I'm starting to get my elevator pitch down and with more ease. I can now sit tall, look someone in the eye and with confidence tell them why I won't be accepting my recent admission to graduate school.
"I'm going down the road less taken," I say.
I vacillate between feeling passionate about my decision and trembling with overwhelming doubt. Even the slightest experience knocks me off kilter.
Last night I met a woman who, in the 1980's, almost won a Mazda hatchback car but instead won a Mary Kay package on The Price Is Right. No kidding. She showed me the video.
Today, that same woman lives a privileged life as the National Sales Director of Mary Kay Cosmetics. She's been privileged to drive 15 pink cadillacs and has been a conversation piece for Bob Barker twice. Once when she was a 21-year old contestant (Bob had brown hair back then) and 12 years later when, a grey-haired Barker referenced her success as a credit to his show.
This woman and her husband of 36 years took a special liking to me. I was articulate, intellectual and "not your typical server." No offense taken.
Their story of faith, family and fortune fascinated me. Their kindness signaled a genuine connection, a look into the crystal ball of my own life, maybe. Just like that I came home, lip trembling, tears welling up- Should I be looking into the Mary Kay Empire? Why did our paths cross? Was God trying to tell me to pursue cosmetics? I was confused. Am I even supposed to be writing?
Currently, any stable faith in myself is short-lived. The only thing that restores my shaky house of cards is a loving fiance who reminds me that I love to write, that I've always talked about this sort of thing. But have I? I'm not sure.
Still, the words "I'm not going to graduate school" come out of my mouth and I am writing. And reading. And reading about writing. And posting.
Something is stirring. It's terrifying. It's schizophrenic and it feels like something I could get used to.
Sitting in th bookstore today I think I cried, laughed out loud, thought of three short story ideas and witnessed my future self receiving a spot on The New Yorker's list of 20 Under 40, all within a 20-minute span.
Sitting here today I remembered the times I wrote just to write. Traipsing across Europe documenting the sights and smells, making up stories about my server while eating breakfast in Midtown Atlanta, scribbling my coked-up soul on to anything that would hold ink including the refrigerator which, turns out, soaks up permanent marker surprisingly well. Journaling, reading,writing, thinking. I've done this off and on for years.
When it comes to writing, I've never consciously turned on the faucet and left it running. I've always been too afraid to flood the house. Too worried about ruining all the things that lived inside. I'll never be able to replace what's there. Or will I? I'll make too much of a mess. I won't have any place to live. I could lose everything.
I'm so dramatic. But, it's true.
I don't know what's going to happen by choosing this path. All I know is that, at this moment, I'm definitely not going to graduate school.