The last thing I did for myself- the last thing I did because it was the best for me, or because I really enjoyed it- the last time I chose to do what I wanted, without the weight of the ubiquitous and inescapable influence of Another Person's Opinion, was....I don't remember when.
I don't value my own interests, health, or dreams enough to make choices that move my little Frances-shaped gamepiece forward. I make exceptions for my rules and I put the pursuit of my goals off until tomorrow, and I wonder why, at 25, I am unemployed, without a bachelor's degree, and no great extracurricular accomplishment to show for my time away from full-time work or school. My interests beat weakly beneath daily distractions. I spend more time as a partner-in-crime, accompanying my friends or lovers in their adventures, than having my own...
Last night I moaned on the couch at John's house, post-ab circuit, wearing ridiculous compression shorts with an inseam no longer than the length of my thumb. My stomach ached, as usual, as well as my heart, as I fought with my options for the rest of the evening. What I wanted was to get up, drink some juice, and go sit at a coffeeshop to write even just a paragraph more of the paper I have due on Friday. Cognitively crippled by hunger, I was unable to make a decision one way or another, and only stood up to take a piss and call my landlord about the new keys he made for the building; while I did so, John spoke with a member of an adult baseball league he'd contacted the say before.
His conversation concluded and he told me, as I put on pants, that he was set to play in his first baseball practice in 10 years this Sunday. He fretted and flipped his gear onto the ottoman, made a list of what he needed to add to his bag, and then I suggested we go find the things he had to buy. So- we stopped in Tremont, where I made sandwiches and he bought coffee, and we drove to North Olmsted in search of pine tar and baseball spikes. While I got a rush driving down 71 on our last-minute, impromptu adventure, I was sorely aware of the fact that I was spending my evening on the tail of someone else's dream. I am curious about everything, and thus enjoyed watching John try on shoes and baseball pants, and laughed at the wall of protective underwear at Dick's...but baseball isn't my hobby. It's his, and I dedicated my night to it, instead of making a decision to do something about me.
Every time something like this happens, I remember so many similar instances.
the first and second trips to Pittsburgh this year? Driven by John's interest in Duquesne. Trips to New York? I wouldn't be going if it weren't for Chris. I spend every night drinking beer I don't really want to drink, eating bread I don't really want to eat. I let my roommates pretend I'm not there, even when I am. I remember how it was when I was dating Andrew: lonely. I was an afterthought, after physics, after climbing, after pizza and beer. I put aside my own best interests and waited in silence for him to be done with a week of studying, or I kept my mouth shut about my stresses so as not to stress the relationship. I bent over backwards to guarantee that he'd still be there if I looked away for a minute, and I did it at the expense of my spirit. When I was dating Cory, I listened to him talk about his dreams of law school; Chris Renner talked about making music, current-Chris talked about and then moved to NYC...John will get a PHD in psychology, and Andrew will get an MD, and I will be left with all of these memories of motivated boys, but nothing of my very own creation.
I do not, however, mean to imply that I was or am unhappy with my position as copilot to any of these people.
I just mean to say that I'm frustrated with myself for not also allowing myself the time to take care of ME.
Plus, I wonder sometimes if I'd have someone jumping to be my copilot if I decided to chase after something I used to love.