Penelope Trunk keeps telling me to write shorter posts. She yelled at me (over email) about how long the Salon.com one was. That was not my fault. But this stuff is, so I’m going to try:
I think I almost had a panic attack the other night. Which is lame, because it wasn’t even. It was just almost. But almost, for me, is pretty bad.
I don’t know what happened. That’s the thing. I really don’t know.
The Salon.com piece had just gone live. My bio wasn’t on it, and I upset, because WHY WASN’T MY BIO ON IT? There were only fourteen comments so far. WHY WEREN’T THERE MORE? I wasn’t even reading the comments. I knew they’d mostly be angry and mean. But I wanted them anyway. What if it flopped? What if no one read it?
But it wasn’t even that. I’d met a girl earlier that day– someone who reads my blogs and wanted to meet me. She was nineteen and totally self-possessed. She was about to embark on this adventure– traveling around the world while working whatever jobs she found and improving her language skills. She was articulate and motivated and clearly unfettered. She was clearly going to be happy no matter what. I am clearly not going to be happy no matter what. I am good at plenty of things. Being fundamentally, consistently happy is not one of them. And I really wish it was.
I think I had a moment of “why do I want the things I want? Do they even matter? Are my priorities all wrong? Do I know anything about life?” I think. I’m not sure.
But suddenly, I was sitting in the corner of the couch, and my heart was pounding so hard I couldn’t imagine it slowing down, and my mind was like fireworks, exploding over and over. I had fallen down into something very dark and deep. And I couldn’t tell Bear, who was already asleep, and who had a really important business meeting the next day. I couldn’t tell him because I didn’t know what to say. I felt shockingly alone. I felt stupid.
And I still don’t know why.
But I thought of this: when I was a kid, I wanted to be a concert pianist. I wanted it so bad that sometimes, when some other kid won a big piano competition, I cried. I wanted to play Carnegie Hall by the time I was sixteen. That was my goal.
That didn’t happen. But by the time I realized it wasn’t going to happen, I had stopped caring about it. Life moves on. Once I sang at Carnegie Hall, in a choir. I was laughing at myself the whole time, because I was standing on that stage, and I didn’t even care.
I have always wanted to prove myself. But when you always want to prove yourself, you sometimes don’t have space to be happy with what you have.
When I got my diploma from Columbia, I walked away, holding it, thinking, “Not like this stupid piece of paper means anything.” I worked so hard for that stupid piece of paper. But once I had it, it didn’t matter. In fact, things suddenly felt worse, once I had it.
I might be wrong, but I think I almost had a panic attack because I realized something about myself. I realized that I am dangerously close to never appreciating the things that I do. I am dangerously close to pushing myself forever, without being satisfied.
And that is a terrifying thought.
(I still play, but never classical music. I can’t face it again yet. Instead, I write my own stuff. Source)
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Unroast: Today I love the way these earrings STILL look. Yup. It’s been three days. Not taking them off. It’s kinda fun to see how they work with different outfits. With all outfits.
P.S. I’m also over on The Frisky, talking about my buzz cut. If you really feel like reading more about my hair.