I had forgotten something about October, about the gray skies that sometimes come with it. It never happened in L.A., because the weather was nice and the sky was blue all year round. But it’s been cloudy now for about five days, and I remember. October is my favorite month, but it is also, often, the month of my discontent. I am a pessimist in October. I worry about unlikely outcomes and future directions. I never feel that I have done the right thing.
I’m gonna need to go down to Home Depot and get me one of those UV lights.
Okay. That’s doable. Fine.
Now, though, I’m awake at 3:30 a.m. I’m wearing silver stars on wires around my wrists, my ankles, and in my hair. I have a black skirt with sequins and a see-through blue-silver shirt over a strappy black camisole. It was a fabulous outfit.
I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes.
They’re my clothes. They’re the clothes that made me feel exhilarated several years ago, that made me want to run through the streets laughing and stand by the water feeling wind whip through me. They still make me feel happy, when I put them on. But every time I come home like this, I sit awake at 3 in the morning. It’s like I’m trying to hold on to something that’s already slipped through my fingers.
Earlier today, I was reflecting on the fact that I would never, now, climb up a fire escape into a stranger’s apartment. I would never go alone to a bad neighborhood to see a show and wait on the train platform in the early a.m., hoping no one would walk past and see me up there. I would never board a bus to another state to spend a weekend with someone I’d never met, without telling anyone where they might find me.
In other words, I would never be stupid today. I’m not actually wishing I would still do those things. But I’m missing the spark that led me to do them, the feeling that nothing bad would happen, that there was nothing I could do that was uncorrectable, that all I had to do was follow my impulses and they would lead me to the right outcome. I would worry later about what to tell other people, not obsess in advance about negative outcomes that might never materialize.
I jumped without parachutes. And it’s that I miss.
Yet I don’t miss this, the sitting in my chair at 34 a.m., feeling unhappy with life. I often forget that this came with the territory. That while I might board a bus with no thought of what lay ahead, I also might loathe myself on the way home, or lie to my parents about my life, or take crappy jobs that would haunt me and my salary history for years.
At this point, I have planned outcomes. At this point, I have thought through my choices rather than stumbling into them. At this point, those choices require me to take responsibility and make commitments in ways I’ve never had to do before. All I can do from this point forward is do the right thing as much as I can, and trust that growing up brings some reward.
Because I think it does. I’m not unhappy with life. Quite the contrary. I’ve grown in so many ways, and I’ve found a path that stokes my intellectual curiosity, and when I’m actively pursuing that goal I feel busy, and ambitious, and curious about what comes next.
My mistake was in taking leisure time, a full day of rest and relaxation away from everyone else, and gorging on junk food. In October. When it hadn’t been sunny for several days.
Oh well. New classes start Monday, and I won’t have time to think too much, and I’ll just replace “watch DVDs and eat chocolate” with “get your ass out and explore the city” the next time I have free time. This isn’t the end of the road. It’s just a speed bump. With glitter.