National Novel Writing Month is one week away and I’m pulling my hair out, writhing on the floor, and scrambling between the rooms in my head to figure out what I’m going to write. I dream of telling stories that change the world–stories that impact a reader, share with readers an experience they won’t forget, and forge the kind of relationships I recall building between book bindings as I grew up and discovered who I wanted to be.
When I posted yesterday about the whirlwind of love in my life, I had not imagined it would be the first of many whirlwinds the day would blow upon me. October 10, 2014 became what Equality NC had dubbed Day One–the start of marriage equality in North Carolina. Newspaper headlines this morning read “Same-Sex Marriages OK” and “Day for History, Equality.” The pictures are of colorful, smiling couples. I doubt the Saturday morning paper has ever been this gay before.
But whereas the world celebrates, my sweetness is tempered. Whereas other couples ran off to courthouses to say “I do,” I had no such privilege–my fiance lives two thousand miles away, and before we can marry, we must overcome hurdles no couple should have to endure. History, equality, celebration–but for whom?
Have you ever felt happiness so raw your cheeks hurt from smiling? Have you ever felt such joy your eyes are forced to squinting because it’s too overwhelming to see how beautiful even the most mundane corners of the world have become? Have you ever felt longing so intense every cell seems polarized, pointing in unison toward that point on the horizon where all your hopes and dreams stand in wait, longing equally for you?
I’ve been keeping a secret from you, dear reader, and I’m too excited not to tell.
I want to write a profound and moving post about Yom Kippur. About atonement, about forgiveness, about redemption and revival. I want to write a poem about the pounding of my fist against my heart as I echo, in harmony with the congregation around me, the confessions of our sins. I want to paint a picture of the closing gates with such vividness my readers will forget they’re reading and think they are seeing into heaven itself.
But Yom Kippur is not about grandeur, and what else are these desires?
I fell headfirst from the pages of my linear algebra textbook into another classroom. It reminded me of calculus, but was of no building I’ve ever stepped foot in: the walls were white and discolored at the edges, darker greys and burnt yellows that made the corners stretch into oblivion. Low white tables sat in clusters of four or five around the room, but I was the only student held between its four walls. And hanging at its front, two large projector screens hung, covered in a PowerPoint slide as simple as text and a link.
But I said I dreamed of fantasy, and here the portal lay.
Or: What Darren Did When Sweetless September Went South
I’m a goal-oriented person. I love nothing more than the sweet satisfaction of striking an item off my to-do list. I keep spreadsheets of daily goals to fill in and monitor my daily responsibilities–study for all seven classes, make progress in leadership and immigration paperwork, stop that annoying scalp scratching and relax for ten minutes each day–and filling in the boxes makes my day feel complete. All that time? It accomplished something.
So, fond of alliteration as I am, I’ve imagining Sweetless September since March.
Sometimes I wonder what damage those fairytales we were told as children left imprinted in our psyches. Forget the idealized yet ignorant gender norms portrayed in every romance. Forget the blind hopefulness of always waiting for a happy ending. Forget the unbridled belief in magic and myth and mystery.
Maybe there’s a deeper damage to all those Disney dreams.
Plans are made to be broken and clichés are meant to be forgotten, but when the sun rises, even if the blade is blunt, it hurts all the same. I’m making no sense, and doesn’t that leave me without change?
Cut the homonyms, they don’t work as well in writing.
Where to begin? It’s been an adventure–and every step unexpected.
Today I went on an adventure within an adventure, deep into the center of Mexico City. Or not that deep. It’s hard to measure depth over a lateral distance. And for the past few days, I’ve been walking to pick up my boyfriend after he gets off work, so I’ve gained a few tidbits of wisdom for how to cross the street in Mexico City–in case you should ever be there and find yourself in need of help.