The high.

I wrote my last entry — about 1,600 words — in less than an hour. Often, writing even half that takes twice the time. I have to coax the words out, from deep in my subconscious and up through my heart. Each sentence needs a long Swedish massage. After a quick pass by my brain for coherence and a long journey down my arms, they move into my fingers to the keyboard.

Monday night was like being on some kind of drug.

I sat on the back patio with a glass of white wine, swatting at mosquitoes and practically feeling my hair relax into waves as the oppressive humidity set in. I was relaxed. And exhausted. But the words exploded, poured out of me.

Caution: Emits showers of sparks.

I was so excited. It just…it felt like such a long time coming. To finally be able to say, “I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m getting out.” To tell the world about this leap I’m taking, even though I gave next to no details. (But is where you land really as important as the fact that you’ve jumped?)

When I finished writing, I threw my MacBook in my oversize handbag, unlocked my bicycle and flew the three blocks to Starbucks. Which was closed.

Which I knew. (What Starbucks closes at 9?)

But I also knew there was a warped wooden bus stop bench just outside the café, one that would certainly still pick up the wireless signal from inside the store. Which is what I needed. So I opened my computer outside, parked on the bench like a hobo, and did my thing.
Click. Publish.
I sat there for a few minutes before I went home, dizzy and out of breath. The combination of 90-degree weather, a frantic bike ride and the biggest news of my life left little beads of perspiration under my bangs. I watched police cars and buses and motorcycles and beat-up old sedans whiz by in the creeping darkness.

I can’t believe this is happening.

And then the comments started rolling in.
The buzzing high I’d felt before, alone and in front of my laptop, was nothing compared to the pulsating, raving ecstasy that came next. This is where I go all blogger: Guys. Thirty comments. This does not happen. Retweets from people with tens of thousands of followers. This does not happen. Nearly 600 page views. THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN. End blogger.

And then I realized: I am living the dream.
I’m not just living my dream, in fact; I’m living other people’s dreams.

I don’t know what happens when you come down from a high. Because I’ve never so much as touched an illegal substance.
Okay. A friend gave me an Adderall. One. Once. When I was in college, to help me pull an all-nighter and finish a paper — I couldn’t seem to coax the words out then, either. And I turned into a paranoid freak. So I haven’t gone there since.

But I think I got an idea of what it’s like when I woke up.
I remembered the high. I wanted more. And then…goodness.

I was sleep deprived. My focus was shot: I couldn’t think about anything else. And, worst of all, the cold, blinding light of reality was streaming through my brand new rose-colored glasses.
Harshing my buzz, as my new partner in crime would say.

Because with this new life, this dream I’m living, comes a new set of…well, nightmares:
Focus.
Time management.
All. The. Details.
Health insurance.
Finances.
Isolation.

Shake it off.

The day went on, and I went in to my regular appointment with my therapist last night, dizzy and out of breath just like the night before. I told her about Monday, the notice and the news and the love and the absolute high, then I sat there drumming my fingers on the leather sofa with nothing more to say.
Until the words exploded from me again.

I was overwhelmed and fearful and, seemingly, completely unprepared to embrace the new level of adulthood I’d launched myself into.
Worst of all, the person whose approval I seek most of all? She doesn’t approve.
Again.

I can’t believe this is happening to me.

But one more day past it, my eyes are adjusting to the light through those rosy spectacles, and I realize I can pinch myself out of the nightmares. Because I always do.
I’ll find a pattern. Find a way to get it all done. I’ll get health insurance; I’ll pay my bills. I might scrape, but that was always part of it. I’ll see my friends, because I’d die without them. I’ll just…make it work. I’ll make this new life work. And I’ll like it, dammit. Because one day I’ll wake up to find I’m just…that the dream is reality, and then there will be something new to shoot for.

At 800 words, this entry took me two hours. But I was watching So You Think You Can Dance. Multitasking. Already.

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12 Responses to “The high.”

  1. Mr. Apron Says:

    P.W.,This is your Tim Gunn Moment. You will, most definitely, make. it. work.Oh, and thank you for living (one of my) dream(s) for me. I appreciate it more than you know.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    This might be slightly off topic in terms of the specific blog post, but what you wrote makes me think of the broader implications of what you're looking to achieve Paige.Meaning, what is the socially responsible role of the blogger? There have been a handful of successful social media pioneers in the so-called traditional media field and unless we want to hold Tucker Max up as an example I find it problematic.The reason is that blogging is inherently a solipsistic medium. It centers on the narcissistic impulses of the writer. Now it can easily be argued that any writer, from Ovid to O'Reilly, are of course putting their thoughts down on paper and hoping others resonate with it.Yet blogging confounds me because any product that has come out of it has an immense class and race bias. All successful social media products from a non-explicit political standpoint have been from the privileged. I suppose my point is that what is the socially responsible role, if any, of the blogger? If your idea is to produce something that can make you survive then I'm all for it. Yet a realization that anything we do is a social relationship to capitalist production is an important tool for how we approach blogging. Knowing that there are social, material, and immaterial production consequences to our actions is highly important if our viewpoint is to be more than "I'm gonna get mine and screw the rest of you."Just food for thought. It's not a criticism at all since worrying about how to pay rent and caring for your health are super important. I just think there are broader issues at stake as you find success.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I read Twitter, by the way. Direct monetary gain from a blog is not the only reason why someone should start examining why they do something.My point was not to question your motives but to bring up socially responsible aspects of what you're doing.Case in point – let's say you write a blog that expands on national security information. What is the blogger's role in that? The Wikileaks founder is going through that now. You think you're simply posting something that is "interesting" to other people and it can hurt others.So let's Inception it and take it down another level. You write something about a co-worker or ex or friend. You're putting things out there on a personal level but have direct social consequences. All relationships are inherently one of a production standpoint, right? They produce materials, thoughts, emotions, etc. We interact with every person we encounter, be it in person or online, and produce something.Hence, it isn't a cynical viewpoint of the blogger. It's a critical one in terms of getting to the root of the issue – if you affect many people with your words, what is your social responsible role?Thesaurus unused. Again Paige and others who read this, this is not an attack on what you're writing. I find your analogies and metaphors fascinating, almost with an improv sense of creativity. It is simply a counterpoint to the root of what privilege comes with being to express ourselves. Many people don't have that gift.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I'm, candidly, a little baffled by the previous anonymous commenter. And I'm literate. And college educated. And generally a provocateur in my own right who can follow a compelling and logical argument. And yet… I'm saying, Huh??!? Blogging is by definition narcissistic. Reading is undoubtedly voyeuristic. Both *can* be therapeutic and create an inteconnectedness in an otherwise fragmented world. And almost all of any of our interactions in that fragmented virtual or physical world all have a 'class and race' bias. I'm confounded by the 'anonymous'ness of the previous comments, and what their purpose was, exactly? To ask Paige to "make more of a social statement" with her blogging? Or is it a more personal axe to grind? Every day, every conversation (real or virtual) that each of us has 'puts things out there on a personal level' and all have real social consequences. With all those provocative words, might I suggest that maybe s/he should start a blog of his/her own? Though of course, no one would ever find it… anonymous as it would be. To you, Paige — Life has highs and lows. Ride them. Acknowledge them. Reach out and invite people to share your journey, your party, your fear, your frustrations. That's what living and being a part of the human condition is all about. I salute you because you – unlike others – have the courage to hold your TRUE self open for the world to see. To quote the previous anonymous commenter, "most people don't have that gift"… I would add, most people don't have the courage to publically be their true selves. Kudos, my friend. Kudos. ::deep bow::#thatisall

  5. jackson Says:

    Anonymous at 6:06PM,I don't have a problem with anonymous posts. But I do find it interesting that you criticize the previous poster for being anonymous, yet you yourself are also "Anonymous."

  6. paige worthy Says:

    I do have a problem with anonymous posts. I know who 6pm was, though. Plus, there's a difference between anonymous nice and anonymous not. So.

  7. jackson Says:

    You may know that one anonymous post is not really anonymous, but they are all anonymous to the reader. When readers aren't privy to the same information you are, it can change the context of the comments. While I can certainly understand not enjoying or respecting negative anonymous posts, I think I just have a difference viewpoint on privacy. There are many reasons why people might not want their picture, name, e-mail or some sort of trail all over the internet. I generally think people should work within the privacy level they are most comfortable with. Of course, some people abuse this and make cowardly anonymous comments. But some people just don't want to live as publicly as others, and I can respect that.

  8. paige worthy Says:

    Jackson, the Internet is where we live now. This isn't some Wild West where no one can be trusted. Clearly the commenter in question considers him/herself to be of the enlightened sort (jury's out for me), and an expert on the social mores of the online world, so I'm a little confused as to why it's so hard to identify themselves. I'm not asking for a social security number or mother's maiden name to leave a comment. Just a name. I have no reason to take someone seriously if they can't even own up to what they've said. (the fun of speculating whether it's someone i know wears off quickly.) My good friend known as Marina leaves comments with fake websites like "www.whatsthecankleequivalentofawrist.com", and while that's…really rude, at least she's playing by the rules.I'm reluctant to turn off anonymous comments, because I'm too much a sucker for the feedback — and, quite honestly, the sort of conflict this whole thing has stirred up. I just don't understand why, if I'm putting MYSELF out there like this, why's it so difficult for readers to return the favor in some small way? Mostly, I just want a way to interact.Oh.And unlike what I write in each entry, which I submit to anyone who comes by in hopes of it resonating just a little… the comments left aren't FOR the other readers. They're for me. so I don't really care if they don't have proper context for understanding the dialogue. #THATisall

  9. viaggiatore Says:

    Hi there, Paige and jackson and all… it's the "6:06 pm commenter" here. To be candid (irony duly noted and snickered about), I didn't *intend* to post anonymously … ALAS, technical glitches with a wonky wireless connection in the midst of a thunderstorm as I was running to catch a plane didn't let me sign in to 'claim my post' when I needed to. At any rate, one of the amazing and awe-inspiring things about the internet is that we do have access to vastly varied opinions and intelligent debate, even from the comfort of our couches. It remains my (now fully-claimed) opinion that making perplexing quixotic/negative/challenging anonymous comments (rather than 'opening a candid and dialogue exploring different points of view') is a cowardly approach. It's the comment equivalent of throwing rotten eggs at a house of and giggling wildly as you run away. If you've got something to say, a conversation to start, step right up and own it. Heck, this is the internet: We can ALL choose to wear masks if we want to. We can choose pseudonyms (and use them consistently) if we want to engage in provoking dialogue but have personal privacy issues. (Case in point: me)But to wander around, fully cloaked and poking others with sticks, well: didn't your mother teach you any manners?

  10. michaward Says:

    Here's a comment for the (some) readers. If this post moved you enough to make an argument about the social responsibility of bloggers; you've missed your true calling in Washington. The ability to make a Supreme Court worthy (yeah… I said Worthy) and wholly inapplicable case out of someone writing their anxiety out for public consumption is a rare talent. It's a blog… it's narcissistic by it's very nature and has every right to be. If you're fighting the social responsibility fight on this blog, you really don't have the guts to fight it. There are bigger fish to fry in that fight. Take your "I just want to see my words on a screen" bullshit elsewhere. If you really wanted a discourse about social responsibility and really, let's face it… you just want to show how smart you are; you'd take this junk to the bigger political blogs. That's where social responsibility teeters on the edge.My name is Micha Ward and I wrote this comment.

  11. jackson Says:

    Paige,I kind of feel like you are taking what I am saying as a criticism of you, and it really isn't intended to be. I was just trying to point out that there is no way that I, as a reader, could know that comment was not anonymous, which definitely effects my reaction to the comment. viaggiatore's 6pm comment seems hypocritical and kind of meta if it is read as an anonymous comment(an anonymous comment criticizing an anonymous comment for being critical and anonymous – dizzying). As a signed comment, it is totally straight forward. The lack of context wasn't anyone's fault, just a technical glitch. I wasn't saying you were responsible for the context or lack thereof. You may not care about context in terms of the comments (and you don't have to), but I hope you can see how a lack of context informed my reaction. About privacy – some people do not want exes or employers finding them online, which I think is reasonable. (Personally, I have had some strange people contact me. It was unsettling and unwanted. I decided I needed to try to give myself a little more privacy but not total anonymity.) Also, not everyone has the comfort level or the will to really put themselves out there – whether it's online or at a party or in a classroom or on stage. People simply have different comfort levels. In that way the internet is no different than other aspects of our lives. I would argue that one of the interesting things about the internet is that it gives people who are more timid a space where they can get more comfortable with interacting and expressing themselves. I think the anonymity of the internet can result in all sorts of nastiness, but at the same time it gives people endless opportunities for expressing themselves and making connections. Please note that I am not saying this to defend the anonymous commenter who is clearly just trying to mess with you. I am trying to address your questions about privacy and anonymity.

  12. paige worthy Says:

    Thanks, Jackson, for keeping it classy. This whole conversation actually…makes me really tired. But I didn't take what you said as a criticism. I was only trying to explain where I am.Happy weekend, friends — named and anonymous.

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