October 2022 – Saturn in Aries
I had been away for a few days. My floor, now sandy, with small tumbleweeds of black and silver which line the baseboards that house bashful spiders, is cold and unwelcoming. I still haven’t justified the expense of a rug for the hallway and I regret this now that it’s 10 degrees colder than when I left. No barks or embraces greet at the door and my inbox only delivers reminders of an upcoming meeting I am no longer invited to. My one surviving living room plant demands attention.
It was a lovely few days (until the end). I had never seen water so clear, so willing to shimmer in the sunlight for its audience of tourists, red-faced and tippling. My father didn’t take us exploring because he was too engrossed in his own projects and the vacations with my maternal relatives were taken too young and were mostly in Europe. I hadn’t yet grown into my eyes. Too large for my face, the few mental photographs I managed lack detail. I recall a few Barcelona buildings and needing to still look up at everyone, a seemingly infinite airport terminal in London, and feeling incredibly self-conscious in my early teens in Pompeii, and not much else. But this week I’ll remember. I’ll remember the clear water. My grandmother’s shock and gratitude (she had no idea we would be boarding a cruise ship until we arrived at the port). I’ll remember eating almonds off a tree, how interesting the Mayan ruins had been, reading Fitzgerald as I watched the sun take a well-deserved rest below the horizon and I exchanged a lukewarm coffee for a Dark ‘n’ Stormy with far too much lime. The wave crests are high and their crashing and rocking of the ship interrupts our matriarch’s sleep.
I’ll also remember the numbness and eventual overwhelming grief of losing the job I had dreamt of at the conclusion of phone call lasting a measly five minutes. I spend the next ten hours reviewing portfolio pieces and collaging together scraps of a resume I didn’t expect to need for at least a couple more years. It’s embarrassing and distressing fighting tears in the living room of a family I have no intention of crying in front of and is absolutely certain God has something more rewarding in the works for my near future. Meanwhile, I feel almost certain I wasted years chasing a role in a field I don’t belong in. I should have been better at chemistry. I should have tried coding or cooking. I should have learned Chinese. Instead, I chose something I care deeply about.
Ironically, and despite his later success and frighteningly similar situation, in this moment, he offers me no comfort. “I was a failure – mediocre at advertising work and unable to get started as a writer. Hating the city, I got roaring, weeping drunk on my last penny and went home…” The ways in which we differ are few. I don’t strive to write novels and I’m too stubborn to go to any home south of Rockaway Beach.
I spend my return flight to JFK forcing myself to sleep and hoping I’ll wake up in a different situation and each brief interruption reminds me I am still in an uncomfortable seat, still without a job, and still haven’t finished a now unbearably bitter cup of coffee. Now what?
It’s been a few weeks now and I’ll admit to feeling defeated despite the excitment of upcoming dancing opportunities and requests for interviews. I still can’t bring myself to paint. I still haven’t ordered a rug. I worry enough to get in my own way, and yet, after all the stress and anger, I’m hopeful next year will be a good one. I’m not standing completely still even when I convince myself I am. Momentum takes some time to build, I guess.