Learning With the Heart the Hard WayI've been sweating into the same reasonably priced department store suit for the past three days, dragging ass and laptop all up and down Manhattan looking for a job. I leave my wool jacket on during interviews out of the very real fear that my shirt will draw flies to its translucent back.
My feet are two thick flaps of pure pain, suffering daylong beatings in my dress shoes then slapping the pavement in a pair of hip and useless Chuck Taylors at night. I sleep four, maybe six hours a night, get up, put on the suit and trawl the town all day in a flurry of meet-and-greets with recruiters, then spend the night drinking iced coffee in my underpants, hunched over a laptop trawling the job boards and sending cover letter after cover letter.
Everyone knows this, everyone understands this, and nobody says it out loud: New York doesn't fucking care. New York doesn't care about what you think, how you feel, or what kind of behavior was normal back in your sleepy Southern hometown. Anyone that thinks differently is a complete fool. That city's full of heartbroken fools that thought they knew and learned with their hearts the hard way.
The past few months, I've been slacking on the writing and slacking on the gym. I've just sat here in my festy little apartment swatting cockroaches and cussing the darkness, getting fatter by the day. I've been mad at the world for denying me adventure, travel, work and thrills and mad at the Web for delivering just enough distracting material that I can't get down to brass tacks for myself. I've been mad at everyone and everything, blaming everyone but myself and then I swept that clutter away in the past few weeks and had a good go at blaming myself.
The thing I've learned, the thing I always forget is this: everything starts now. Right now. That new job, that fitness program, the blog post, that pitch to that magazine. It starts right this second and doing anything else means not doing what you wanted in the first place. Which leads to too many drinks, too many late nights and dreading the morning, when you wake up to a huge empty day alone in the apartment blaming the entire world.
I've realized that I'm never going to be happy with myself or my writing unless I find a challenge and a challenging community -- find a place where everyone's racing ahead and try to catch up. I need to be someplace I haven't figured out, someplace that doesn't care and just fight like hell for a little while.
And maybe I'll never be happy with myself or with my writing. It's my personality that needs to change, not my ZIP code. I'm a moody dude, and things are never good enough. I'll come to terms with it or I won't, but I'd sure like to tackle this in a new town.
The mother in Almost Famous sees right through a cocky rock star's bullshit and tells him "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid." Works for me. I've been bullshitting myself for a long time and when I heard those words the other night they cut me like a laser.
I'm moving to New York City, the city that doesn't fucking care, in precisely seven days. I've put in notice at my building in DC, rented a truck and a room in that beautiful stinking city. Hopefully, this will be bold enough.