Sunday, December 11, 2011

Uncertainty, Surprises, Resolution

It shouldn't surprise me that I got homesick on the second day of my residency. Despite feeling strangely connected to this city, I want to go home. By home, I mean Colorado. Yes, freezing in the winter, boring, conservative, culturally and diversity depraved Colorado. It's Sunday and I just spent another hour or so fighting traffic to get back to the studio apartment I'm renting in the Hollywood Hills while I'm here. I used to hate to drive in this kind of mind-numbing, always have to be in defensive driving mode traffic when I lived in FL. In June, I thought I was homesick because I was staying in a two-star hotel that was missing the conveniences of my condo-a kitchen, a living room, landscaping, etc. It was my first time staying in a two-star hotel in god knows when, but I had decided to be frugal. So frugal that I'd forgotten that once you get used to a certain level of comfort and privilege you can't always regress completely.

I shouldn't be surprised at the fact that I'm ready to leave. I was always the kid that cried herself to sleep at Girl Scout camp and counted down the days until it was time for our parents to pick us up. Meadow Mountain was beautiful and it was wonderful to connect with my peers, but I wasn't comfortable with the sleeping bags, the cool nights, and the orchestration of activities that forced everyone into revealing more about themselves than they may have wanted to.

This MFA program is similar to that. Sometimes I feel elated and inspired, at other times tired and annoyed. A lot of times I wonder what I'm doing here. I don't look like most of these people. I don't have a desire to decorate myself with tattoos, wear combat boots, dye my hair extreme colors, or dress in some art nouveau fashion. Maybe my 17 or 18 year-old-self would do a few of these things. But I'm not 17. And I can't erase the fact that I chose to become someone more conservative and left-brained.

I certainly can't analyze or get energized about literature the same way they do either. Even though I know I'm still learning, I'm aware that a part of me isn't connecting. Sure, my mentor last term said she "vibes" with my work and offered to be my mentor again. I knew she was the "right one" the minute she stood up during last June's panel. She knows I'm having doubts about carrying this through. I didn't have to say anything. She just "knew." And at this point she's the only one from this term's panel that I trust with my writing.

On Saturday, I saw the 222's on the freeways. I heard the words "don't give up" during a wonderful speech by a famous writer. One that I almost didn't attend due to fatigue. Messages of synchronicity seem to be following me and I want to listen. It's just hard to not wonder where this is all going, where it's going to end up, and whether I should just return to that life of soul-sucking jobs that pay enough to afford two or three annual prepaid trips to a tropical beach.

I guess it takes time to go through a metamorphosis. The surprise is that I thought this might feel different. The way I used to feel at 17. But you can only discover something new once. And the minute you decide to abandon something, you can't really recapture what might've been.

What I know from getting lost before is that it's better to stay calm, create a sense of stillness in your mind, and connect to something that knows exactly how to guide you. I also know that there's something about familiarizing yourself with the new that can create a sense of panic and uncertainty. The part of you that is aware of your present surroundings is paradoxically unaware. Another part of you that sees the entire circle of your life gives you the needed answers at just the right moment. Not through something that's obvious, but by means of random synergy.

Maybe there's a place for me somewhere in this world. Maybe it's a wrong exit and I'm going to have to turn around and get myself back on the freeway. A journey that makes the best use of all that you are capable of doesn't end on one street. Within my heart is the urge to write. That alone makes me a writer-not a book deal, a list of published works, freelance gigs, and spending time with a group of "serious writers." This may just be a hobby, not a profession. I'm okay with that.

I'm a woman of diverse tastes, interests, talents, and aspirations. A woman who doesn't want to live in a fishbowl or limit herself to an idealized version of reality. Someone whom I think is willing to listen, but needs a layover in order to hear her own voice and what rings true.

And like a few people have said to me "no matter what you do, you're going to be good at it. You're just that kind of a person."


  1. LA is a hard city to adjust to. When we lived there, people told me you have to give it 18 months, and then you won't want to leave. I don't think that would have been true for me, but when we hit 18 months (and had to move b/c my husband was transferred), I certainly felt much, much better than I had at six or twelve months.

  2. Thanks! I don't think it's the city. This isn't my first rodeo with this type of area. I think I just need a break from grad school and some other obligations, so I'm going to take one after this term. I need some time for myself without work, work, work. If I decide that I don't need or want to come back, then we'll cross that road when the time comes. =)