Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I'm at a point in my life where I don't know what I'm doing with myself. Since this has been such for a year now, let's take that point and, sadly, make it a plateau, or even a rut if you'd like. Part of this ambiguity means I'm not sure if I should be spending any money or not.
Though I thought I had come, seen (but definitely not conquered) enough of Portland for my current taste, the itch to move West has snuck up on me again. I know I should wait until I can find a job, but I hate the idea of sticking with something that makes me miserable, and that's how my pessimistic little mind has decided to view living in DC. I've been thinking of this scenario, where I got a job in DC and set up a little life, but in my current myopic view, all I can anticipate thinking every day is, "Can I move now? Is it time? NOW can I go? Please?" How did I get into this mindset? Well, I was trying to find good independent cafes and bakeries in the area, only to realize the city's lacking in these seemingly superficial aspects that actually say a lot about a place.
Compared to most animals, humans are pretty uniquely stubborn. Last I checked, animals learn from their mistakes. If they get sick eating a certain something, they stop eating it. But look at us, at ME. I'm in a routine I hate, and yet I stick to it. It's not like I'm expecting every day to be all sunshine and kittens, but I'd hope for a few bright spots, at the very least. I know a large part of it is my outlook, that we (I) determine how to perceive any given situation, but I'm thinking another part of it is my environment.
I have this amazing ability to argue any side of any case when it comes to deciding what to do or how to feel. For example, I can convince myself to sleep in no matter what important task I have to accomplish. Similarly, depending on my mood, I can rationally and effectively argue that I should suck it up and stay in DC or, conversely, pack up and move out.
I know last time I went west, I chickened out and went home way too early. My friend tells me if I had only stayed, pushed through my anxiety, I'd probably be happily set up out there by now. But I freaked out, flew home, and convinced myself it wasn't right. Or I convinced myself NOW that it WAS right. Which one is it? I can't tell.
An acquaintance of mine finally said "Fuck it!" and is moving to San Francisco at the end of the month. People tell her she's crazy, that she's making a terrible mistake, but at least she's going to try it out and see what happens. It's better to learn from your experiences than imagine lost possibilities. And that's the thing. Fair or not, I've been born into a life of certain comfort, where I'll always have a home to come back to. My parents would never abandon me. The problem is they don't want to hear something like this, something that's half-expected to be a failure. My parents are rationalists, not idealists.
Anyway, the whole point of this post was supposed to be about whether I should spend my money or save it for any big changes. Of course, saving is always ideal, especially in the midst of a recession. But I have this curious relationship with fashion, where I don't want to be left behind, where I want to fit in, look good, stay on top of things. I went to the mall today and, out of boredom really, went into several high-end stores where I felt abysmal. I was wearing Forever 21 while the others wore Marc Jacobs, or Chanel, or whatever. (In reality, they were wearing Uggs, but that does not fit into my self-constructed vision of reality.) And it made me react with a mix of self-consciousness and scorn for them. I was in Cusp, and I saw a mother and daughter shopping for party dresses, not blinking an eye at $700 price tags or Philip Lim labels. I know that, again, I'm the one choosing how to feel, but it evoked some really strange and awful emotions. I was both disgusted that they were spending that much money so carelessly (as if I haven't?) -- especially when there is poverty and malaria and famine -- and suddenly self-conscious. I felt like everyone was staring at me, telling me to get the fuuuuck out, because I obviously could not afford anything in the store and thus must be of weak moral character. This kind of stuff is wretched. This is why I hate shopping.
On the other hand, there's no better feeling than self-confidence, and fashion can provide that too. I'm not out to rank any source of confidence as better or more genuine than any other, but it seems to me pretty sad that material goods are so often a quick fix. But then I think of things like Sofia Coppola's work and the worlds she creates and all the pretty people on Lookbook.nu and their film photography and bokeh and romanticism and it makes me want to engage.
Everything is so complicated.