When I woke up this morning, I woke up to my world encased in fog. People who don’t know California’s San Francisco Bay Area sometimes ask if I am used to the fog, but I’m not. It remains magical to me. I grew up on the peninsula, and later chose to live in the south bay where fog is a rarity that only surfaces during winter’s early mornings and burns off as quickly as it appears. The fog I woke up to is distracting to me in ways that sunny days are distracting to others—I want to be out in it because it feels fecund with opportunity.
I have never been a weather watcher. In California and Nevada I kept my eye on weather reports out of necessity. Here, everything is so foreign and so mystical that sunsets, sunrises, rain, and blue skies become enthralling. I sit and watch the weather. It captivates me.
I often wonder if this is a phase. Maybe after I’ve lived here longer I’ll stop noticing how vibrant the coniferous trees outside of our apartment look in contrast to the grey skies. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll continue to pause so I can better appreciate the days when the air is particularly humid and just a little bit briny. Maybe this embodied living will continue to spill over into all other areas of my life, so that it will continue to be enough to sit in this chair with a cup of coffee and watch life carry on.
This new place I’ve found myself in is so absolutely different than any other place I’ve been. I feel like I’m changing. My undergrad was a bad time. I had hardly begun to realize who I was when I started. And, my partner was having such an awful crisis the whole time we were there. I constantly made and remade myself in the face of microaggressions, color-blind racism, classes that did not intellectually challenge me, and the expectations of everyone I knew. My partner was struggling with who he was and how to get along, and I paved over myself because even though I felt utterly weak, I had to be strong.
Now, here, my façade has cracked at its foundation. I literally shook, stopped eating, re-engaged old scripts telling me that I was not enough, stopped speaking when faced with going back to school. I thought, “Wasn’t this what I wanted? Grad school?” But now I don’t know.
You see, while my partner was working through his past trauma, while we both lived every part of it as he was working through, I fell to the side. I didn’t even know, could not begin to suspect that in the safety of my own home I would physically flinch when I thought of going back to class.
What happened to me in Reno?
You and I know.
What I don’t know is how best to go on. I can’t soldier through the next two year like I did during my undergrad. I can’t knowingly force myself through this without damaging myself further.
So, what now? I’m setting up a meeting with one of my academic advisers, and while I continue to do schoolwork, I have been seeking out different paths. I have been asking myself what it is that I want without the expectation of an answer. Total honesty is my top priority, and I’m beginning to find honesty’s companions, self-acceptance and resolve. They all emerge hesitantly, haltingly, like far away figures in a mist, but that’s fine because I’ve turned into a weather watcher—one who is willing to wait and see what develops.