Everything Has Been Leading Up To This
I turned up Final Song by MØ while sitting in traffic. It was only a few months after crying on the floor about one of the FILL IN THE BLANKS HERE, a few weeks after asking JV to go back to my place and a few days after finding myself in a desert with writing. At this point in my life I had officially been passed up by men (and myself) more times than I cared to count and I had no idea what to do as a writer. The only way I knew how to deal with this after a long day of work was by listening to pop music loudly in my car while crying. Sometimes you've got to turn it up and feel that beat.
For six months I hadn’t been able to sleep. I couldn't figure out why and whatever was keeping me up at night caused me to be wide awake at 3:30am. As I'd lay awake in bed I’d stare at the ceiling and run through a list of men from my past to see if I’d missed something. I became Rob Gordon from High Fidelity and would make a tally of the top five men from my past that I should get with. The skater I knew in college that all the girls had a thing for. That urban planner from the architecture firm I worked at where HR announced my interest in him to the entire office. The attractive European lawyer I went out with that knew exactly what to do with his hands while making out. Although the list changed, I couldn’t have another sleepless night with another sleepless list and stopped by Target after my car cry sesh to buy new pillows. I thought a set of new pillows would fix the problem of waking up every night.
As I walked into Target tears streamed down my face and I didn't care if anyone saw me. People say you know you’re really a New Yorker when you've cried on the subway. There is no LA equivalent to that, but there is a broken heart equivalent to it: you know your heart is really broken when you cry in public and don’t give a shit. Not one shit. Absolutely no shits were given by me in that moment because my heart was broken. I was without love, without writing and without sleep and I couldn’t find a way out of it. No matter what I did I was stuck in a job/non-relationship I couldn't find answers in and in a bed I couldn't find sleep in. With this, I headed to the bedding section at Target and when I got there I leaned onto a display pillow covered in plastic, hugged it tight and said out loud, "I need a drink."
A few months before this I went to a friend’s show with a few people from work. I was into one of the guitarists in the opening band that was playing and wasn’t sure how long to stay through the set because I was on the fence about making a move. When I got to the music venue I grabbed a beer, stood next to my co-worker Jeff and checked my phone every two seconds for a good time to leave. Before I left the lead singer asked the crowd if we were ready for him to drop the beat. When the crowd cheered I finished my drink, crushed my cup and yelled, “Do it already.” I thought Jeff said it at the same time I did. Jeff, in fact, DID NOT say it at the same time I did. Jeff didn’t even say the same thing I did and wouldn’t let me live it down. He mouthed "do it already" to me from across the office any chance he got and every time he did it was like he was reminding me of the very thing I was trying to forget:
Do it already. Live your life already. Be a damn writer already.
The night I bought new pillows at Target I posted a photo on Instagram that I didn’t think twice about and (sort of) went to bed. The post said the following caption: Things that have happened so far this year: I've gotten food poisoning twice, life has been unexpected/busy and I've woken up at 3:30 without fail every night. Tomorrow, l'm coming for you and you better be a new day.
The next day I got laid off.
It was a strange series of events. When I got an invite for a late afternoon meeting I knew what was about to happen. I wasn't about to get laid off because of an Instagram post; I was about to get laid off because everything had been leading up to this. I needed an answer and here it was.
I packed up my desk before my meeting and wasted no time leaving after being handed my last paycheck. I wasn't even upset - I was in shock. For 12 years I thought life had been telling me to be distant from what I want and just suck it up because this is the life I get so deal. Deal with the fact that you have to be aloof and that’s it. Instead, this was really happening. I was walking out the door of a job and life I didn't want and onto the ledge I hadn’t been able to jump off of. This lay off didn’t force me to jump, it gave me the reason to do it already.
I've never slept better.