I Don’t Want my Life to Be Essay Worthy Anymore
I move to Massachusetts in the summer of 2022 after the woman I love abruptly exits my life without telling me. Massachusetts is busy and green. Big, waxy leaves spring up everywhere, made shiny and full by the recent rains. Sometimes, there seems to be so much green, I’m startled. The towns are small and quaint and riddled with live growth. It is so different from Florida, where I spent the last six years.
During my first month in Mass, I do the following:
· start a new job,
· get turned down by a woman I like in an embarrassing, painful way,
· buy a car that immediately needs a new transmission,
· temporarily lose my driving privileges over an attorney error,
· file a complaint against said attorney,
· tiptoe around the sublet I’m staying in while my roommate is sick,
· spend my free time searching everywhere for a house I can actually afford,
· don’t see a single friend (everyone is a few hours away and with so much going on, I barely have half an hour a day to exercise).
The impetus for the move was to make my life better. “I’m leveling up,” I said before landing in Mass. And I believed it. I believed being abandoned by the woman I loved meant it was time for me to come out on the other side; I’d paid my dues and it was time for my happy ending, even if it meant I could never write another nonfiction essay ever again.
I once read an essay about how creative writing over-relies on stories of trauma to draw in audiences. It reminded me of a writing mentor I had at sixteen, who told me I would not be a good writer until I had lived more. “What have you been through?” she asked. “We become writers when we experience hardship and learn from it.”
At that point, the only difficulties I had faced were my father’s deployment to Iraq, where he had been injured, and a burgeoning eating disorder. When I moved out of my mother’s house in rural Vermont and went to undergraduate school in urban New Jersey, I sat watching the traffic go by and wondered what I would need to do to gain more “life experience.” So, I became sexually active for the first time. I lived across the street from a halfway house, spent…