adjustments, simply put
4 weeks. 2 days.
That’s how long I’ve been back on the Central Coast. It wasn’t until recent days that I started to feel like I was actually living here again. I stayed with my friend Seanah for a week and a half when I got here, that felt like a bed and breakfast vacation. When I moved into my mother’s new place, it was partially furnished already. The bed in “my” room was there, the furniture is my mothers, the hangers are even hers. I unpacked my clothes and put them into drawers and hung them in the closet, but it felt like preparing for an extended stay at a hotel, or time share of sort. Then I was offered a job at a Wellness Spa, part time, and I started training. Then was open on the books, and worked with a new client. Then, yesterday a friend helped me assemble a shelf to put my DVD’s, TVD’s (that’s what I call TV series on DVD. Copyright, bitches), books, and games on. I put a few framed pictures out as well. Seeing things that belong to me, pictures of people I care about sitting on surfaces not mine, froze me a bit, in time. It wasn’t until that moment I felt like I was actually here, living here.
Returning has filled me with an array of mixed feelings. Some are contentment, some are disappointment. Somewhere in there I’m neither happy nor sad, unless I hear the voice of someone that’s returned to my life. That has been interesting. In returning, I was encouraged to think of things here that I liked, that I missed, that I’d look forward to having or seeing again. In returning, I was making a checklist in my head of good times I’d had. Landmark events like when I moved out of my parents’ house for the first time, and into The Barn in SLO with Kaza. In returning, I looked at old photos of shows, and play-dates with friends and family and I thought of someone in particular. Found him in fb, and said hello. We texted, we chatted on the phone, we video chat, we spent time together in person and there were old feelings and new feelings that emerged. That’s what happiness felt like here. Happiness here was…is…about connection to people. It’s such a small place that it’s not difficult but one can feel overwhelmed with the…responsibility…of providing that happiness–or something like that. Where as in NYC I found different kinds of happiness, like being alone in a sea of people; going to a movie or dinner alone and not wondering or caring if I’d see someone I knew and furthermore wondering if they would feel sorry for me somehow, because I was alone. These were choices. Happiness, there, was a spontaneous trip to Broadway, or a friend coming over for drinks and a chat, or lunch and a walk around the city just talking. Time with friends there, is nothing like time with friends here. It’s harder there. Everything is harder there, and something about that made me feel like everything I did, was earned. It’s just…easier here. I don’t have to earn things like I did there. My alone time, I just have to stay home or not look up at people where ever I am. Getting groceries without a car, in the snow, several blocks from home is earned. The difficulty living there, is part of what made it so great. The ease here is sometimes refreshing, and sometimes annoying. The odds of seeing someone I know here are higher than in NYC. That is something that takes adjustment, great adjustment.
I mean, I’ve changed. I know, I keep saying that. I’ve grown up more in 5 1/2 years in New York City, than I did in my twenties total–but those were still extremely important and altering years. I made terrible mistakes. I learned hard lessons. I succeeded, I failed, I loved, I disappointed, I earned every excelled heart rate, and equally every heartbreak. –I just don’t want those ups and downs anymore. I’ve evened out, a bit–I think. I balanced out, more. I’m more “set in my ways,” and beyond that I actually like the ways in which I’m set. I’ve learned the difference between being alone and loneliness, and equally the choice in how I react to those moments and feelings. Whether I like it or not. I’ve learned my capabilities are flexible, depending on what the end goal is. Spreading myself thin is worth it, sometimes. A commitment, and a challenge in my sanity and health–but still worth it, sometimes. Saying “no,” is important, and okay. Making excuses is not the same as giving the reason. The reason may be disagreeable by others, but I do not give the reason to please or appease. It is simply to let them know. Beyond that, I hope that my reasons are taken as honesty and not harm. Sometimes the reason is simply “because I don’t want to,” and I don’t need to explain beyond that. I don’t need to make up an excuse or have people feel sorry for me, or ask their permission–I just let them know where I stand. Sometimes that lands me in hot lava, sometimes I get a simple nod and “ok.”
What is starting to stir, though, in my adjustment time here is a certain kind of “want” or “hope” for lack of better word. Every person I’ve seen again has said they are happy to see me or welcomed me back, and have equally asked if *I* am happy to be back. The answer there, simply, is “not really.” I am not necessarily ready to discuss every reason I moved back. I know that my life is changing, and sacrifices and changes must be made. Coming to terms with those facts has been the hardest adjustment of them all. Coming to terms with anything life offers you, me….is always the hardest.
Every time I think about where I thought I’d be “by now,” I’m disappointed. EVERY TIME??? Even simply starting massage school, and looking at when I’d graduate and be licensed and how I’d begin adding to my bank account because of the career move I invested in for my industry–I took the NYS Board Exam on my last day in the city, and moved days later. Boom. Disappointed. I’m somehow unable to look at it and remind myself the two-year commitment it took to work full-time, and school full-time with homework and clinic work, and weather obstacles, and say “well done, Mersai.” I look at it and think “all that, just to move?” I defeat myself over and over again. This is the hardest thing (lesson?) that I just cannot seem to grasp. Celebrating the small victories is just as important as recognizing the overall accomplishments. People tell me I do not give myself enough credit–I do not think I’ve earned that “credit.” It’s very difficult for me to say “yes, I did that” and have it be Enough.
Which reminds me of two questions and important friend asked me during dinner while visiting in June. “What is important?” and “What is enough?”
I’m afraid of listing what I believe is important, or enough, because what if I never get there? What if not only am I never satisfied, but what I have to offer someone else isn’t enough either, or it’s too much by now? What if I put everything I am and everything I have left on the line, I put it all on the table, I open all the closets and expose all the skeletons and I’m told “no.” ? What then? Do wake up, in this small town, where connection is easy, but choose to disconnect? Do I hide? Do I take it as a challenge and prove myself otherwise? What are my options, my real options?
I’m being…humbled, lately. Was I riding a wave to high for me to handle? Was I getting arrogant by saying “I’m finally living my life, not just surviving it.” ? Did I swear off relationships long enough to find who *I* really am, and will that be enough? Have I learned, or earned enough for what I want NOW? Was I on that upward swing too high, or too long, that something had to pull me backwards? Was I running too fast and that’s why I somehow face planted? What? What’s the reason? Who do I owe? What do I owe, to get back to that place? Back to the place of being assured. Back to being brave enough to keep moving forward. Back to being happy.
I have moments of joy and laughter. Like when he calls or we Skype. Memory lane has been a favorite place for me to spend time these past couple weeks. Seeing faces of friends more often than once a year, or at least the idea of it, makes me smile. But, I left here…because it wasn’t enough. I left, because I couldn’t be here and be a daughter, sister, auntie, and friend–and have it be enough. I left because I needed to find something, or find myself, then once I did or started to–it all changed again.
Was it worth it. Are the butterflies in my heart and stomach worth it? Are the smiles and “welcome back” comments, worth it? Is the new job worth it? The new responsibilities, the new life. Will it all be worth it?
This is when I’d sit at my piano and just play. Play what I know, play what I feel. This is when I cry because I’m unable to articulate or organize my words and thoughts. This is when I try to just brain purge to find out what’s really going on inside me. I’m stumbling, and tripping, and falling. And those feelings are equally uplifting and encouraging, and making me feel like a drunken idiot.
What I know is: I have to be okay with what happens next. I have to be okay with what happens next. I have to be okay with what happens next. I have to be okay with what happens next.
My problem: I’m terrified for what’s next. Because some pieces I’m aware of, and other pieces I’m not. All, equally, terrifying. A question I don’t like asking, but currently have the constant reason to is ,”what if…?” and this is exciting and unsettling at the same time.