I'm sitting in Espresso Love in Edgartown, my chair turned away from the table, laptop on my lap, empty coffee cup next to me, waiting out a storm. I'm pausing to recharge so I can interview people, and trying to not to indulge my urge to go home early. Last weekend, which I will grant its own post, I experienced the chasm of being where I didn't want to be, and that was awful, so I'm working on appreciating where I am. Here's a visual:
I have been sharing a room with my grandmother. I have my own twin bed, with just enough room to keep my assorted pile of books, Nook, phone and sometimes laptop. That part I don't mind, it's the incessant food pushing and nosiness and belief that everything everyone else is doing is of concern that I mind. That probably makes me a horrible granddaughter, but so be it. I'm stubborn and independent and need alone time, which is why I'm stealing some now. I've been in a slump for the last few weeks, full of great ideas that I don't wind up finishing. It's an awful state to be in if you make your living as a writer, but even when I had a job, I hated when I let myself down like that. The last few days I've been here, I've actually stayed up late, the way I always tell myself I will at home and never do, and brainstormed, pitched, got the words out, and that act alone erased, at least for a little while, all the guilt and frustration that's built up from the past few days of slacking.
I'm in the middle of planning lots of trips--Dubai, Little Rock, Texas--and I realize that it says something about me that I will be away so much. "You're going away for your birthday?" my boyfriend asked as we were comparing calendars. I shrugged, like, what else would you expect? For the record, he's invited. I know that part of that desire to get away is not so much about getting away from New York City as all the things there that keep me from what I supposedly want to do: write, long, hard, more than a few thousand words. I love short stories, love puzzling out where they will go, but they are a flighty girl's hobby, something I know I can do. Not always--I get my share of rejections and stories that just don't seem to get completed. I mean that I know I'm capable of writing one, and perhaps that knowledge makes them a little boring to me. I want to try something new, push myself, go further. I loved the portrait of the late David Rakoff Ed Champion painted here, of his meticulousness, his dedication.
Every time I think I'm over that fear of what other people will think, it returns, seemingly more insidious each time. It's that evil of people pleasing that so fucked me up last weekend, that awful desire to be liked by others even more than I like myself. I know that for me, the only way to like myself, is to take that time, however much I need--and sometimes it's quite a bit--to welcome the words, to welcome the ugly thoughts, the mean ones, the "bad" ones, the ones I'm not supposed to have. It doesn't mean I have to indulge them, to cultivate some image of the perfect bitch; if I'm a bitch, I'm sure people will figure it out pretty damn fast. And there's the rub--sometimes I am a total bitch. I'm mean, vicious. I see someone's name in, say, my inbox, and I want to vomit. I don't, literally, but I want to. I need to embrace that bitchiness, rather than rush to push it away as if it's the side of me that's inhuman, unnatural. Of course it's natural. Of course it's okay. It's a feeling, not an action. Writing about it is an action, but one that, in my experience, usually helps tame it, gets it out somewhere else, so it's not wrapping itself around me, cloying, clawing, suffocating me.
I feel awful every time I get upset at the prying, the petty annoyances of a family vacation, but they are just a part of it. The other part is my little cousin stealing my heart when we're looking at photos on my phone (which he knows is an iPhone) and coming to one of me and my boyfriend. "I meet that boy?" he asks me. "No, but we can call him." And we do, but he's not home, and we go back to looking up cakes with Foofa and Brobee and DJ Lance Rock. "I want all of these cakes," he tells me when I find Yo Gabba Gabba! character cupcakes. Later, I can't help myself from laughing when we visit abcmouse.com and I play "The Wheels on the Bus" and he acts it out, and gets really into the babies going wah wah wah and the parents going shh, shh, shh. That's home too, not just a coffeeshop that now sounds like its roof is going to cave in from the rain. I guess anywhere can be a kind of home if I let it, if I can bring all of me too it, not just the good or pretty or needy parts, but all of them, the girl who loves to be alone and the girl who loves to be around people who sometimes make her laugha nd sometimes make her cry.