I Exam

November 10th, 2011


For the last year I’ve been pissing and moaning about moving, getting away, running away. I’ve felt as if ¬†I was through with this city, bored, boring and chafing at the bit. Never mind that I didn’t have any other place I wanted to be, no other place to call “home.” I mentally rehearsed living in Hawaii (too expensive), London (too expensive), going back home to Kentucky (too emotionally expensive), anywhere but here. I can’t say that it’s been a bad year in the sense that so many people are having a bad year by losing jobs and homes and hope, but it’s been a bad year in the sense of being lost, wandering, wondering, wishing I could get out of my skin and be someone better, fiercer, happier, less invested in loss. I’ve been working hard at understanding why I feel this way, so flat and foreign. I went through years when I lost my inner ear for music; I just didn’t feel it or hear it or want it. I was like those people who ¬†suddenly lose their ability to taste because of some sort of illness, and when my craving for music returned, I realized what a big hole its absence had left in my life. Now I can’t get through the day without a soundtrack. Rock anthems on the way to work, jazz to rock me to sleep. Just as recently I’ve been able to see again, really see the beauty that I swim in daily. The moon riding high and pale in a blue morning sky, the russet autumn marsh grass, the ruffled water of the harbor, a hidden pond on my drive to work where an egret lives, the in-your-face sunsets that winter bring. Leaving work as the days grow shorter, I suddenly notice the neon theater sign that has always been just across the street, clouds stained candy-cotton pink at twilight, ordinary buildings made mysterious by the coming night, the small but intense satisfaction of plugging in my strings of porch lights when I come home. I’m not ready to say I’ve made peace with where I am, that I’ll never leave, that I don’t long for some nameless More, but like my ability to hear music again, my eyes are opening to what is exquisite all around me. And that is enough for now.

4 Responses to “I Exam”

  1. Nikki, I’ve been experiencing the same sense of ennui as well. I’m thinking it’s something about being my age? Or feeling like there’s so much else I’d love to do…but yes, it is expensive.

    I’m glad you’re seeing the pink candy floss clouds, and perceiving things more brightly.

    Thanks for being so honest.

  2. I’m glad you’ve turned the corner. I wonder sometimes about our culture’s fixation on self-improvement. We’re always struggling to be a better version of ourselves or to find a better version of our life rather than learning to inhabit the life we have and see where it goes…

  3. claire says:

    london is very grey and you are the sunshine it needs.

  4. nikki says:

    Wish I were shining on your street right now!

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