To borrow a phrase from Sophia Petrillo, an icon who has wise-cracked me through quite a few hard nights, picture it:
It’s November 2022 and I am, again, walking home with a troubled heart and empty palms. Well, nearly empty. I am carrying a to-go box of Chinese food I couldn’t stomach. My mind races, torn between replaying the conversation I just survived or poring over the months that preceded it. My surroundings are a sleepy New York City, storefronts and sidewalk conversations deeply indifferent to the shard of glass I am working to swallow.
By the time I’ve made it to the train, I’ve chucked the to-go box, deciding this breakup trophy has no place in my home. I am angry, mostly at myself, for all the wasted time. I am a fool in king’s clothing. There was beauty, I tell myself, but even the bright stories feel stained.
Riding the train, I wonder if I will cry when I get home. Music ripples into my ears. I am on a mostly-empty train car, hurdling through the underbelly of my favorite city. I have made this commute before.
When I get home, though, no tears come. I take down the Polaroid above my desk, the canvas I commissioned. I tuck these and other tokens away. They don’t belong on my walls.
My emotions vacillate in the following days. Relief. Anger. Regret. Grief. Euphoria. Anger. Regret. Calm. Relief. Anger. Relief. I try and let myself steep in these moments, explore them for meaning. As the days stacks into weeks, I begin to pull the threads of these emotions into a steadier picture:
I have not been living the story I want to tell.
I have not been myself, not really.
I have stumbled right past my wisdoms and into old, shitty rooms.
I will make this story my home again.