48 Days

Philadelphia was amazing.  East Coast Medical School?  Also amazing.  I mean that in the literal sense.  I spent 6 days feeling happystunned.  We saw a lot of apartments, and got to know the city enough for me to have a sense of how to go East, West, North and South.  This is something I never figured out in Small Midwest City, and something that's been a thorn in my side the whole time I've been here.  The kids loved it, and were rock stars the whole time we were there. 

What was particularly gratifying was how comfortable I was everywhere I went.  My social anxiety was still there - it always will be, I think - but it was manageable.  People were kind, and the people at my school had the same dorktastic way of being in the world that I do. 

Our neighborhood is described as "up and coming," (read: gentrifying).  Our condo is brand-spanking-new and very modern - premuch the opposite of where we're living right now.  Do I feel weird about being part of a gentrification problem?  Yes, yes I do.  More on that when I've thought it through.  But I like the neighborhood, and it genuinely inspires me on a lot of different levels.  I think we'll be really happy there.

Happy is an emotion this whole family is exploring, and it is such a relief. Here, let's nerd out on it for a minute.



We're going to Philadelphia for a little less than a week to look around, get oriented, visit the school, maybe buy a place.  I'm excited, but as the days tick down, some of the anxiety is creeping in, too.  All I can do right now is holster up, put on my pants-of-bad-ass and put the intention out that I want this to work.

I want out of here.  Five years here was far too long for my psyche, and I think it fundamentally changed the person I am in some pretty unflattering ways.  Being here made me desperate, and worse, comfortable with that emotion.  I have, at times, been lonely beyond comprehension.  And then I became bitter and intolerant, and I don't even know if I know how to be soft and brave about myself anymore.  I've tasted real hatred here, and haven't found a way to put it down entirely.

So I'm looking forward to becoming more outward reaching again.  One of the required things at my new school is weekly service to the community that is not medically related.  Two hours a week.  I'm already maxed out, so at first this requirement - even though I understand and agree with its purpose - gave me pause.  It's two hours away from my family, and away from the other things I enjoy doing.  But now I look forward to it with a feeling of relief.  It's a chance to expand and engage in the world, and to give away parts of myself that are meant to be given away.  I miss that.  I miss doing that, and I miss being that kind of person.  The worst part, the thing that causes me the most shame, is how selfish I became.  You know how foot fungus will grow into your nail bed, and you won't notice until BAM, now your toenail is falling off and, well, that escalated quickly.  That's how I became a selfish prick.

My back hurts today, because I got a big part of my tattoo finished on Saturday.  A black wing peeks out of the collar of my t-shirt now.  I think I would have gone crazy in these last few months if I hadn't had something like that to obsess on and look forward to.  I only have one more sitting to go. 

I played the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata on the baby grand in the atrium at Midwest Medical School, and only made one little mistake.  It felt like I was taking a test. 

The dental surgery is almost done, too.  One more, and that journey will pretty much be over. 

I take motorcycle lessons in May. 

Our house sale closes tomorrow.  Our bills will be entirely paid the next day. 

And then we go to Philadelphia...

Turn the page. 

I am right now in a massive process of preparing for the rest of my life, I think.  Yoga, tattoos, putting down the cigarettes for good and forever, daring myself to be as agile both mentally and physically as I was 20 years ago.  It's hard, though, because I feel old age's breath on the back of my neck, and I can see it in my face.  All that hardness that I learned here makes my bones crack, gives me a dowagers hump, sets the black circles in place for all time.  It siphons away my dignity, too, and what sucks about that is that it's a choice I'm making.  I don't want to feel humiliated anymore, or worn down by the demands of thoughtless people.  Being stiff is a good way to do that.

All of this relentless anger and frustration is killing me, the who I am.  I need restoration at the hands of solid - not stiff- people.