The tattoo I had inked in Prague is just about healed. The memories grow fainter each day. The habits and monotony of pre-Europe continue to fall back into the slots they have claimed in my life. The joyous bits—the bits I wanted to pull from my chest, place them on a table, and point to each one exclaiming my happiness—are giving way to the anxiety of hour-long commutes and troublesome clients. The excitement has faded to the juxtaposition of that feeling.
We all knew this would happen. That high you get from extricating yourself out of yourself, out of the comfort, out of the dullness, is inevitably replaced by the ghost of your life from before. The more significant problem is now you know what’s out there. Now you know that the life you’re living isn’t as big or as lovely or as fulfilling as the life you had a glimpse at. The life that is just out of reach. Yes, this may be dramatic, but I’m a girl with wild emotions; indulge me, please.
I tried to get back to that life. I decided to move to Prague on a more permanent basis. Yet, I failed at an interview with a tech company over there. The kind email that came back from the HR department said I was a lovely human, but my technical skills weren’t in line with their needs. Admittedly, it was a blow to my ego, to the dreams I had been living in my head. And I knew, just as soon as the tech portion of the interview was over, that I wouldn’t be offered the job (tech interviews are funny; they rarely indicate how good of a programmer someone is). I’m horrible at coding while being watched and critiqued.
My hopes had been raised. I thought of how much writing I did on the Europe trip. I thought of how inspired and joyful I was to be in that city. I thought of how utterly crazy and amazing it would be to entirely pick up my life and move to a country where I didn’t know the language, didn’t know the culture, and couldn’t wait to meet it all. Plans cannot be made around dreams, this I know. But it was a way to hold on to those fleeting, effervescent memories from a few weeks ago. It was a way to picture my life so different than what I had come back to, to what I am currently in the middle of.
Funny how a rejection, even one as nice as the one I received, can still mow me over. It’s that proverbial ball that got kicked and builds up speed and dirt and grime and detritus. That ball is at my feet, and each time I look down, there’s a memory of feeling useless and unloveable and unwanted and a bunch more uns that I don’t have names for but instead just have the feelings of.
I am not a depressed woman, but my worth is always up in the air. It is still something I have to battle with to remind myself that I am worthy of a self, that I am worthy of someone else to love me, that I am worthy of a job, a career. Or hell, just that I’m worthy of a warm bed with the Pugger nestled against my side.
My thoughts now, instead, turn to the tunnel vision of my life here. No, I haven’t given up but haven’t I made it clear that my highs are high and my lows are low? I have a wild heart yet a practical mind, for the most part. This too shall pass, as it has been told to me. Everything is temporary, and the only constant in life is suffering; isn’t that what the Buddha said? Or was it change is the only constant in life? Either way, it’s still shit. I want change. I want something different. And once I get my feet back under me (hey, I’m headed to DC this weekend), I’ll get up, figure out the next step, and move forward.
For now, I will sit with the disappointment and the lost dreams. Because I know I will find new ones. They will take the shapes I have yet to find words for. They will appear in perhaps a few days, in a few months; please God, let it not be a few years! This I will sit with, amongst the detritus and filth and observe it all. It’s okay to get knocked down, to have something not happen (or something happen when it wasn’t expected or wanted) because our characters are defined by how we react to outside events.
Disappointment hasn’t ever stopped me. It’s given me pause, for sure, and even questions. But it’s never stopped me (well, at least not in my more mature years. I can’t be too harsh on my younger self; she was one fucked up kid).
Here’s to sitting with the icky bits. Let it fuel the next—well, next whatever!
Image of a sunset outside my front door, taken by me.