Thursday, February 16, 2006

Completely Clear

Sometimes I can see my life with perfect clarity. When I walked up the stairs to my suburban office after lunch this afternoon, I could feel myself walking up a narrow staircase into an apartment building, going into an apartment with hardwood floors and lots of light, turning around and carefully locking my six locks. I could feel myself living in a city.

Earlier, as I contemplated applying for my dream job, I saw myself falling in love with an author, moving to Connecticut, having some adorable, blonde children and living my life with joy. I feel the silk of my blouses, the soft cotton of my pants, that worn-in leather of my Manalo Blahnik heels. In my hand, I clutch a Coach briefcase of the softest tan-colored leather. I'm wearing my cream colored coat from Banana Republic. Am I a walking commercial? No, I'm living my life the way I want to live it.

What I have now is not a life. It's getting by. Now, don't get me wrong. I have a life when I'm not at work. I have a family who I love and who loves me back. I have friends I adore but who always make me feel slightly out of place.

I've never belonged here. I have made friends but eventually alienate them when I prove less like them than originally anticipated. I was born into the lower-middle class and have moved with my parents to the middle-middle. Eventually, I plan to be upper-middle or upper class, feeling no guilt at living in comfort but remaining Catholic enough to give away a great deal of my income. I will wear crisp suits and feminine dresses that hug my waist and accentuate my best features.

Yes, I'll admit it, though it shames me to say it. I often feel too good for the life I live here, too educated, too smart, too talented...I know enough to know that I deserve better.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Coming Into the Light

I went to a big college because I would be anonymous. Wandering the tree-lined campus as an undergrad, I felt part of history. I felt as thought I'd actually stood on Sproul Steps during the Free Speech Movement. There were days when I could hear the voices of the protestors in the 1960's. Those words echoing through history, filling my hopeful mind.

Of course, anonymity meant that I didn't really make my own contribution to the fabled and famed history of my university. But I was there. I became a part of that tradition just be being there.

Now, I don't want to just be there. I want to matter and make a difference. I want to do more than type memos and send faxes. I want my voice to be heard. I want to have a voice.