This blog is the longest, most consistent journal I've ever kept. It's been nearly a year now, and I've posted over 400 times... sometimes just pictures, sometimes silly stuff like quizzes, but an awful lot of serious posts about things going on in my life. It's the easiest place for me to write. All of my writing here is honest, but it is also all the writing of a persona - almost me, yet not me, part of me.
Tonight I've been lying awake--the air is thick and hot, and the cats keep walking over me and nudging me and licking plastic bags rather loudly in the next room, and I guess I've got a bit of jetlag--but mainly I've been lying awake because my head is full of a million thoughts that I feel a real urge to write down, and this is the easiest place to do so. It might be a step outside the persona, I don't know. Some people--me, too, sometimes--find it weird to just put your personal thoughts out there for the world to read. Whatever.
I've been feeling hopeful, lately, and also terrified.
I think it's going to be a good year teaching. It's that point in the summer that's like New Year's for teachers, when you look back on what you did last year and resolve to do certain things differently and continue other things and make little adjustments because you care so much about what you do and want to do it as well as you possibly can. I've always loved the start of school (it's still a few weeks away, but I'm starting to do some prep work so the season has come early). My dad is a school principal and as a kid I would visit his school in late summer and secretly cherish the chemical-lemon smell of all the cleaning and readying that was going on inside. I loved buying new clothes and school supplies and resolved - every year - to make the right kinds of friends (which meant different things at different ages) and keep my notebooks as clean and crisp as they were when I bought them. No more doodling on the cover! Neat handwriting on every page!
For me this is still the time when I think most about how I want to do my life differently--and I guess more so than ever this year because such a lot of things have changed in the past year. I spent the whole winter struggling to keep a relationship together just by hoping really hard and trying to act as though everything were fine in order to make it so. And it didn't work, and when it didn't work I realized that I'd been taking out so much anger and frustration and hopelessness on others around me in ways that only distressed my relationships with everyone.
And then I found myself enjoying being by myself - I don't want to say free because that is such a loaded word that implies that I was not free before. I wasn't captive or anything like that - but I was like the person who commutes over the Golden Gate bridge so many times that they stop seeing the towers, the water, the cables, the sky.
So for the last few months I have been trying to get out of this rut and remind myself of things I was passionate about that I left behind during the craziness of starting teaching and being miserable in New York and becoming happy in New York and getting to know someone and falling in love and falling out of love. For the first time in my life I've wanted to re-read books and watch movies a second time. And I want to fit the old things with the new things that have caught and held along the way.
There's all this stuff going on, looking around in all directions and bursting with excitement and seeing everything as new... and then there's a part of me that's beating myself up for not being more unhappy about the break-up.
There's a part of me that's afraid I am selfish. Or that I don't love enough. There's a part of me that doesn't really trust any of my emotions anymore, because they seem like such a shifting territory. Not a place to build anything permanent or important.
I've been writing poetry that's all images. I've been writing poetry that's all feelings. None of it's any good; I can't bring the two together.
I'm afraid of disappointment in myself--the same things that make me so excited and hopeful seem totally overwhelming at the same time. I have never fully learned how to balance my ideals with reality, and I'm harder on myself than on anyone around me.
I'm afraid of never doing anything beautiful. I want deeply to be an artist--the romantic word for someone who creates. It doesn't have to be art, but I want to do or build or make or nurture something lasting and meaningful and beautiful.
Funny, I never intended this blog to be a confessional.