Time with Me Is Wasted
I’m twenty-something, and I’m bored to tears. I’m bored of sleeping late because I have nowhere to be during the day, of thinking how maybe I’m eating too much and not getting enough exercise. I am bone tired of my loneliness—the newfound appreciation I have for what it is to be cut off—and feeling that, at any moment, my loneliness could manifest itself as a sinkhole ready to swallow me up. And this is not what I signed on for, most assuredly. I am a passionate, motivated person. Dammit.
My friends are an incredibly decent, skilled, ethical, and attractive array of individuals. They care about me. They tell me so. They send me little gifts. I reciprocate. My sisters are very much like me, and different somehow. They’re some of the most aggressive people I know of. I daily wrack my brain about how to better please them. I can imagine what they’ll think of this bout of insecurity. One will say, “All you have to do is please yourself, Miriam. And listen to the playlist I made you.” The other will say, “You should be proactive in creating your future. Make a plan now.” And the oldest is already prone to saying, “You’ve got to take more showers. You smell a little musty.” I just nod. I’m the youngest; it comes with the territory. And they’re not wrong, except as it relates to my bathing habits. That’s highly inaccurate. Sometimes I even smell of lavender and peppermint.
As best as I can figure it, growing pains in the first few months out of college are par for the course. Everyone I talk to says it’s the same for everyone. You’re supposed to flounder a bit. That nightmare where you’ve overslept for the final exam, and the one where the professor never received your essay on the African diaspora of the mid-twentieth century because you never wrote it—those are completely normal. Go ahead and cry. Cry your precious bleeding heart out. No one’s listening. Just make sure that that’s not all you do, that you can stand on your own two feet sooner rather than later.
So I begin adulthood by resenting my body and each accompanying malfunction. Never have I understood the injustices I face better than I do right at this moment, sitting in the identical upright position of the last two and a half weeks (and twenty plus years) and making up something to say. Take my stupid hands. I’m too stubborn to use voice-recognition technology, so that leaves me with the middle finger of my left hand to beat out these letters. My right hand stays balled in a fist most of the time because I neglect to wear the brace. And my legs ache chronically because they barely move. I’ve been known to startle visibly when I hear someone swear, despite the fact that there’s nothing I haven’t heard, or say myself. And all this is just part of the routine; I can certainly make improvements. And I will.
But I keep getting a survey-request from the old alma mater, asking for a characterization of my post-grad experience: what the university prepared me for, what I intend to do with it. And I think about it hard for a minute. I toy with the idea of stating for the record that all I feel compelled to do with my degree right now is drink copious amounts of whiskey and grow out my pubic hair. But I don’t write that. I don’t write anything. And I say to the cat as she licks herself on the chair next to my chair, “At least I can critically analyze my disability. I just thought it sucked before. Now I know the infinitesimal reasons of why and how it sucks, and the historical precedent.” And I can write about it with a particular flare all my own. Oh, and reader, be sure to go back and look for that super-secret inspirational message I impart somewhere in the middle.
Read other writings by Miriam: