apply hope



(Bowery Flea Market. Photo by me.)

First, regarding the title of this post-I found it in a list I made: 1. apply (for some job). 2. hope. I looked at them beside each other and thought, oh. What a nice and necessary prescription.

I’m back in my perch at the Lincoln Center Atrium. This is the first time in over a week that I’ve had any serious amount of caffeine and my insides are all quivery. There’s a tornado watch for New York City. When I was little, I was completely terrified of weather events. Any hint of a thunderstorm would send me into a panic. I’d stand at the front door and watch the trees across the street for traces of upturned leaves. (My grandmother told me that when the leaves were tipped upward, a storm was coming.) I’m not sure what I thought would happen, but whenever there was a storm, I’d freak out.(I also had a serious fear of earthquakes, triggered by a small one that took place on my 11th birthday.)

So maybe I should be heading to a basement right now? Everyone around  me seems to be calm, in that oddly charming and completely disaffected manner of New Yorkers. It’s only been three days since I got back, and I’ve already returned to my pre trip state of perpetual nervosa. It’s weird to snap back in place so easily and quickly, especially when I was so far away, literally and figuratively, a few days ago. There is so much to write and edit and think about and there’s my reading coming up and then I’m gone for two days in the middle of the month. My anxiety feels like something I have to wrestle to the ground and pin. (I am short, so I will likely have to work extra hard at this.)

In Mexico, I spoke Spanish, which was almost always prefaced by me saying, “I’m sorry, my Spanish is so bad.” Usually, I’m nervous about speaking another language, which I think is the result of being brainwashed about grammar for years in high school, but this time, I managed to do it, every day, without fear. I think it was because somehow, as I told P, I stopped being so self conscious.  Once, when I was about to panic over not having the right grammar, he said, “Get out of your head.” I did, it worked. I need that reminder everyday, like a vitamin.

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