Well, it’s been a minute. Hours away from the end of July, and I haven’t written anything more complex than a cover letter since the first week of the month. I tried posting something about imposter syndrome, but as I wrote, I began to despise each preceding sentence, and somehow, it vanished from my drafts folder.
All the while, I was collecting a healthy share of rejection letters: three from online publications, one from a potential job, and another unanswered email thread about position for which I interviewed twice, over five weeks ago. To make matters worse, we returned from our scouting trip to California without any prospective homes.
This has been h-a-r-d for me, and I needed a break. I needed a break from my own voice. I needed a break from the effortful search writing requires – the mining of the soul. I needed more time in the day to cover dishes in bubble wrap, to call utilities companies to cancel service, to organize book donations, and to dismantle the home I had lovingly organized for three years.
On Sunday, we left New York. Closing the metal door to our little flat for the final time was tougher than I imagined, knowing that we will never physically return to that first home in the same way, if ever again. We said goodbye to the place that marked a whole chapter of life for us, where we moved in together, got engaged, got married, embarked on our first year of marriage. We said goodbye to the city that carried us (sometimes begrudgingly) through new jobs and graduate school.
July was full of emotion: sadness, self-doubt, melancholy, motivation ebbing then flowing. It was, therefore, thick with confusion – thoughts of hope, regret, and disappointment swirling together. Now, the next chapter begins with emptiness, or an uncharacteristic lightness. Our belongings are stored in boxes, on a truck bound west. I am not employed. We have no new home yet. We are leaping without a net.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a two part series on making the humanities the matter of my education and how by choosing these disciplines deemed impractical by most, I was swimming against the cultural current. The flip side is that when things like, say, the job search, do not go as well or as easily as hoped, shame starts talking, which as Brene Brown discusses, takes two fundamental forms: who do you think you are and you’re not enough. Perhaps something more practical, popular, tangible would have been wiser, would have produced more meaningful outcomes. Perhaps other people have known better all along.
Days before our move, Jack and I ran into one of his former work colleagues on the street. She said, “So, now you’ve graduated right? What are you doing?… You’re on vacation!” It certainly has not felt like I’ve been “on vacation.” Her frankness and presumptions, however, reminded me that this gap, despite being filled with a cross-country move and job search, is still precious. I may never again have this sort of space to reflect, discern, and pivot. I may never agin have the time to sit with, watch, and understand the emotion that rises.
I will undoubtedly continue refreshing my email inbox, hoping for a new and surprising response, but in the absence of answers, I hope – even more – that I do not waste this pause… for it may be that the waiting is what will bear the meaning.