That is the length of time standing between me and freedom.
In 36 days, I will paint myself blue and run through the mountains of Montana with a claymore (or, barring that, a butcher knife) screaming, “FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOM!”
In 36 days, I will be done with this year, with this job. I will embark on two months without work, three vacations, and a lot of writing. I will regain some of my precious sanity, which for now I don’t have the energy to go off and corral, and it’s ignoring me when I call for it. Dammit.
This year has been a lesson in many things. The first of which is that I ought to have learned by now to trust my gut. I should have trusted my gut a year ago when I received that tantalizing email offering me this job. It was $15,000 a year more than I had ever made. So, I rationalized, I would handle the godawful early mornings. I would handle the 60-80 hour weeks. I would grin and bear it for two years.
And then my health fell into the shitter, my sanity started pouncing leaves off on the funny farm, I went for months on about three hours of sleep per night, and some idiot (four idiots, actually) ran their vehicles into mine, the most recent and spectacular of which resulted in a substantially serious neck injury that I am still feeling six weeks later. And after all these little hints from the universe, I got it. I should have trusted my instincts last year when they warned me that this wasn’t for me.
For years people would hear that I studied history in college and would ask, “Oh, so you’re going to teach?” to which I would reply, “No. Never. Never ever ever. I want to write. Or possibly become a hermit.”
So why on earth did I ever think this would be a good idea? I knew it was a horrible idea for me, the introvert, hermit-like, paperwork-hating, nocturnal writer to take a job where I would be surrounded by people constantly, forced to do mountains of absolutely pointless paperwork, and get out of bed three hours after my body clock likes to go to bed? What on earth possessed me to do this to myself?
In the end, I think it was money. I’ve never been financially stable. My family is way below the poverty line. To my family, the poverty line is on top of the Empire State Building, and they’re in the lobby looking at their reflections in the polished floor. And the elevator’s busted. And my mom’s disabled and can’t get up the damn stairs.
This is what I get for greed. Especially because I’m no better off really than I was a year ago. Imagine that; salary goes up, expenses go up. Well, the latter bit is mainly because I had to buy a car. But I digress. Anyway.
EDIT: I kinda hate that I feel the need to include this caveat. This blog is not directed at the sweeping mass of humanity. It is me upset after having been repeatedly put down and insulted by someone–only the most recent in a semi-regular stream of people lining up telling me how to live. This blog is directed only at the people, though faceless to you, who have specifically ripped my life choices apart and belittled me, as well as those who have done the same to people I love. It’s in defense of myself and my loved ones that I wrote this blog. I was hurt and upset and insulted when I wrote it–I had just been called names and put down for an hour straight by someone who made a snap judgment. It wasn’t the first time something like that has happened, and it won’t be the last. I am a writer. I get my feelings out by vomiting them into my fingertips and tapping them on keys. Know all that when you read what’s to follow. And know it’s not directed at you.
Let’s get one thing straight.
I am not now, nor have I never been, prone to insanity. In recent days, acquaintances–not friends; “friend” is a word I reserve for those who truly are–have lined up to express their opinions on my move and the reasons behind it. Specifically, that moving to be closer to my best friend is “nuts,” and that moving at all is “crazy.” Those close to me–those happy few–are ecstatic and supportive.
But this one’s for the naysayers. So if that’s you, perk up your ears.
I have led an extraordinary life. There are two key words in that sentence. Led is one; extraordinary is the other. I have put myself through a private university, traveled the country and the world. And I have done none of that through being timid, nor have I done any of it through being reckless.
I am one of those rare types who sees the world through eyes wide open. I see the world in a panorama, not through a straw. I am one who sees the evident potential in my surroundings, both immediate and far-flung. I am a realist and an idealist.
There aren’t many of us. We’re the ones you call crazy for moving halfway across the country or the world in pursuit of happiness or a dream that exists outside the canvas of your perception. We’re the ones you ridicule and jibe–“What, here’s not good enough for you? Is that it?” For us, the world is at once a great, shining place in its vastness whilst resting easily in the palm of our hands. We go where we feel led, to better ourselves and widen our panorama of sight. We are in a constant state of striving flux–always a paradox that resists puzzling out. We’re dreamers and doers. We do because we dream. We’re rarities, oddities. We see the world as it is, but we live as if the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.*
Our lives are our Art.
We may seem abstract; our motivations may elude you. We don’t fit in your box, and we’ll fight you tooth and nail if you try to rope us and tether us down.
You want to keep us in your box because you fear our success. Our seeming flightiness intimidates you. We weave foreign tapestries with the shimmering places and gleaming people we find on our ways. We traverse our countries and the globe, and that threatens you. Because we do what you will not admit you can. We react to our feelings and the inexplicable tugs upon our psyches. We live an uncomfortable existence, but we live, and we do it the best way we know how.
We understand with perfect, crystalline clarity that nothing worth having or experiencing in life comes easily. We are not easy people to know. We understand that great gain comes from taking risks. We see the potential for growth and movement, and we calculate our paths with careful fluency. We listen to our intuition, and we do what must be done to be true to it.
We gather to us people like ourselves. We lead by example. We inspire. We create. We often start–often purposely–with nothing and build with our every day. We thrive when we beget beauty ex nihilo, when our very existence conceives wonders in its vibrancy, and when we enrich our own lives and the lives of others through how we live.
We move in and out of others’ paths like fish darting in the sea. And we leave legacies when we go.
So don’t mock us or put us down. We may fall on our faces. We may have to wade through the mud before we reach where we’re going. But to us, life is a journey, and we will get there. And you will never see us slinking away with tails between our legs.
We are dreamers who do. We change the world around us. We may change our course, and things may not work out exactly the way we hope, but we are never guilty of failing to try. Our success is born from our struggles, like a phoenix sired from fiery ash.
We are writers, musicians, poets, artists. We are activists and movers. We are the people you can’t quite grasp. We follow our hearts and our ideals, and we live in relentless pursuit of the extraordinary. We respond to the call of the wild.
So don’t try to hold us back. Don’t label us insane or reckless–rest assured, we know exactly what we’re doing and why. We do it because we must. And we must and shall go free. We are who we are, and your approval is neither desired nor required.
i walk. i talk. i shop. i sneeze. i’m gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. there’s trees in the desert since you moved out, and i don’t sleep on a bed of bones.**
*Joss Whedon, Angel
**Joss Whedon, Buffy