I got punched in the face once. It was completely my fault. I was loaded, at a bar, on Halloween. I provoked the girl enough for her to throw a punch right to my eye/freshly pierced nose. What I don’t remember about that incident is whether I threw my drink in her face before or after she punched me.

That night was a really big mess. I drank half a bottle of whiskey, before I even went out for the night. I woke up the next morning in a stranger’s apartment on an inflatable bed. I didn’t have my purse. Upon further inspection I realized that I didn’t have pants on either.

I remember bits and pieces of that Halloween night, the drunken humility, the poor choices, the complete out-of-my-mindness. I remember the next day too, which was similar: Taking inventory of my life, while sitting (still drunk) penniless and keyless on the stairs in front of the post office on 8th and 33rd.

I remember getting into bed that next night at my friend’s house. I was homeless because I had been evicted two weeks before because I didn’t pay my rent. Ever. I was in bed with my best friend, he let me share his room and his bed because I had no where else to go. I hadn’t seen him all day since he was busy at work and I was busy sitting on steps. He looked at my bruised face and asked if it hurt. I told him not as much as the pain of the realization that I was having.

I literally felt like that punch, was a punch in the face from God or the Universe, or whatever. It was a wake up call. It was the first step in my sobriety. Well first step in my second go at sobriety. Having tried it a few months before which led to a pretty intense fall off the wagon which resulted in a 6 week binge.

I was nursing the pain. The pain of not knowing what the hell I was doing. Living a life by not really living, but existing. Being carried by the ebb and flow of the new, exciting big city life. Carried into new experiences and situations simply by knowing new people and joining them on their adventures.

I was in my early twenties and felt like I had no control. I was living a life of circumstance. Circumstances that belonged to somebody else. I walked into my life in New York. Chicago was different. I came here with no money and no friends. I didn’t have any connections when I first arrived. Circumstances are different, results the same.

In a way, I built my life up from the ground here. It once thrived more so than is has lately. There was a time when I was completely content here, more than I ever was in NY, with my own one bedroom apartment and steady job. However, it was a very brief time. Now, I’m at a complete loss. Being in Chicago simply because I can not afford to be anywhere else. And barely able to afford to  be here, really.

If you don’t like the way you look, don’t look in a mirror. Sometimes it really is that simple. Now that I have a goal I get that staying put in Chicago is smarter than moving at this point because from where I’m standing I can really only move forward. However, sometimes it just feels like the everyday innocuous, mundane, do it because you have to is just too much to bear…

Money wouldn’t solve my problems, money would move my problems to a warmer climate. The truth is, existential quandaries aside, I don’t really have any problems. I can’t afford to pay my phone bill, yet I don’t really care and have kind of enjoyed the anonymity that comes with being phone-less. Also, not being able to be disappointed when I discover no one has texted me. See, if this were Twitter I would hashtag the bright side.

Today I just wished that circumstances would actualize another punch to my face. A clear signal that it’s time to move on. Letting go from pain, anger, resentment, fear, heartache, unhappiness or the one you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with is not like letting go of a playground swing- mid air. Emotional let go is a phase of phases. One finger at at time, off the theoretical swing.

So I may be fingerless on the swing, but my ass is still mounted to the seat. That will be the big push. It’s coming.

4 thoughts on “Circumstance-Smircumstance.

  1. I have been in LA for four months and am still building my life here. I resonated with a lot of what you said. I like to think that my problems would be solved with more money. A friend asked what I would do with money if I actually had some. I said I’d pay off all my student loans, and then he said, “No, no, beyond that.” And then I really didn’t know. A better apartment? That answers seemed so silly. But it put me in my place.

    Anyway, I liked this. I loved the, “If you don’t like the way you look, don’t look in a mirror” line.

  2. I have to ask, “What good would moving do?” The things you talk about, “pain, anger, resentment, fear, heartache, unhappiness”… those are all things that go with you wherever you go. The only place they stay is inside you, until you resolve them, get beneath them, knock them out. When I have had to do that it is the support of relationships and “sameness” that gives me the strength to work on the really hard things. Sure, moving somewhere new puts that stuff on hold for a while cause there is the “newness and excitement” to deal with. But as soon as things settle down, all that shit creeps back in. Last time it was with the help of a therapist and some anti-anxiety drugs that helped me to vanquish demons. Sometimes you need outside help to deal with inside stuff. Moving? That seems like an old pattern that hasn’t worked in the past. How can I help? Stand your ground.

    1. I don’t feel alive in Chicago. It’s always been like this. I just miss the rush I had in NY where I was just constantly amazed by people that I met and experiences I had. I don’t have that here. I also don’t have the same support here that I do in NY or California. I just feel like I live in a hamster wheel in Chicago where things are constantly moving yet nothing is changing. There are a lot of inner demons. Most of which I am addressing (it’s a process etc…) Part of it is that I don’t have anywhere in the world where I feel I need to be. That’s pretty sad, to me.

  3. YOu’re amazing my friend! I felt like I was living your life with you! You’re an incredible writer, and have a beautiful quality to bear it all to the world regardless of opinions…good for you! I can’t wait to read more.

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