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September Surrender: Day Five

What I’m Letting Go

Labor Day is for relaxing, isn’t it? Or just doing what you love to do? I’m not too sure what people do anymore. But I just went to places today and wrote. That’s what I love to do. It’s all I hope to do for the rest of my life. Just show up to interesting places and write about it. I don’t care who knows it, I don’t care who sees. And it would do me a lot of good if I could extend that courtesy to my fellow man.

I began the day with another trip to The Met. New York residents get in for free, so it felt it was the perfect place to go for another leisurely stroll through history. I’ve been trying to go more frequently because, as they say, you can’t see it all in one day. My plan was to go upstairs to the portrait gallery today, as I spent last weekend only on the first floor. There’s always so much to see, even if most of the time I’m just taking a cursory look at things. But today I noticed my tolerance of those around me was reaching new, judgmental levels.

Maybe I’m just entirely too inside all day, but I find it crazy what people are choosing to wear lately. And I’m not just talking about a mask this time. Young women parading around with their midriffs out. Men in short shorts. Things that are just too tight or too revealing. Lots of questions kept pouring in about about how people are presenting themselves in public. I have no idea what the look on my face was like, but I swallowed it down and kept concentrating on what I was doing instead.

I moved on to spend a little time in Central Park and sat on a bench dedicated to Book Lovers. It felt a little prophetic so I wrote a more while listening to the people passing me by. There were a couple of friends speaking on the bench across from me, having a very interesting conversation with surprising political points peppered in. I was doing my best not to overly roll my eyes at some of the more progressive viewpoints, because I didn’t want to judge this time. I knew having my default mode be pure criticism was something I could let go of. Letting things come at me as they were seemed to be a better course of action. I gained a lot of insight from my eavesdropping, even if I didn’t actively go out of my way to try and find it.

I ended the day trying a neighborhood restaurant that just opened six months ago. I pass by it all the time and it’s just got an aesthetic that is totally my scene. I didn’t do any research before going in, thinking I’d go in fresh without any outside influence coloring my experience. And overall, it was just okay. Definitely a good place for a drink, but the meal was underwhelming. I’m not usually one to complain about dining experiences. Either it’s all delicious or I just vote with my feet. I’d go back for a seat at the bar, but nothing else. And that feels okay to end it there.

I don’t need to put on my hat of judgment in every facet of my life. There’s something appealing about taking things as they come along, instead of calling everyone “stupid” or “an idiot” in my head if they do something I “disapprove” of. There just seems to be less and less room for that kind of malice, especially if this is what I’m going to be doing forever. I take a big risk being out there as a woman alone, just writing on her laptop in public, no one around to come visit. Which leads me to what was found on this 2022 Labor Day.

What I’ve Discovered

Every time I go outside, there’s choppers overhead. I don’t know why they fly over New York City all the time, but they seem to show up everywhere I go. There used to be a certain kind of paranoia that’d creep in, as though they were keeping tabs on me specifically. Think Henry Hill’s final joyride in Goodfellas before he was arrested. Although I still find them annoying and disruptive of my peace outside, I’m understanding more that they’re not exactly tracking me. I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s just not feasible that they’re ‘after’ me. No one is. Because frankly, I’m not special enough to be examined that closely.

I’ve written about this before, having thoughts that I have some kind of supreme power over how the world works and goes. This arrogant feeling that I could make things happen around me, because I’m unique and I have the ability no one else does. While I’ve grown to appreciate the person that I am, I’m finding out more and more just how insignificant that is in the long run. Everyone on earth plays their own role. I may just not be here to change anything. I simply wish to add to the conversation. And there’s not a soul on earth who can stop me from doing so.

Whatever “monitoring” I once felt so angry about is no longer there. I have no qualms about someone wanting to watch me. They can judge what I do all they want. But my goals for this life are becoming clearer and clearer, and there’s no campaign out there that has the power to shut it down. And it’s not my ‘special powers’ keeping it at bay. It’s just me and who I am that won’t ever allow it in.

What I Hope to Find

I’ve only taken two screenwriting classes during college, which is a shame because I wish I had taken more. But these two were in my senior year, making it far too late to begin again. The professors always told me I had a knack for dialogue, that it always comes out sounding realistic. If I had the patience or knowhow about writing a screenplay, I’d do so. But for now I have my words reserved for a different kind of story.

I bring this up because as I was admiring the paintings today, I imagined someone walking along with me, listening to my pithy comments and generally just enjoying my company. It’s something I’ve only been recently doing, as it is a little sad and desperate, if you’re gonna take the judgmental route. But I felt a tremendous comfort in doing so, as I was able to write out some dialogue in real-time that I was able to write out later. Making it feel like naturalistic dialogue sprouted even more ideas of where I’d like to take my upcoming characters, and gave me insight into all their backstories as well. But doing all this made me realize how I’m still on the quest for the one person who won’t judge me. Who sees me as a complete person he’d want to partner up with. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I like to think that by even saying it out loud, I’m creating it and drawing it closer to me. And I keep feeling like I won’t have to pretend much longer.

I’m not sure it’s possible to live a life completely judgment-free. There’s going to be moments where we have to open the door on our own behaviors, taking inventory of where we’ve been and where we hope to go. In the meantime I’ll keep working at it. Someone at any time could eavesdrop on a conversations with myself. Hope they don’t deem me too sad. It’ll all make sense later.

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