I needed it.
I went into town with a friend, a fellow dreamer who I hadn’t seen since before the summer. Together we whiled away an afternoon in a tiny Italian we discovered off Portobello Road. And Internet, we drank.
It was sort of an accident. And yet, I’ve been drinking a lot lately. An awful lot.
It was one of those perfect, unplanned days where one bottle leads to another, and we talked about every.single.last.thing. We used rudimentary Italian with the waiter who decided, with a glint in his eye, that he’d really like “English lessons” and requested my phone number to organise such an event, and as we exited a band was playing in the square opposite and Jack said, “Let’s dance!” and so we did. The moments between flinging my bag to the floor and the first roll of my hips were non-existent. The crowd cheered and applauded. We laughed, and we laughed, and we laughed, and then we left.
I came home to flowers on my doorstep. A note. Laura, no pretence or wank, just this: you’re not okay right now, and that’s okay. We’ve got your back.
I came inside and thanked the culprit, my housemate. She hugged me tight. Repeated the words of her note. And it caught me so off guard, the kindness of it, that I went into my room to lie down, on my side, curled into a ball, and I cried.
It was from the gut. Drunken, yes, but real, from the belly, eyeliner-everywhere-sobs. I thought I was being discreet. My roommates suddenly beside me, rubbing my back and stroking my hair, suggests I hadn’t been as quiet as I’d hoped.
I struggled to breathe.
I felt every emotion it’s possible to feel when you’re three bottles of Trebbiano and an afternoon of re-living of your summer in.
I am sad because of a boy, and because I feel lonely, and really it hasn’t got anything to do with how he doesn’t want me and everything to do with just needing somebody to want me because I’m tired. I’m tired of being strong, alone. I have been so very brave, so for terribly long, and I wonder how much longer I can do it for.
I feel anchor-less. I spent the weekend Googling grad schools (AGAIN.) and jobs in South Korea, and apartment swaps in New York. I have, technically, nothing here. In London. No job, no partner. My friends are scattered across the globe, travel as I do, and my friends here understand my gypsy ways. I’m unsure of my next steps.
Money is running out. I am on the verge of signing a job contract for two months teaching in Russia. On New Years Day I have a flight booked to Bali, for two months doing yoga on a beach. And then, after that? What will I do? What is my life supposed to look like? This book I am writing – birthing – is the single most difficult thing I have ever done. It is laborious and strenuous and what if it is all for nothing?
I really need it to not be for nothing.
I have been disarmed by my new housemate. He is 23, handsome, incredibly smart. His arrival has unnerved me because he is so very hopeful. Fresh out of an English degree at a prestigious university, he is shirts with the sleeves rolled up and glasses and floppy hair. He has come to London to act. His stories are all about the past four years of his life, on that campus, the place that built him. He has the whole world at his feet, and the idea of it is palpable. Obvious. So very apparent. And he is a lovely guy; he'll fit into our home so very well, of that I am sure. But the thing is this: it makes me feel old. World-weary by comparison. Of course, comparison is the thief of joy. I'm no fool. But there is something about this blank canvas he has before him that makes me both already exhausted and thankful that those days of post-university confusion are behind me, and utterly envious of the thousands of lives I didn't live - didn't choose - when I myself was 23.
Danielle LaPorte wrote this week:
You can be deeply certain, and slightly doubtful.
You can be scared, and really, really ready.
You can give it your all, and then give it over to God.
You can have everything to lose and everything to gain.
Love your doubts. Stay awake.
I am utterly beat from being awake. From being so goddamn aware of this journey. My voyage.
I want a long, long sleep.