I don't know why


My friend Sherry came over this afternoon. I was supposed to cut her hair but we got to talking. She'd brought over bag of cheese-flavored popcorn and good beer. I stood at the kitchen counter and she sat at one of the bar stools. The light was dimming outside. It had been warm all day. For the first time in months, I ate lunch outside, on a bench on the busy street near my neighborhood. People walked by with their dogs and toddlers in tow. I don't know why, but I felt something in me unburden itself. I walked home and took a quick snooze on the couch. I dreamt that someone had stolen my purse but that my wallet wasn't inside of it. That thought gave me comfort in the dream. I started to chase the man who'd taken the purse but the whole time I was thinking, The joke's on him! Sherry's voice came up the stairs before she did. She only had an hour but she didn't seem in a hurry. I love this about her. We hadn't talked in a little over a week but there was so much to say. The haircut was temporarily forgotten. I told her about a conversation I'd had with myself in the car the previous afternoon. It had something to do with wishing I could just make things all day, and being upset because I didn't feel like I could truly make a living from the things I was passionate about. That there would always be this disconnect, this not-quiteness, because even though I was able to sort of make a living doing things I mostly liked, it wasn't the same and definitely wasn't as good. I was very self-critical during this conversation with myself, and got upset and cried a little in the car back from my rock sculpting outing, but somehow, telling the story to Sherry, reliving that moment, that self-talk, I realized that this wasn't necessarily the truth. At least, not the inevitable truth. I saw that the story I was telling myself was just that: a story. And it wasn't a very good one at that. I didn't, in fact, like the main character very much. She was so hard on herself. So negative, really. Unable to grasp that her life was actually quite fixable, open to change, full of all kinds of possibility. And so telling the story I was telling myself to Sherry made me see that the story was perhaps just a fiction, a distraction, a containment, a diminishment, a sabotaging of self and spirit. This is a tired old line. This is a way of not taking responsibility for my own happiness. This is inaction masking as self-preservation. This isn't who I want to be anymore.