. If I have to hang out around the house for a day I lose my mind, how can trees bear to stand exactly where they are, without ever any hope of leaving, moving, changing? But now, as a soul stumbling into adulthood, I hope I can be more like trees. I want to figure out how to be content with myself just as I am in every moment, no matter where I am or what I'm doing. To be OK with doing nothing, to be OK with not being the most successful, thin, beautiful, intelligent, accomplished person in the room, to be OK with just me. I want to do things that I want to do because I want to do them, not because I think I should. And the things I should do should be things that are good for me, my soul, my dreams, not for my "career" or reputation or status.

So that's what I plan to do as I begin this new chapter - figure out how to embrace adulthood gracefully while simultaneously reviving and nurturing a part of myself that I've neglected, abused, and never really understood in the first place. Leaving my friends and family to move to another country, another continent, for a year to take care of someone else's kids and travel around Europe seems like a good start. Whoever I am will have to make herself known if I'm going to survive this.

P.S. Meet Schnappi!

1 comment:

  1. I shall follow you to Germany Jill as I take your place in Boston and hopefully make as much as impact as you did. Love you lots, you're gonna do great :)