I wake up to a text from my friend on the west coast about last night’s episode of Girls. Whatever lights his brain on fire is the same kind of stuff that gets me worked up so I decide to stay in bed and stream the episode on my laptop. Then we trade paragraph long text messages about Lena Dunham and witch burning and sexual consent while I am getting ready.
I always sit at my monitor while I eat breakfast and work which is a little crazy because that’s the only time it gets used and that computer is expensive. I spend a minute wondering if I should rearrange my apartment so I want to sit at my desk more. I have a few conversations on Slack and another over text with a different friend who also wants to talk about Girls. We suspect the male writer villain in the episode is inspired by a mutual friend.
I get dressed in the same thing I always wear and do my makeup the same way I always do it. Black leggings, black tank top and a loose-fitting sweater. Tinted moisturizer, blush and mascara. I hate thinking about what I am going to wear so I always wear the same thing. I know some people love fashion and putting things together, but it’s a creative outlet for them — for me it’s something that stands in the way between me and my creative outlet. I want to get to the cafe, I want to be on the internet, I want google docs to be open, I want to write.
Think about it like this: when you are on vacation you are not worrying about what to wear. You put on your swimsuit and a summer dress and you think about the important things, like which pool you want to lay by that day. My goal in life is to live like I am on vacation, so I am going to worry about the everyday equivalent of this, which is which cafe I want to sit in and which music I want to listen to as I am working on whatever project I want to work on.
I grab my work bag and laugh as I fish a bra out of it as I open it up to slide my laptop in. I brought the bag to a guy’s house the previous week because I thought I might go somewhere and write afterwards but I was so tired in the morning I didn’t even put my bra on to come home and nap while watching the entire first season of The Fall.
I go to Urban Bean which is my favorite coffee place in Minneapolis right now. I only work at places that have square tables and this one is also always playing egregious hipster music and the coffee is extremely not Folgers. I get the best combo in the world: large iced Americano and a lime La Croix. I open my laptop and start writing right away. I took an entire weekend away so there is a lot of talking about myself I have to catch up on.
There’s a lot going on at work today, which is unusual. My boss asks me if he can call me “by voice” which is funny and I like it because it denotes that there are so many other ways to speak. I am talking all day long and it is very rarely out loud.
I check my email and feel bad because I forgot to write someone back about skyping them and now I am going to have to skype them from this cafe. I think we are going to talk about porn, which is a really obnoxious thing to do when you are already going to the be the obnoxious person skyping from a cafe. She doesn’t get back to me anyway.
I spend all afternoon sitting and standing in the sun working at a bar in front of these big windows on Lake street which always remind me of that Lizzo song because the music video is just her walking through the neighborhood and being happy. I skim every single article Thought Catalog has published in the last 72 hours. I edit images and schedule them to run on the homepage. I brainstorm a bunch of headlines for a few different pitches our sales team is working on.
I forgot to bring the salad I have in my fridge for lunch so I go home early, right before 5. I make an annoying stop at the grocery store because I’m out of sparkling water. I get home and eat at my desk and take a break to scroll through some websites I read. I talk to a friend about how we have to see Get Out together so we can complain about it and he refuses to see it or even read the think piece I send along “for mental health reasons”.
I’m snacking too much now because I didn’t eat enough earlier and I think about how I have to get a better routine, or at least not constantly forget to bring snacks with me because all they have at Urban are croissants. I finally listen to the new Ryan Adams album while I work
I call my mom back who called earlier when I was too busy to talk. I get nervous the entire time that she is going to express worry about me, but she doesn’t and we have a good conversation. I listen to Ryan’s Heartbreaker album and think about the guy I loved in college who burned mixes on CDs that included some of these tracks. I remember the specific moccasins I was wearing one night while he held my feet at dinner and the path we carved as we walked around that whole town talking and drinking coffee after. I spend a few minutes wondering what I need to do to have the kind of life where an exciting night is getting a coffee and walking through a park and then my mind wanders to why this guy and his wife haven’t had kids yet.
I make myself take a break to read and fill out a chapter of The Chemistry of Joy Workbook my therapist made me buy and hate every second of it but feel immediately better afterwards. I text a friend and tell her she would like the book.
It’s dark now. I light candles and turn on The Bachelor. Usually my friends come over and we drink something fancy, even if it’s just frozen peaches in sparkling water and spend the whole time gossiping and laughing and giving each other back rubs or hand rubs or whatever we feel like. But it gets harder to get everyone together and this week no one is coming over. In my 20’s I thought female friendships were things that grew and expanded forever. Every year was going to get more fun and bring more friends and experiences with them — but I’ve realized it doesn’t really work that way. Everyone gets married and has kids or at least plugs into the energy of those that do and suddenly just getting together on a weeknight is a difficult thing to do. I get to catch up with my best friend over text though.
I read and respond to a very long email from a friend on the east coast who I try to have more deliberate correspondence with than just texting all day. To be fair, we tag each other in at least one Instagram meme a day, but we also write letters and digital letters that are meant to be cataloged at some future date. I always feel calm and satisfied when I am reading or writing letters.
I catch up on the last few episodes of This is Us and cry my eyes out no less than five separate times. I eat a few bites of Halo Top before doing what I always do when I eat Halo Top and remember that most of the flavors are disgusting. I think about how I should get a hobby that isn’t writing because then I won’t be tempted to turn it into work.
I get stressed out and think about what I should have done today. I didn’t go for a walk, I didn’t go to the gym or do my laundry. I wasn’t organized enough about how I spent my time.
But I also think about how I felt better today than yesterday and I will feel even better in the morning. Morning is my favorite time of the day lately which is only true because I don’t feel rushed into doing anything. I lay in bed and stare out the window for hours sometimes and journal or just relax the way I think you are supposed to be able to before going to sleep. But my mind is so much fuller at night.
I am waiting, lately, for someone to tell me what to do. What it means. If I can feel happy and at peace in the morning, why is it so hard at night?
I fall asleep the way I always do. I wish I was touching someone. It’s nice to be alone and open the window up so it’s cold in my room and I am taking up all the spaces I want to underneath my down comforter. But, I wish another person was there as a scratching post. And it’s not about who it is or even that it’s meaningful that they’re there at all. It’s a ritual. It’s something you do with your hands and enough of your mind that you can relax. Like a meditation or praying the rosary.
I was thinking earlier about how Jesus washed the feet of others (and I don’t really like talking about Jesus because then you have to make a disclaimer about how you like the good bible stories but not the bad ones, and you might not believe any of them are real, anyway). He healed people by laying his hands on them. He touched them and they were better. And I have been feeling so bad lately, and I don’t have any faith left, but I keep wanting to put my hands on them and maybe make them better. I fall asleep and feel a little relief with this thought, because it means that underneath everything else that is going on I believe in myself. I believe in the way I can make people feel.