Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Floating in the Dark, Temporary Scars

Clearly, I'm not always full of sunshine and rainbows about my move back east.

But Boston has one thing.

Nearly every night when I walk home in the oppressive dark, I look up.

And there, beyond the tree-lined edges of my view, are stars.

After almost two years without, stars are a welcome presence.  I've missed my friend Orion, and Cassiopeia's regal throne.  I see the chained Andromeda, and I feel free.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

More than a Feeling

When Taylor and I were preparing to come to Boston, it was with the giddy excitement of children waiting for Christmas.  Look at all those brick buildings!  Look at how palpable the history is!  Look at the leaves, the seasons, the air, that crisp East Coast feeling we've created from books and songs and movies!

When we got to Boston, that blown-glass image shattered fairly quickly.  The apartment full of light and hope wasn't ready for us when we got there, and instead we were greeted with paint cans and drop cloths and an infestation of crickets.  We slept on an air mattress, dying in the heat, lost and confused in a city that was much further from our dream than we had realized.

That was two months ago, and while we've gotten our bearings a little, it's come at a cost.  The autumnal spirit here is as beautiful as we imagined, but we can't enjoy it.  School started quickly and fiercely, and my life has become a long line of T rides to the COM building and back to the little house in the suburbs, removed from the bustling, shining city of promise.  Taylor's life I can only imagine, after spending a month in a ridiculously oppressive work environment, and now returned to long, empty days in a long, empty apartment.

There are days where I love Boston.  Where I look at my "Why I Like it Here" list and feel calm, remembering the large rocks at my T station, the smushed, Irish-looking faces of Southies on the street, the bookstores and cobblestones and abundance of graveyards Downtown and in Cambridge, the trees that create tunnels of orange and red.

But far more often are the days when I think I won't ever stop hating myself for bringing us here.

Education is a terribly selfish thing.  When I was doing my undergrad, I used my selfishness like a badge of honor.  I would look at all those poor little engaged girls I knew with pity.  They were squandering a prime opportunity in their life. When else would you have an excuse to just be concerned with yourself?  When else can a person be wholly self-absorbed in their own learning and growth?

When I decided to go back to school, it was after I'd gotten married and had halfway tried on a career for size.  It seemed like the time to do this.  I had always wanted a masters, I felt like I had to give this writing thing a try, and it was now or never.  Taylor was more supportive than I could imagine, pushing me to make this decision for me and for me alone, assuring me that he would follow me anywhere and that our family would flourish wherever I chose to go.

I don't think he knew what that was implying.  I don't think either of us did.

He couldn't have seen the gut-wrenching loneliness that would occur.  While we knew moving was hard--the first time we moved to Seattle almost destroyed us--I think we thought we had grown.  We had each other now.  We knew how to work as a team.  We had qualifications and life would happen quickly.   Ha.  How naive.

Instead, I found myself regressing into the selfishness of schooling.  This grad school experience was a chance to redeem myself as a student.  It was a chance to finally push myself, to stop being lazy and see what happens when I exhaust all my potential.  Even though I'm studenting better than ever, the extreme soul-crushing guilt that I inflict upon myself when I don't live up to the impossible standard I'm aiming for is incredibly destructive.  It leads to a weariness and disappointment I couldn't have foreseen. And while I'm concentrating on how to school better, I can't ignore the fact that the house is in disarray, that I'm cooking dinner less, that I'm not being as caring and tender with Taylor's emotional needs.

Which makes me feel even worse.  Thinking about what I've done to Taylor.  I can't help but think about what life would be like if we stayed in Seattle.  Seattle, the gloomy, wonderful jewel of a city that we idiotically couldn't get away from fast enough.  If we were in Seattle right now, I would be teaching.  And I would probably be loving it.  If we were in Seattle, Taylor would have a job.  He'd be able to practice, he'd have spent the past two months making money and ticking off licensure hours, each week coming closer to the dream he's harbored.

Instead, I took us away from financial and job security, and dragged us across the country, to a place that might be breaking us.  That's a whole ton of guilt to be living with.  The dream of Boston has shattered, and now I'm wondering how to make the pieces fit together again.