This is not something I do very often. Which means it’s definitely not something I do well. I attribute it to being a Scorpio – an intense, brooding, passionate Scorpio, who is much more comfortable with the appearance of stability than trusting people with my vulnerabilities – because I wasn’t really raised in an emotionless environment. At least, not that I remember. All the same, I am not good at just laying everything out on the table but I feel like I need to.
I don’t know if anyone is reading this and if you are, you’ll probably abandon it before you get to the end. I understand. I’m about to say a whole lot of words and even I’m not sure what all of them are going to be. But things in my life are not what I want them to be and I don’t know how to fix them. Maybe because there is so much I want to fix, maybe because I don’t know what I actually want. Whatever the answer, I feel like I am drowning and it’s all I can do to keep my head above water.
I guess I’ll start with work, because that takes up the biggest portion of my life (well, there’s another thing but I’m saving it for later because I’ve beaten it to death). When I was … well, for basically, forever, I have been a writer. It’s the only thing that I’ve ever really known I could do and do well. It’s the only thing I’ve ever done consistently, without any major catastrophes. In high school, I took any writing class I could (which was, like, two in my Bumfuck, Nowhere high school with 25 kids in my graduating class). When I went to college, there was no question. I would earn my degree in English and become a writer. I didn’t know anything else.
I started freelance writing my senior year in college, getting decent money at first. Nothing I could live off of, at the time, but there was potential. As time went on, those paying gigs started paying less and less and today, even major publications “pay” in “credit.” Being a “writer” is getting to be an increasingly difficult obstacle course to maneuver.
Four years ago, I decided I needed to stop bouncing from crap job to crap job and try something more concrete. I applied to what sounded like an amazing MFA writing program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. That ended in flames so I started looking into smaller goals. The Reader’s Digest version is that I finally decided to try my hand at cosmetology.
And I enjoy it. But after three years, I still haven’t found my passion. I feel like there are things I want to do with this career that I’m not doing but I can’t figure out how to do them. I want to be a world class colorist. Or at least someone who gets their Instagram pictures noticed by magazines or whatever. Mediocrity is a double edged sword for me. It is something that I dread more than death and it’s something I feel every day of my life. I’m not unhappy in my choice, I’m not unhappy in my current employment arrangement; I am unhappy in my own achievements. I am unhappy in my own lack of passion. I am unhappy in my own skills.
I have always had a problem with going through phases. I don’t know what causes them – fatigue, stress, dissatisfaction – but I go through phases where something I have been doing over and over and over again for weeks, months, even years, goes up in flames every time I get near it. For a couple weeks, usually. Which was what I was saying about writing being the one consistent thing in my life. Save for bouts of writer’s block, I’ve never had those times where I just put out pages and pages and pages of complete garbage. I never got an F on a single essay, ever. I can’t even think of a single D on a written assignment. Words, writing, that’s what has always worked for me.
But these phases, they come out in my cosmetology endeavors too. Do the same haircut on 100 people and I’ll be damned if I don’t completely fuck up on the 101st.
So I feel mediocre. I’m decent but I’m not great and I have days I feel like I never will be.
To add to it, I don’t have (and some days, don’t want) a constant clientele. It’s not that I don’t want that, but I don’t want that here. Because I don’t want to be here.
People tell me all the time, just move. Pack up and move out. Go to the place you want to be (there are more problems with that statement than just that statement but we’ll come back to that). And there is one MAJOR obstacle in my way. I don’t know how to drive.
Here’s another of those Scorpio traits. I hate having to rely on someone else. And the main reason is that other people have proven to me that they can’t be relied on. Who teaches kids how to drive as teenagers? Their parents, right? My mother refused and my father allowed me to not want to do it. Then I got into university and had an acquaintance who offered to teach me but he offered once and never again. Fast forward to living with my mother as an adult and she still refuses. She complains constantly about having to drive me places, about how MY work schedule interrupts HER life but when I say you wouldn’t have to worry about that if I could drive myself, she acknowledges the logic of the statement and responds with “but I don’t want to.”
We recently got Uber here. There are like 20 drivers. If I could drive and I could do something like that (or PostMates or the food taxi…) I could make more money to help her pay some more bills, I could save money to move out….I could take those jobs and make money somewhere else. And every time she complains, every time she asks me for gas money, I get angry all over again.
I even looked into adult driving classes. That’s how frustrated I am.
And if I could move out, I could move to where I had friends. I am so tired of never having anyone to do anything with. Want to go to a movie? How badly do you want to see it because you’re going by yourself. Want to go skating or bowling or to karaoke night? Have fun doing those things on your own. I’m an extrovert. I hate HATE being stuck at home. But I’m to the point I hate everything because I do everything alone.
Even when I try to involve people, I don’t get the response I want.
And doing everything alone reminds me of another thing I’m sick of. I’m single. I’ve been single for 12 years. My fiancé – also known as my ex-idiot, or ex-asshole among my friends – and I broke up, officially…. Well, we never OFFICIALLY broke up but we last spoke in July, 2004. I’ve had other possibilities in the interim but they all sucked. And then HE came along….
I honestly don’t know how long I’ve liked him. I really started falling for him (in a deeper way than just a crush) a year ago, spring. It was April, 2015, when I said, aloud, where someone else could hear me, that I thought I might be falling in love with him. Now, more than a year later, I don’t feel any less for him but we haven’t talked in months. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know if I did something wrong. I worry that I liked him too much, that he couldn’t be friends with me, knowing how strongly I was attracted to both his body and his mind. Or that he couldn’t deal with me not telling him because I talked about my feelings a lot, in vague, veiled words because we have a lot of mutual friends and I wanted to preserve his privacy as much as my own.
The truth is I’m just scared. I don’t want to tell him. I don’t want to talk to him because I don’t want to know what’s going on. Right now, I miss him like fucking crazy but I have that glimmer of hope that we could make something work, that he could be just as attracted to me as I am to him. Right now, there is hope. Talking to him, telling him the truth, asking him why he stopped talking to me, opens me up for reality. Right now, he can’t break my heart. If I tell him how I feel, he can. Right now, he’s still my amazing friend who is intelligent and caring and funny and … fucking gorgeous. A confession means everything will change. He’ll still be intelligent and caring and funny, but will he still be my friend? Right now, I can live in denial. It’s not healthy but it also doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as what I’m sure will happen otherwise.
I think about how much I like him, wonder when I first started, and can’t imagine, for a second, him feeling the same way about me. Sure, maybe he thinks I’m funny or fun to talk to but a crush? Absurd. I’m plain, vanilla, nothing special. I’m a boring hairdresser who works in a small town mall that people walk around because the full trip, without stores, is pretty close to exactly one mile. I don’t drive, I don’t do anything. I am unremarkable and I don’t expect anyone to be wowed by me, especially not someone by whom I am so very wowed.
I’ve always blended in with the wallpaper. I think that’s why I dread mediocrity so much. I long for greatness (that’s another Scorpio trait, if you’re keeping track) but I don’t think I’ll ever achieve it. And I think things with him could be great. I think he and I could take over the world.
I used to think that I was a pretty awesome person with passions and ambitions and personality in spades. Recently, I feel like Mia Wasikowska in Alice in Wonderland when Johnny Depp’s Hatter tells her she’s lost her muchness. The thing is, I think he could be the person to help me find it. And his muchness combined with my muchness could be enough to set things on fire.
I want to set things on fire.