Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Girl in Pearls

I wrote this one last month and have been debating whether or not to post it. But, for those of you who do read my blog, I thought I'd share. So here ya go...

The ghost of who I used to be has been nagging at me a lot lately. The girl who had an apartment, a cat, a car payment; the girl who wore suits, makeup and pearls. That girl. The one I was so glad to leave behind and say goodbye to is starting to protest her absence.

It’s strange to have her over my shoulder. I anticipated that she would be long gone, left behind in a pile of boxes, second hand furniture and moth balls all mixed together in a soupy mess in a storage unit. But she’s still here, bugging me, asking me when I’m going to come home and settle back into a ‘normal’ working life.

I suppose she’s on my mind because at half-way through my internship I am already thinking about my next career move. Right now I live in an old hotel that’s much like a dorm, work three jobs, wear blue jeans to work and listen to NPR. It’s almost like going back to college. In leaving that old life behind and starting over with an internship I have both digressed and moved forward. It’s a bizarre feeling.

Last week I had an interview for an internship with a publication. It was disappointing in every way. There wasn’t a single thing about it that I could use to gain experience. The worst part was that I had always admired the magazine so going to work there would have been a dream. But, it wasn’t anything I was looking for.

“You have to think about what you want your life to be like before you go back to school” my boss said to me. She’s right. I have to ask what I want life to look like and be like before I can consider my next move. I just didn’t expect to be thinking about my old life.

Somehow, that girl, the one soaked in perfume and peals is on my mind as a possibility; almost as a choice. When I was in my senior year of college I found myself trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life through shoes. Which did I want to put on in the morning: high heels or hiking boots? I chose hiking boots but ended up in heels. I hate heels.

I think back to where I was a year ago today. I see myself hurrying into a large, black office building wearing a drab wool suit. My hair is barely past shoulder length and straight as a board. I’m wearing nylons even though I can’t stand them. I have a large black purse inside which I hide a cell phone, lip gloss, unpaid bills, a scarf and maybe a lunch of low-calorie flavor deprived food. I don’t like looking at me like this, but that’s how I looked. I have pictures to prove it.

It’s fall in Eugene so the air is crisp. The trees along the riverbanks are starting to turn orange and gold while the evergreen trees needles seem to be darkening in color. Pumpkins are on sale at the supermarket. It’s my favorite time of year. I even have a boyfriend and I’m starting to think there might be a future with him. Silly me. I always wonder that, though this time the guy is perfect, not a flaw about him other than that he snores very loudly, sweats profusely and is sometimes a bit too timid for my taste. Other than that, he’s perfect on paper. Life, a year ago today, was text book.

But then, with the coming of November it all fell apart again. And of course it did—that life wasn’t working for me. And neither was that identity.

That’s why I’m thinking of her without contempt—a year ago today I was happy. Not on the whole when I was living there, just for this one season in 2006. It was just for that one brief time that things were okay. Not great. Not what I always planned or wanted. Just okay. Comfortable. A quiet place to live, trails to go running on after work, a cat to snuggle with at night. For three months, it was okay. Then it all turned back to not being okay, clearly reminding me why I wanted out of that life to go do something bigger and better.

She was almost content. Stable. There were no ifs, maybes, choices or even possibilities for her. Of course I’m thinking of her—my life is the direct opposite of hers and is filled with uncertainty right now. This is a good thing and I am grateful for it. I guess it’s just nice to fantasize about stability every once in a while when things are uncertain.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

That reflect on who I was a year ago thing can be tough. For me it's the reverse ... I liked who I was then and was happy (with boyfriend) and now ....? But I think it got me moving again to remember what I wanted to be.