Monday, September 22, 2008

The Fear Factor



New York City presses down on you with all the weight and force of the myth and mob that is New York City while the reality of it bites at your heels.

It takes a certain amount of Aggression, Ambition and Drive to succeed here. Ambition has been dormant, afraid to fail amidst everyone else's success. Drive is in neutral, idling calmly as she waits for an open road. And Aggression is aggressing in all the wrong places.

Nearing the end of a 9 year stint in the military, moving forward into the second year of post-undergrad with no grad school in sight, I find myself without the safety net of an institution. All my choices have a heft that was not present before. It is no longer practice decision making in college classes or Drill Sergeants who make the decisions for me.

For the first time, I am working a job that I cannot afford to lose yet I certainly do not want to turn into my career. An actor who waits tables is fine, but a waiter who auditions is not going to satisfy Ambition, my sleeping beast. Of course at this point I am a waitress who doesn't audition which could be why she is too bored to raise an eyelid in my direction these days.

For the first time, the man in my bed is not just present, he is future too. It is not that we both live in the same place so let's see how things go. It is actively choosing to stay in the place where we both are. There is nothing else to keep us here, no careers or family. And so the relationship takes on a level of intensity both because of how we feel for one another and also where we are in our lives. In deciding to bind our paths together we are limiting the directions we may travel but gaining a partner for the road.

Perhaps this sounds negative. I am just becoming aware of how each choice affects the next set of options. As of yet, I am without regret. More than that, I am happy. But this burgeoning comprehension explains my inability to make a choice. To choose a path, to unleash my energy and focus. Whether it is acting or writing or something involving an office and health insurance. Once I choose, what will be crossed off and no longer an option?

And still my beast, she sleeps.

Drive, with no Ambition to spur her on, purrs along the path of least resistance, learning about food and wine in order to succeed as a waiter. This will do for now, till someone presses the gas...

And Aggression. Aggression jostles the morning commuters on the subway. Aggression hates New Yorkers in the morning. Aggression speeds up and cuts through the crowds on the sidewalk. Aggression picks a fight with Boyfriend. Aggression turns on me.

I am frozen with fear. My next move, unmakeable.

Then the summer heat breaks. The breeze whispers into the Village on a Saturday morning as we stroll hand in hand up Broadway and the rock hard shell I have been encased in crumbles around me. The cool air prickles my brittle skin and my pace quickens. We buy vegetables at the Greenmarket and wander from booth to booth talking about nothing of any importance. Eventually we descend into the subway, catch the L home to Brooklyn and curl up with the New York Times.

I stop feeling sorry for myself while my beast...

she stretches catlike and growls.




6 comments:

roadlittledawn said...

I like me a cold, hard New York City winter.

Heat11her said...

I love this...your words make me want to cry...

CareBear said...

Meeowww ...

JesHayes said...

Streeeeeeeeeeeeetch

TheLen said...

For what it's worth, I've been having a good time lately un-crossing-off things and rediscovering options. I'm not sure I'd recommend the path I've taken, but it's still comforting to be reminded that the options never completely disappear. Rather, they simply move to the wings and wait to be called upon. Hell, I'm even writing again -- sometimes.

Jon Capcik said...

We are living two completely separate lives, but probably feeling the same way. We are both waiting for something to give us a little shove. My ambition and my drive are all but gone - and I don't know how to get them back. I have realized that only I can get it back, and I sure as hell shouldn't be waiting around.

But here I sit...