Blog Archive

hearts. or something.

I finally blew a gasket today. On Kristin's ottoman, barely propped up, heaving and hyperventilating, with the best view that anyone I've ever known personally has had from an apartment. Out to the water, I don't even know if it's the ocean or the sound, a few blocks from where the Denny party landed however many years ago and started this crazy trip for all of us by building Seattle. There were mountains in the background. And there's a miniature Statue of Liberty marking the spot where they arrived on the shore. Seems fitting.

Hi. I live here. And I wish I could convey the tone of that properly, for how huge it is in my head right now.

I do this thing, when I start something new. I can usually see it with jobs, primarily, and secondarily (is that a word?) in relationships. Somewhere around ninety days in, I break. All I can see are all the things I've done wrong, I get frustrated, it's like a giant knot I can't untie that's finally brought me to my knees, screaming, because it feels like I've been working on it for years. And I lose it. And then, afterwards, things are much better.

When I started working at Koffee?, I was so frustrated that I couldn't figure it all out right away. I'd never done any kind of a foodservice job before, because I grew up in my mom's office, and save for flower deliveries for a guy I used to do cocaine with, I've always had office jobs. So how the fuck was I supposed to know how to adjust a grind? And one day, I lost it. I just started crying and it felt like I couldn't do anything right. And what I remember more than that, more than the break, is coming in one day, on Halloween -- and it all had just clicked. I knew how to pull shots. I knew what order to do things in to make five drinks at a time when we had a line out the door. And I never really thought about it again. Except to think back about how awesome that part was.

I'll do the same thing with dating, but that's some sort of nervosa that probably has something to do with my relationship with my father, and I really don't think now is the time to get into that. Let's not, shall we? Great.

Where was I? Right. The breaking. So it's happened at other places too, and if I look at my resume, nothing but good has come as a result. My literal resume, I mean. I started answering the phones at a mortgage company, and six months later I was closing deals. I did that for over a decade. I started pulling shots at a coffeeshop because I wanted to rip my face off from doing mortgage stuff for so long, and six months later I was running the catering department. I may not have a big apartment or money in the bank or a lot of luxury shit anymore, but I have that tangible stuff -- like a crate full of notebooks, spiral bound, lined up. But pre-break -- I literally can't connect to any of that. I know better, I've sat in enough meetings to have learned to process differently, I know all the tricks and the act as ifs and intellect over emotion and all of that -- and I just can't do it. Not for the life of me. Before that break, I'm terrified and freaked out and I feel like I'm on the outside of my skin. Constantly. Like everyone knows, like when you're tripping and you think that everyone knows, but really, you're just walking through the grocery store.

So I've hit my wall here. And on top of that, I hit my wall with figuring out how to deal with a world where my parents don't exist anymore. And how to stay sober in a new place. And how to just get along, all the way across the country from everything I've ever known. I don't see the fact that I've basically got a backstage pass to the city, any time I want it. That I've delved into this pile of amazing people, who, even knowing me in a limited capacity, love me and support me and show up for things for me. They help me move. They come to my art shows. I had an art show! I live in the same city as Kristin! I SHOT DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE. Me. I took halfway decent pictures of Ben Gibbard. The whole Gloria thing happened, but that was like, a cosmic intersect. But it's still on the pro side of the list. I can stop by KEXP any time I want. I've sat on John Roderick's lap. I'm shooting for TIG. I have people. I have a person, you know, Kristin is my person, but I have people in my life, I mean. Real, legitimate stuff. And it's been seven months. And it's amazing. And if I was back in Connecticut, talking about how maybe I would do things in my next life, because I'd messed up (or so I thought, in my head) -- I would be fist fighting me now, for being ungrateful for my hundred and eighty square feet, with cat. Because I can do all of those things, whenever I want to. Because I had freaked my head out bad enough to not be able to deal one night last week and missed J-Rod's writing thing at 826. And somehow, for some reason, I literally can't see. I've backed myself up into the corner, like when I was moving out of the Whitney Avenue apartment and I let ChaCha out to not be trapped in the bathroom while we ran the last load to the new place, and she was so freaked out by it that she couldn't handle it -- the empty apartment, being the it -- and started to wedge herself under the radiator to try and hide. Terror, claws embedded in the hardwood.

So, yeah. The break. It's a big one this time, and I'm going to bet that the awesome is going to be on just as big of a scope. And that I'll look back and remember Valentine's Day weekend, my first one in Seattle, with hair dye and a cupcake and the entire fourth season of Grey's Anatomy on my three days off, when I had plenty of things I should be getting done and off my list, because I knew it would be the end of the hiding out. And it's going to come and catch me when I'm not looking, because it always works like that. The very absolute moment I choose to have faith in the process instead of all those other things I used to act out on, I get this cosmic bounce back from the Universe. I take a step, and it gives me a mile. I smile, it becomes debilitated with uncontrollable laughter.

The Universe, in fact, wets itself. From laughing. With me. But that moment -- it just comes when it comes. I'm hoping it's soon, because I'm pretty fucking wiped out from all of this.

I said to Kristin today, when we were talking about sustaining enthusiasm and infatuation, in a relationship -- that that's how you know it works, when the unbearable need to never be apart settles and the sex happens and the glow of the honeymoon fades -- that's when you know if there's really anything there. When it's all honeymoon, of course it's all good all the time. But finding out if you can talk, and care, and show up for each other -- that's the real part. That's the test.

She said all that part. But I told her that what I needed was for Seattle to talk back to me, to have that late-night conversation in the dark, to tell me it loved me back and that it was willing to do the work just like I was and that it wanted to keep seeing me. For some reason, right now, I feel like Meredith's tragedy with McDreamy, where he's telling her he wants to be old with her, sitting in rocking chairs after loving each other for eighty years, and she's fleeing the scene. Terror. Panic. Wedged under a radiator, or in a supply closet, or under a loft bed in Capitol Hill. Kristin said she didn't understand what the deal was, that it was frustrating to watch. And there's Meredith, plagued by thoughts of him, unable to sleep or to function or breathe, hiding behind sex, wanting everything he wants to give her but being unable to break from the disconnect.

I am Meredith Grey, and Seattle is Dr. Shepard. Seriously. Not seriously, but you know what I mean. I think Seattle is ready to commit, and there's something under my skin that's keeping me at arm's length. I'm reminded of that poem / speech thing where it talks about how the thing we're really afraid of is the greatness, because failing is easy. That we can be our beautiful, unleashed, luminous selves -- that that's the terrifying part. I don't know why, and the math doesn't add up. But it's there.

I think everything I need and want is right at my fingertips. And I hope that I can catch it before total paralysis sets in. And I know I will, it's just so big right now that I feel like I'm supposed to have a reservation, that that line is supposed to read more like, "And I hope I can." I have my proof. I have my crate of spiral notebooks. I have my ace at every job I've ever taken. I have a crew of amazing people, throwing water on me, feeding me oranges, as I'm throwing up trying to get up the last hill, legs unable to carry me one more step. I can see it. I can feel the sidewalk under my hands, and hear the cheering, and I can see the blue sky at the top. And if I have to crawl up that hill, god dammit, I'll crawl, but I'm not going to vag out with a few hundred feet left in this part of the journey. I'm going to walk across into a view I didn't even know was possible.

There's so many parallels with recovery, how I can't even conceive of what's out there after all of this, because I can't even think it yet, because I literally don't know. I can't yet. In the right way. And just like the biggest, most epic tragedies and hard situations in my life have been -- I've said it to people, to other women in difficult relationships, over and over and over -- that for everything that's really hard, that as hard as it gets is as good as it gets when it finally shifts. The pendulum swings evenly, just as high on the other side.

And if that's true, this is going to be fucking awesome.

I'm going to go get a few episodes in, because I'm starting to get the feeling that just by the very act of everything that's gone on today, that the break will be here sooner than I think. Gosh. I just thought about my life, and what I was doing on my six month anniversary here, and all that shit that's happened -- Connecticut me would definitely be slapping me in the face something fierce right now. Like, hair pulling cat fight kind of shit.

Wow. Okay. Wow. I'm going to go.

[Wow.]

Thank you for taking my call. Dot com. (I saw this, live, when the big blackout happened in the City, and it was poop-in-your-pants funny. Just sayin'.)

V.

Victoria Uhl