Fun fact: I'm sitting on 71 drafts of in-progress vignettes and essays. Some of them are close to being finished, others not so much.
Un-fun fact: I can't seem to get anywhere with any of them. I have a story inside of me I can't share publicly, but I'm finding it impossible to move forward with anything else until I get this un-sharable story out. So I've been working on doing that; privately, behind the scenes. That means everything else is either on hold or moving at a glacial speed.
I still want to share some words with you, though. So here are some bits from three of those 71 current works in progress; different topics (spanning the last 10 years), different tones, different rhythms and cadences. Which one are you looking most forward to being finished/reading? Let me know!:
“I’m not ready to move on but I know I need to begin moving forward,” I say to my therapist. Except I have no idea what that means or how to do it, which is why I’m sitting here talking to her, the therapist, my therapist, in the first place.
I say what I said — the thing about needing to move forward even though I’m not ready to move on — with feigned resoluteness that I desperately hope sounds convincing. I’ve never believed in therapy or bought into the idea of faking it until you make it but here I am, sitting on a couch across from a shrink saying shit I don’t know if I believe but that I know sounds good, that I know is the “right” thing to say, because I have no idea what else to say or to do, and so I say what I said and then I do what I do, which is sit back against the couch and go with it. Commit to the bit.
Who knows if my therapist is buying it.
Who knows if I am.
It took a month after she left before I was able to empty the bathroom trash, into which she had for the final time during her final moments standing in the bathroom that was still for a brief while longer ours but would soon return, as it had been before she moved in, to being just mine, discarded bits of herself that she had for whatever reason finally decided she no longer needed. Bits of herself from when we were still an us.
(I did not, I should note, view this act of discarding these bits of herself as insignificant. I did not think it to be random; to be nothing. I was certain there was meaning to it, although I was then and am still now unable to identify such a meaning.
And: Upon seeing these bits of herself in the trashcan when I returned home the morning she left for good, I was first bewildered. Why did she get rid of these things now? Why did she get rid of them here and not there, wherever she was going, or going back, to? Was it a subconscious message to me? Or a spur-of-the-moment mini spring cleaning that meant nothing? A literal lightening of her load?
And then, I was incensed. That she would dare to leave behind in my life for me to clean up, bits of herself; scraps of her mess — the insensitivity, the gall!)
All of the other girls who were actually women at work had collections of Coach bags which, after I found out what even a Coach bag was and how much one cost, I was completely impressed by. Not because the bags were cute (they just came in an assortment of boring colors and had a bunch of different sized Cs on them???), but because they were expensive and so clearly made the girl or woman or girlwoman dangling one from her hand or the crook of her elbow or her shoulder a Very Important And Successful Professional and how did they all own more than one?!
I kind of desperately wanted to be a little bit like all of them, all of the other girls who were actually women at work. I wanted Jen’s perfect boobs and Kristy’s quirky personality and Laura’s culture and maturity, and because I couldn’t have or take or acquire or buy Jen’s perfect boobs (okay I guess theoretically I could’ve bought these) or Kristy’s quirky personality or Laura’s culture and maturity but I could buy a Coach bag, I decided I wanted a stupid Coach bag.
* * *
How could I know, standing at the checkout counter full of misplaced pride, that buying that stupid Coach bag I couldn't actually afford would lead to defaulting on my credit, to being evicted, to losing custody of my baby girl?
Please! Let me know which essay you're most looking forward to being finished/reading – it'll help me prioritize and focus and get shit done.