It’s a chilly Monday morning, and the only reason I’m getting out of bed before 7 am is that sweet Rutherford has spent the night out and I’m worried he’s getting chilly and he’ll be mad at me for days if I don’t let him in. I ignore the reality of his exceptionally warm fuzzy fur coat and get out of bed and squeak my little “cou cou? Chérie? Viens-ici!” through the back door as I shiver in my underwear and sports bra. For some reason, I feel the distance that standing on the second story of a back-door porch affords me means absolutely no one can see me. I’m waiting to come back from work one day and have a “please, put on some pants” sticky-note attached to my fence. He always hears me right away, from whichever neighbor’s yard he’s plopped down in, and comes running quickly enough that my time spent on the porch is but a few seconds. This morning was the same, and he crept quickly – quite fast, actually – through the yard, like a mongoose as he crouches very near the ground while he scurries. It’s very sneaky. Then he flops inside and flips over like a puppy, stretching himself out awkwardly with his belly exposed. He looks like he wants you to pet his stomach, scratch it a little bit, but the moment you inch toward him he latches on like a roly poly closes up when you touch its back, and he attaches his sharp fangs to your otherwise very-thoughtful wrist. It’s all about the ears with this fellow, and the neck. He forgets all about his frigid nighttime abandonment if you give him a scratch and a bowl of food and a bit of warmth and attention. If only it was that easy for me, I think as I drink my coffee and try to wake up before even the sun has done so. Too lazy for eggs, I cook up some cereal for my breakfast. This time of year provokes too much brooding and thinking with its grim sunshine and crispy air and crunchy leaves. I’ve been inundated with mid-twenties type thoughts, like my job isn’t enough, like what am I doing in Charleston still, like why can’t I be as artistic or successful or smart or assertive as this person or that person? It’s the time of year when I flood my brain with books and ted talks and npr radio shows as some sort of synthetic trigger of inspiration. I’m at the point when I go to bed with Alain de Botton’s Status Anxiety and then Norwegian Wood and I’m still working on Swann’s Way but I misplaced it somewhere and I write a letter to my Uncle Steve and try to box up a good-luck with grad school package for Lauren and I still feel anxious and dissatisfied and unsuccessful and lost. Then I try to climb, and climb, and climb until my fingers bleed and my muscles give way when I just try to sit. When I can try a simple route with four other friends for two hours straight, when we take turns and try new ways to climb those 6 little holds and encourage each other, it’s only then that I start to feel solid and more defined, less fuzzy and uncertain. It’s like one of those pictures I have to edit at work – when I climb it’s like hitting the “smart sharpen” and upping the contrast till that shitty photo becomes noticeably less shitty. Do you know what I’m talking about? Finding that one thing that makes you sturdy? Sometimes it’s another person for some of you, sometimes it’s writing or reading or riding a bike or baking a cake or playing a cello or praying or taking a photograph or listening to a baseball game or being that other person for someone else. I’m still lost the rest of the day when I’m not scratching my knee or falling onto a spotter or bending my ankle until there’s no way it’s going to hold me – but it’s nice to know that, for now, there’s something I can do every day that helps just a little. At least until I figure out the rest of my life, obviously. That’s more of a Tuesday endeavor.
Working through some ideas, some new fonts, and some rad new tools in my brainbox. I’m excited.