Saturday, June 11, 2005

...and What it Meaned. Meant.

I believe that Omar was my last link to my high school years, a time when I felt I still had everything in front of me. A time of hopes and dreams that poked through the layers of crap that I lived through at school. A time when I promised myself that if I could just survive until graduation, I’d find a life. Friends. Love. Freedom. Little did I know that I would later say the same thing to myself about College.

If I can just survive this. The refrain of my life.

After college, it was SCAMDA. After that, it was my period of poverty while I tried my hand at auditioning. After that, it was my first job. After that, it was my marriage. After that, it was the Siberian Work Camp. And then the period of uncertainty while I searched for both a job and a new roommate. Then the moving process. Now…

Well, now I’m paying down debt. That’s something to survive, but I don’t feel trapped like I used to. I have a great deal more say over how my days are spent now. I’m not exactly free, but I’m freer than I ever have been.

I was homesick my first year in New York. My heart was broken into dust as I pined for the lover I had left behind. I missed my family, I missed my girlfriends, but mostly I was just scared. The “better life” I had hoped to find after obtaining high school and college diplomas had not materialized, so I had no reason to believe SCAMDA would produce any better results. Oh, sure, it was supposed to be a way to kick your foot into the door of the theatre world, but I never really believed that would happen, and I really didn’t want that anyway. I didn’t know what I wanted, except to live in New York. The academy was just something else to survive.

I grasped at Omar in an attempt to recover something. I was still smarting from the brutality of my peers in my hometown, and yet part of me still wanted to belong there. Omar had known me in high school, and liked me. Maybe I was looking for closure. In retrospect I guess messing around with a stoned actor wasn’t the most mature way to go about this, but I was 23, and for a brief time, all I saw was the nice boy I used to know. It was a way of not letting go.

I didn’t want him to be my new boyfriend, but I was hoping that we’d develop a stronger friendship. The realization that Omar wasn’t even interested in that really hurt. The last remaining Springfieldian in my life treated me like a bar pick-up.

Maybe he was equally disappointed in me. I wasn’t the eager-to-please seventeen-year-old anymore either. When he vanished, I simply let him go, and I let my whole life in Illinois go right along with him. I had severed an important link to my past.

It has been almost exactly 10 years since I hugged Omar goodbye. A recognizable span of time. A circle of feeling is indeed visible in my life right now: Just as in the summer of '95, I am newly relocated, and feeling somewhat lonely, missing my old life, and my old crowd. This dream, perhaps, is a warning to myself.

Right now, I am vulnerable. The scenes at the mall with Omar warn me that no matter how lonesome I may be, I must choose my companionship wisely. I cannot allow myself to be used or taken advantage of, or needlessly expose myself to harm. I say I’m tougher than I used to be, but I think what I really mean is jaded. I expect far less of people. I have G, so the prospect of “hooking up” with someone has lost its appeal, but there are other ways I can be hurt. I already have been, actually, last month, and I was licking my wounds for well over two weeks. I need to be more careful with myself, deciding how much of myself to give to whom, and in what situations.

I think the scenes in the house indicate several things:

I can look ridiculous in many situations. If I’m feeling insecure or scared, no amount of makeup or fancy clothes will hide that, and I ought to stay home and call a friend rather than go out alone. (Mistake #1 that I made last month.)

Many of the things I fear are harmless. If that had been a bee in the room, things would be different – I’m allergic to them. Dragonflies, however, do not sting. (

An insect buzzing around an area where I am having difficulty, in my dreams, is always a symbol that I am in a place that’s not good for me, and I should leave. I imagine, in this case, that refers to my “job.” Ironically, I have no real job now. I’m temping for a really cool company, which I was hoping would hire me for real, but in truth, it’s just a money job. Not that I don’t NEED a money job, but this really isn’t the ideal environment for me. Eventually I would become very bored here, and irritated that I’m wasting my life doing NOTHING BUT paying off my debt. I would, in the end, be counting the days until I could quit this job and pursue something that matters to me. No matter how cool this company is, it would become a burden after a while. Translation: Something else to survive.

Somewhere deep inside me, I have known this for a long time. I’ve been looking to escape the corporations since the end of my last real job. Now that I have the leeway that I do in my life, I’m taking steps. I’m planning to attend an open house of a school in North Jersey where I could get certified into a whole new line of work, independent of corporations. It excites me, it invigorates me, and it calms me at the same time. It’s an idea.

(Some might suggest that the “bad place” I need to escape is my living situation with G. They’re right. We need to get a bigger place. One I can decorate. As soon as I can pay my own rent, I’ll suggest that.)

Interesting note: I was informed this morning that I have indeed NOT been hired at this uber-awesome company. They have hired an outside candidate with a “financial background.” My supervisor was very sweet, explaining how happy they have been with me and my work. I was a touch disappointed… but the overwhelming feeling I had was relief. This marriage wouldn’t have lasted forever, and maybe we both could tell.

I sure am going to miss the free Starbucks though.


Frank said...

By all means, learn from my mistakes and sell out. Get thee to a business school. Do it for others' approval, not for your personal fulfillment.

Glad I could help.

Jess said...

Even if I didn't know you in real life, I'd know from what you wrote here that you're smart and will wind up on the right track. Life has its ups and downs, certainly, but if you felt relief at not getting the job, then you didn't belong there. I'm thrilled that you're looking into something that excites, invigorates and calms you. How many of us have such pursuits to fill our days?

As for Starbucks, anytime you want some, just say the word. I'll buy! :)