Stream of Unconscious

Often I wake in the middle of the night with thoughts and visions that must be written. A lot of it may seem like mere rambling, but I am a born writer; I need to see what happens to my words once they stare back at me from the pages of my computer screen. Since I am ususally more than half-asleep when this happens, I jokingly entitled the original document: "Stream of Unconscious." Now that I am finally starting to publish in a blog (as so many people have suggested I should do!), I thought the title remained appropriate.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I Hear the Mermaids Singing...

I'm sitting here in my apartment, thoroughly enjoying the simple quiet of the evening, and waiting for the caffeine of the day to wear off. A train passes by, singing its lonely song in the night, and I feel a little envious. I want to go, too.

But I love this. I have grown to love this Tennessee, this mountain range, this little town on the outskirts of the great city of Chattanooga. Even down to this little apartment; I love all of this. Am I really willing to let it all go? But if I choose to stay, what am I giving up, what is it that is out there, somewhere, calling me to come and find it? What is supposed to come next in life? Is there a "supposed to" at all?

No one really knows. People will always give advice, and some of it may even be good, but I've given up on finding someone who really knows what needs to happen next. I guess it's my decision, and I guess I'll just have to make something up and go for it. There are no tracks laid out for me to follow to my next destination, like the train. Only choices, millions of choices, and I guess you just pick some and give it your best. I feel like I've been doing that, though, and haven't been very successful so far. I suppose it all depends on how you measure success.

I spent the morning looking at Au Pair/Nanny jobs in exotic places. I do it for fun, but sometimes it leaves me melancholy. I'll say: "I could move to Fiji!" but I know I'll never do it, and so a little part of me is sad, and I wonder what life would be like if I could live without fear. Beautiful, I'd bet. Life would be utterly beautiful. The kind of beauty that is contagious, unmovable, and thoroughly shocking. We need more of that kind of beauty in this world.

Knowing me, though, I'll take a slightly safer route, and move to Franklin, Tennessee. There is a family there that seems genuinely caring and really just needs someone to help out. I have a couple of good friends in Nashville, which is close, and I wouldn't be too far from my friends here... I wouldn't have the stress of wondering if I'll have enough this month to get all the bills paid. But giving all of this up will be hard. And part of me says, "If you're not going to London or New Zealand or somewhere awesome, is it really worth it?"

I don't know. I haven't really lived enough (and by that I don't just mean long enough) to know what's worth what in this world. I feel like I could stand to learn a great deal by moving some place amazing, some place far away from what I've always known. But it's a huge risk, and I'm not so good at risk-taking.

It would be neat to discover what happens to my writing when I'm somewhere else entirely. I wish I could afford to just go, on my own terms, instead of having to take a job somewhere. I wish I could just visit and see. But that isn't the life I live... at least not yet, so I have to go with what I've got. A lot of people don't get to just travel where and whenever they please, so I shouldn't feel so persecuted... but that doesn't mean I can't wish and long for a better day to come.

Maybe I'll hear back from one of these places I've sent my resume to, and then my decision will be easier. But am I certain I want to stay here? Am I that sure that this is where I want to be, even if I get a better job and I'm able to stay? Do I really want to just lead a "normal" life; find work, get married, have babies, grow old...? There is certainly nothing wrong with those things, and I have wanted them all deeply from time to time (and still do). But... if I could have more... and I'm not sure that I can... but if I could... would I?

There is nothing but silence to answer me.

The train is long gone by now, and I cannot follow. The world keeps turning slowly, this beautiful and sometimes horrifying world, with all its wild places that I have never seen. Some days I wonder if I'm not just measuring out my life in coffee spoons, as T.S. Eliot so eloquently put it...

"I hear the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not believe that they will sing for me..."

I wonder, if you find a way, if you go ahead and move to Fiji, do you find just a different manifestation of difficult, or do you finally find what you'd been looking for all along?


brd said...

One of my favorite poems is by Carl Sandburg. Your post made me think of it. We are all limited in some ways. You are testing your boundaries--determining which are real and which only exist within you. Fear not!

I AM riding on a limited express, one of the crack trains
of the nation.
Hurtling across the prairie into blue haze and dark air
go fifteen all-steel coaches holding a thousand people.
(All the coaches shall be scrap and rust and all the men
and women laughing in the diners and sleepers shall
pass to ashes.)
I ask a man in the smoker where he is going and he
answers: "Omaha."

Aubree said...

if you move to figi, you would be on a high for about 3 months... then you would wonder what it would be like to move to australia, then japan, etc. etc. The thing about life is we struggle with contentment of where we are but the truth is, people are people everywhere. Everywhere has its problems, frustrations and disappointments. It's learning to LIVE where we are that is one of the marks of maturity, I think. I am here in China, and yes I love it, but part of me wonders what it would be like to live in America with a job, paying bills like the rest of my friends and looking for someone to start a life with. Going after one dream always means putting on hold, or sacrificing others.