Last night, I found myself lying on my side alone in bed, staring blankly at the space heater's glowing orange coils hovering just above the floor, oscillating back and forth in the dark. Shivering under four layers of blankets as the last of a deluge of tears rolled over the bridge of my nose, down the steep slope of my left cheek and on to the pumpkin-colored sheets. It had been a wonderful night — a quiet Mediterranean dinner and a glass of simple, spicy Carmenere that warmed me to the core, followed by a brisk walk up Wells and Lincoln to Park West through a mist that left a film of drizzle on the fiber weave of my shirt. Through the glass doors, a blast of sound: Lucinda Williams' gritty, sultry voice, pedal steel guitar and a whooping singalong crowd of adoring fans. Standing impossibly close against a banister in the back of the hall, chatting quietly during songs and kissing during breaks for applause. The world disappeared when I needed it to. Then, as suddenly as I'd found that temporary nirvana, the music evaporated into the cold, damp darkness, every traffic light turned red as we headed north, and the evening's quiet bliss fell apart. Soon after, I dissolved into frustrated, choking sobs and the Knight stormed out of my apartment. You can shut the door on the world, close your eyes in brief ecstasy and ignore it, drown out the shouts and incessant demands with music and applause, eat delicious food and drink nice wine to fill the emptiness — but when you open your eyes, when you wake up from the food coma, when you open the door? All the problems and pressures and petty concerns and ugly people with ugly attitudes are right there waiting. And they're pissed you've dared to ignore them.
I don't write very often about feeling unhappy. That's the selfish selectivity in keeping a blog. And honestly, there haven't been many times since I started writing seriously here that I felt the need to write about anything more than how lucky I am and how beautiful the world can be. Because that's attitude and those feelings are what I want to embrace in myself, and they're what I want people to see in me. I update my Facebook status roughly 673 times a day; that little text box records every blip, every peak and valley, of my fluctuating mood. And anyone who reads it can comment on it. Try to make it better. Say something glib in hopes of making me laugh. Send me a concerned message asking what's wrong — when really, it could be something as simple as realizing my water bottle was empty. I don't need to do that here. In the end, isn't the grand scheme of things, the big picture, kind of what matters? Yes. The details do matter — and I remember them all now, whether that's a blessing or a curse — but I'm not keeping score, and I'd rather look back on this and think, "Look at how well-adjusted I seem as I present myself to the world!"
But it feels good to write this, and it feels good to acknowledge that I was upset last night. Sad and frustrated and confused and letting my feelings and my stress about so many things hold me hostage for so many things. I was accused yesterday of abusing my boyfriend's children to enhance my online persona. That made me angry. There is no persona. This is Paige Worthy, this is me — even if I choose not to record the minutiae of my life as I did in my old blog. That blog, locked up in the preteen refuge of LiveJournal, is a scary place to revisit. Because the blips, the peaks and valleys, are all there. And looking back? Last summer, even the peaks were valleys in a lot of ways. I will be revisiting it as soon as I start researching my own life to begin writing the novel, and I'm stressed and scared about that, too, dredging up memories I was happy to tape up in a little shoebox labeled, "Summer 2008." But the wounds those memories open up will be stithced up by 50,000 words and the comfort of a narrative that doesn't exist anywhere but my head.
I won't say what happened last night. A lady never tells. And in the grand scheme, the big picture, it doesn't even matter. I'm still the same me. Suffice it to say that there's a lot of life now that doesn't see the written light of day, and I prefer it that way. The age of my total disclosure has passed, and I'll never see that as a bad thing. Back to your regularly scheduled.