Monday, August 29, 2011

Be What I Set Out To Be

I have been such a miserable bitch for the past two months. Honestly, I don't know how anyone could stand me. I know I haven't been able to stand me so goodness knows how everyone else could.

I was on the phone last night with someone who knows me very well, someone who'd reached out to me because my twitterfeed read like a Greek tragedy and while they were supportive and encouraging they imparted some tough love: "What are you talking about, Alice? All isn't lost. This is a terrible attitude, really really sad and you can do better than that."

I realized then that they were right. (Yes, Jax, you have that in writing) I CAN do better than that. I've spent my ENTIRE life doing better than that and have no idea why I've let myself slip into to this dismal abyss. But the GOOD NEWS is that as of today I'm stopping. I am no longer going to be a wretched wench, I am going to start focusing on the positive and revert back to the enigmatic and enthusiastic firecracker that you all know and adore.

I am doing this not only because I know that my family, friends and boyfriend are sick of my morose attitude, that it is making me unattractive to be around but also (more importantly) I am tired for wallowing in a melancholy existence. It's exhausting and pointless and not who I am, and it's certainly not who i want to be.

Life is unpredictable, and the more one does the more of a roller coaster it can be. I've CHOSEN to live in a fast moving and dynamic world. I follow desire, crave excitement, and seek adventure. In doing so, I've relinquished the possibility to be normal and consistent. And while this is frustrating and isolating at times, I can't deny that that world I have built for myself is interesting.

I could focus on the negatives: not feeling fulfilled, being far away from home, feeling isolated from my family and loved ones, missing my boyfriend. or I could look at my life and see what everyone else sees: I am healthy; I have a solid job, that pays well, gives me independence and authority, and provides me with exceptional opportunities that i would most likely not be able to have elsewhere; I have collected friends from countries all over the world, with unique perspectives and fascinating approaches who i am constantly learning from and truly cherish; I've worked in some of the most electric cities in the world giving me a unique perspective and an edge in life; I never run out of things to to talk about; My family is a blessing; I adore and am inspired by my boyfriend who effortlessly compels me to be a better person while lighting up my world; I travel constantly and I'm thrown new opportunities regularly.

So i apologize to everyone who has been subjected to the dejected version of myself in the past six weeks or so. I know it happens and we can't be "on" all the time but still, I am ashamed of myself really for getting that way...and am really looking forward to having my spark back.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When Your Run's Over Just Admit That It's At It's End

When I applied to law school, my father, who is a lawyer, sat me down and asked me why I did it. I didn’t have an answer. I guess I did it because I am smart, knew I could get in and do well, and like education, I certainly didn’t do it because I wanted to be a lawyer. Upon hearing this, he urged me to reconsider my decision. “I will,” he said, “Support you in any decision that you make. But I would prefer it if I knew you were doing something that made you happy. I don’t care what you do, you can become a lawyer, a politician, a truck driver, an interpretive dancer, a dog walker, any career you chose will be noble and you'll be a success. The only thing I ask of you is that you find your passion. That you do something you love, and you maintain your integrity and kindness whilst doing it.”

Six years later, they haven’t changed their stance. My parents are fully committed to support me, so long as I remain a good person and am happy. I’ve switched jobs and moved and made mistakes but they’ve simply told me that this is a part of life, that sometimes we need to know what we don’t want to find out what we do, that the little picture will make up the big picture. That nothing is wrong if I’ve learned from it. The gratitude I feel for them can not be properly defined in words, they have let me discover who I am and what I want for myself, never imposing their beliefs but always being there if I need them.

Keeping up my end of the bargain has proven more difficult than I initially imagined. Maintaining my integrity has been easy, it’s the being happy thing that hasn’t. I am a difficult person at times. I am, for the most part, the ultimate idealist, yet I’m also difficult to win over. I tend to compartmentalize my life, keeping things organized and controlled, making sure that nothing or nobody can get too close.

I’ve realized that my main problem in life is my emotional connection to things, whether it be a job, a city, a friendship, or a boyfriend. Initially, I am reticent by all accounts, I take my time to warm up to things. I won’t allow myself to connect. I observe. I wait…and then I dive in. There is no middle ground for me, it’s all or nothing. I embrace, and commit to the highest degree. I go from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye and this seriously hinders my ability to be happy. Because it's impossible to keep up and I always end up disappointed.

Oh, I’m happy for a certain period of time. It’s easy for things to be perfect and wonderful at the inception, but my issue is that my idealism gets in the way of reality. That nothing is actually perfect, that just because I’ve deemed something worthy of exploring doesn’t mean that it’s going to make me incessantly happy. That there are ups and downs, that there is a reason people ease into things. Jumping in the deep end won’t teach you how to swim. My inability to wade into the situation means that when i fall, I fall hard.

Another problem is my unfailing loyalty. Once I have committed to something, it’s almost impossible for me to walk away from it, despite if it’s no longer making me happy. It’s a struggle I’ve faced quite often since that talk with my father, because I don’t know what to do once I stop being happy. I feel like I’ve failed, the persistent soul in me wants to fix things, wants to make it work, wants to prove it wasn’t all in vain but in the back of my mind I remember promising myself that once something stopped working, that once it started making me more sad than happy that I’d walk way. That life is too short for anything else.

It’s easier said than done. I knew I had to leave NYC and while I did eventually, there were many instances that I almost pulled the plug. I have dated people for months, YEARS too long because despite being unhappy and knowing it was wrong, I didn’t want to look all of that effort in the fact and throw it away.

I am at a crossroads now because I am watching the life I have built for myself crumble all around me. I am questioning every decision I’ve made in the past six months, and having difficulty accepting that some of them have turned out to be mistakes. It has become blatantly apparent that I am no longer happy with pretty much EVERYTHING about my current situation (even the things that used to bring be joy) yet I feel like a failure quitting or moving on. I think it makes me weak. I hate being weak and I hate being wrong. But what I’d hate even more is feeling like I am wasting my life or energy on things that no longer are right for me.

I know I sound like a spoiled, pathetic brat who is slightly unhinged. Perhaps, these days, I am. But I also blame the extremity of my emotions to the fact I feel completely isolated and alone here, that I have an inability to open up and express myself, that I am not sleeping at night and that my heart is broken.

If anything, maybe this post will help people feel better about their own lives because at least they aren’t as pathetic as mine. ;)

I’ll pick myself up, I’ll move on, and I’ll rebound on to the next thing like I always do.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Passing Feeling

I am going through the motions. It's a feeling I am familiar with, one that is utterly dangerous for me and my current existence. It evokes a sense of panic in me, this notion of stagnancy. As soon as it hits I wildly plan my escape. Nothing is safe.

It began about a month before my holiday to London, which, by the way, was incredible. I've always been in love with London and unwavering sense that it's where I belong. Some of my happiest memories in my life have taken place there. I don't really know how to put it into words really, about why I need the city, about why I can't live without it, or why I am alive there in a way there that I am nowhere else. It is the only place that I have been 100% truly happy. I have always related more to my British heritage. All I know is, all of my life, it's as if everything makes sense when I am there.

The city itself offers everything that I can get in NYC; a fast paced dynamic environment, culture at my fingertips, excitement, exorbitant prices (hehe) but it also offers a few things that NYC doesn't...a deep rooted sense of contentment and belonging that comes with years invested there and, of course, my family. I guess those two go hand in hand. In London, I have the best of both worlds...the city and everything it has to offer and the comfort and security of family. I realized how much I miss the little things, things like popping round for tea with people who have known me my whole life, who understand me, who I can just BE with. Something I couldn't get in NYC despite being surrounded by friends I'd known for a decade or so. London has been a part of my life since my first trip there at the age of two months, and my relationships there are beautiful, genuine, and effortless. It is the only place in the world that I could never give up, that I will never walk away from.

I am good at that, walking away. I've always said that I'm not, but the more I examine my life the more I realize that I might be (initially) reticent to dive into new waters but once I'm in, I never look back. That my entire existence is temporary. No matter how attached I seem to anything I have a remarkable ability to not only leave it behind and move on at a lightening pace.

Not for the the first time I seriously look within and worry that something is deeply wrong with me. I become so enamored with the RIGHT NOW and throw myself in it until it stops becoming fun, until I've gotten everything I can from it and then one day the glitter wears off and all I can think of is what the next thing is. What will captivate and fulfill me. I am struck by the irony that despite being a loyal and dedicated individual there seems to be an underlying sense of lacking the ability to truly commit to anything, mainly myself. I've often felt like I keep chasing the impossible.

Until recently.

Being in London changed things for me. As I said, when I am there, things suddenly make sense, and this time was no different. I was struck with bolt of clarity about what it is I want and what I need to do to get it. My life plan is no longer a tangled mess but has a straight path. How long it'll be until I start down that path is another story, but I've started carving it out.

In all honesty, I have known that I'll end up in London. I've spoken about it my whole life, and unlike every other life plan of mine, this one hasn't changed. No matter what I've done or where I've lived, London was always in the back of mind, and it wasn't a question of if but when. To an extent, I have always resisted living there for more than a few months at a time because I knew once I set up a life there that I'd probably never leave. I knew that I had a nomadic restless element in me that I needed to get out of my system. I needed to explore and DO THINGS. I wasn't ready for any kind of permanence in my life, the kind of permanence that London will bring. Perhaps I'm still not, I may have a few years left of wandering about and exploring before I board that one way flight to Heathrow. However, what I do have now is a sense of knowing what I want. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, or perhaps I never quite realized the value of family before, I don't know. All I know is that I finally know what I want, where I belong, and what I can't live without...

(even if it takes me another several months or years to get there)