an outright and facetious luxury

This is a road that cuts through "The Empty Quarter," a portion of the desert in the UAE. It's a vast expanse of exactly what you see here: sandy dunes. I am posting this picture because I can't figure out what else to post alongside bedazzled animal skulls (see below) and angst.
This is a road that cuts through “The Empty Quarter,” a portion of the desert in the UAE. It’s a vast expanse of exactly what you see here: sandy dunes. I am posting this picture because I can’t figure out what else to post alongside bedazzled animal skulls (see below) and angst.

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve written.

See, there’s this thing that happens when you move to a foreign country where all of the unique and exciting and exotic experiences you have suddenly become…just part of your norm. Yes, it’s still wicked hot, and yes I went to a brunch last weekend (all you can eat sashimi and unlimited champagne…heaven), and yes we’re back to the full swing of things. Which means busy with work and grocery shopping. This past weekend, we did visit the Fruit & Veg and Plant Souks (markets) down by the port, and picked up a boatload of produce (mangoes, bananas, pumpkins, green beans, onions, garlic, strawberries) for like $10, and three big, healthy, leafy potted herbs – basil, rosemary, and mint – for about $7. That was exciting.

Well… we did also see this:

Damien Hurst's new challengeWe went to the International Hunting & Equestrian exhibition in Abu Dhabi the other night, where we saw lots of tricked-out RVs, jet skis, stuffed hunting trophies, lots of guns, and a bedazzled antelope skull. Which is really going to redefine my whole decorating plan, because I’ve requested one for Christmas this year. I’m almost positive I’m going to get it.

But, mostly, our days suddenly feel more normal and less…not normal. We’re deep into marathon training (although I lost two weeks for a stress fracture which is finally sorting itself out), and have booked our travel to Athens, Greece for said marathon in November. It still feels pretty far away – both chronologically and in terms of mileage. We’re still on the lower end of long runs, and although our running coach beseeched us to not “look ahead” at the training program, it was hard not to and I sort of freaked out when I realized I needed to work 4 hours of running into my day. That’s a long time to do anything. When was the last time you did 4 solid hours of a single activity? (Oh wait….unlimited sashimi and champagne at brunch….yeah, that was about four hours.)

All of that aside, I am trying to refocus on writing in a way I haven’t in a very long time. I used to write so freely and candidly, but that was in my early days when I didn’t realize that The Internet Is Forever, and Yes, Your Boss Is Reading Your Shit, and So Is Your Mother. I read some of my entries from back in the days of LiveJournal (circa 2003-2004) and am amazed at how brazenly I bitched about life – I mean, my roommate was RIGHT THERE, my professors were ACTIVE USERS OF THE INTERNET, and the Internet is PUBLIC. But what also amazed me (pardon me while I brag about myself, but) was how quick, sassy, and tight that writing was. I am envious of that part of my life, when I didn’t give a damn. When I just wrote to write and without the constant worry of what others thought of me and what that kind of vulnerabilities might be opened by it. Granted, there are some valuable lessons to be learned about Not Putting Your Whole Life On The Internet,  but not to the point where you sit down and find that the one thing you so desperately want to do feels nearly impossible under the weight of all of the anxiety of What Others Think.

I like to capitalize Things That I Feel Are Important.

In seeking to find a balance between honest writing (which, let’s be truthful, is usually far more biting and interesting than carefully crafted and edited pieces where all of the rawness has been scraped out) and being able to live an honest life, I’ve gone through many iterations of blogging. The one thing that seems to hold water is that I do still really love blogging, partially because, right now at least, it’s the only real audience for writing that I have.

I think this is a journey that will continue. I had thought, in turning 30, that I would be filled with some kind of security and brazenness that would bring me back to that original, fearless writing that I loved to do and that – frankly – people loved to read. But the opposite has happened: with each passing year, I’m more and more reticent to open myself up to the world in this way.

I’ve even – gasp – tried fiction. It doesn’t come easily, and it doesn’t come prettily.

But I’m committed to working through this stalemate I’m at with my fear that, eventually, the entire world will see that I’m kind of a crazy person who is quick to anger and for whom Zen has and never will be any kind of default. That I’m often wrong, that I Sometimes Exaggerate Ever So Slightly, and that it’s an impulsive habit of mine to slightly alter the facts of any situation just to make it into a better story. Those who know me, who speak my language, understand intuitively that when I say “LITERALLY EVERYONE IN MY LIFE IS ON THE PALEO DIET,” what I mean is “a number of persons.” Or, “I SERIOUSLY JUST SPENT FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS ON WHEAT THINS,” the translation is “I spent an excessive amount of money on Wheat Thins, and they are worth every penny, and now I’m going to sit on the couch and eat them whilst watching Sabrina The Teenaged Witch on Hulu for two hours.”

But this is the kind of writing and story-telling that I love to do. To exaggerate, to take a funny situation and make it hilarious (possibly only to me). And that’s what I want to get back to. I no longer have the intense need to bitch about a roommate, although the cats are being total bitches about scratching the couch right now, and my Handsome Life Partner/fiance has an intense need to leave his clothes laid out on the floor because he claims they get “lost” in his closet when they’re hung up. I am not in some tumultuous relationship, except for the tenuous one I share with the girl who does my nails because she is very judgy of the colors I choose (#AbuDhabiTragedy). “But this one goes with your skin tone,” she insists, holding up a shade of pinky purple that my old Streetwalker Barbie doll would have LOVED. I gravitate towards the edgy grays and black cherries, and she shakes her head sadly and sets her mouth in a grim line. I am ruining my life with these colors, and she’s too polite to say it.

So what, then, does one write about when one is an angsty adult and has very little to “angst” over? Maybe that’s a huge part of the problem. I’m an educated, white, soon-to-be-heterosexually-married female with an American passport. It’s completely gauche to get pissed off because Wheat Thins are $8 a box out here or the sushi delivery is going to take 90 minutes. You can’t look at what is going on in the world and then read trash like that and not think: “Seriously? THAT is worth writing about?”

But, then, maybe you just had a moment where you chuckled to yourself thinking of some inappropriate thing that pissed you off. Maybe you nodded your head ruefully in agreement about nail technicians who are disappointed with your choices. Maybe we shared something there, maybe it distracted you for a second from all of the truly horrible, numbing, terrifying things going on in the world, and maybe you got to exist outside of that for a moment. Maybe I selfishly and egotistically want to be responsible for a moment of escape during your day. Maybe I derive a very deep sense of pleasure from making people laugh about inappropriate and seemingly trite things.

Regardless, I’ll continue to stumble through this complicated relationship I have with writing and blogging, and you’ll get to continue to bear witness to it. Hooray! I appreciate your eyes on this page, I appreciate that although I have probably let you down with watered down words, you are still here. I appreciate that people read, and comment, and share, and I promise that I will continue to navigate these feelings of angst that it’s an outright and facetious luxury to want to write about insignificant things.

I suppose, for now, I’ll just consider myself lucky that I can dare to do so.