Today I sit in the dining room of flat 43. This flat is on the fifth floor of an apartment complex in the middle of Dublin. I look outside at the city. I see buildings, birds, and double-decker buses; painted doors, redbrick buildings, and domes of parliamentary offices. The River Liffey is just down the way, a block or so. The television is on, speaking to me with thick Irish accents. My phone charges, cords trail to the wall outlet, to switches, and the laundry buzzes in a room down the hall. It is my last day in the city of Dublin proper.
An Aside, morning conversation: I can’t go. I am waiting for my underwear to dry. –Go commando! If I go commando I will literally shit my pants… Fin. How weird is that actuality?
After a shower and granola to chew on, I thought of how I got to this spot. I never had a plan. I thought as I washed in the shower, in the mirror; lathering my underarms, observing my tattoos shining wet. I thought to myself, yes, I might have traveler’s sickness, but I have done everything allotted; I gave speeches and presentations, sat on endless cross-country bus tours, and hiked near the ocean in the snow. I learned how to sleep sitting up. The majority of the time a constant malaise was in my bones, and in the pit of my stomach, and still is. I was never at ease. It never really mattered. Though, I have learned a new phrase: I can’t complain.
I guess I should say it was fate to not complain. It was fate to walk out of two dead-end jobs without notice. These jobs gave me insight: don’t take shit from those who need you more than you need them. Take the wind out of their sails and put it into your own. It was fate to split my tooth in half while biting into a buffalo chicken pretzel I impulse bought at Lund’s. Yes, it was stupid, but it changed my life. I called my mother the next morning and she told me to find a dentist, get the root canal, and to think about insurance. It was fate to choose one day in early summer 2013 to A.) Search for a job that offers insurance, or B.) Apply to college because they offer insurance to students. That was all fate, and I sit here. I tongue the metal part of the aftermath of a root canal.
Before all this, the tooth incident, the insurance, the no place to go, the Dean’s list, the honor society, the shit jobs, the bosses who couldn’t care less, the I who couldn’t careless, the passport, the three weeks abroad (Ireland; Dublin, Galway; UK, Belfast), I was told that I couldn’t, I would never, it was impossible. That was fate. Telling people they can’t is fate. You are a part of their life by only not believing.
So here, I would like to take a moment to thank the people who told me I couldn’t do a thing, anything. I want to thank the people who sit at home and think about how it is impossible for others to do things because they don’t believe in themselves, those who “know”. Thank you. I want to thank the therapists and psychiatrists I was made to visit when I was younger and problematic, (the drug tests and antidepressants of which I didn’t need), the ones who told me I was not University material, -not possible. I want to thank the councilors at high school who told me that with a GPA of 1.5 I would NEVER, capital whole fucking word, go to the University of Minnesota, never. I better try again. Apparently never is now.
I have nothing but thanks for the people who challenge(d) me, who ask(ed) me where I am(was) going, what I have(had) planned next, because I can easily give them the same answer: I don’t know, does it matter? Do you “know”? I don’t know because there is no reason or way to know exactly what will happen next. My dad used to give me the same answer when I would ask him what he was going to do next. He would say: I could walk across the street and get hit by a car right now and die. Because of this I don’t know what I am going to do next. Never have, never will. Because one day I could walk across the street and that would change my plans, -you know. Now I sit here.
The point of this piece is to let people know that it is okay to not know what to do next, and that negativity can be turned into positivity, and that fate is like god, and other religions. I assume “fate” will take care of that, fate happens. Now, I don’t necessarily think everything is up to that, but being linear is just as unrealistic. Go with it. If you feel like shit today just forget about it and walk down the street. You could die, you could discover the love of your life, or you could normal everything. Open your eyes. Forget about fear, fear is an excuse. Never is just a word, as important as the word bullshit. Fear is a disease of the mind. My mother always tells me, when it is your time to go, it is your time to go. So go! I live by that. If I don’t do this right here, right now, then I will never do it. I was never supposed to go to the U, or abroad, or write to people, or express myself, or think deep thoughts, I was told I couldn’t, but I do. I think about that. All those people had it planned out for me, and look where it got them, they told me I couldn’t and I did. I wonder if that skewed their beliefs, maybe it helped dial in the accuracy of labeling system, or prove its worth.
Had I feared the idea of not having a job to pay bills, fear of not having a direction or “goal”, I would have gone nowhere, but because I still was moving I’ve made it to right here. People spend so much time making goals and making plans, but think of the time wasted in that. I heard one time at my sister’s (Kelly Smelly’s) commencement speech, while I was unabashedly reading a book, to never stop reading, never stop doing. At that moment I put the book down and started listening, I stopped reading. The speaker said that if you aren’t going uphill you are coasting. It is not about the way or where, it is if you are going up or down. Don’t pick a point and go to it, go beyond. There is no destination without the travel; every fucking grassland and sheep and back of a bus driver’s head I will remember vividly throughout the years -I love Ireland. What we do along the way is up to us: complain, make excuses, or remain sedentary. I am not sedenTerry, I am Terry. Fate can be whatever: a label, a naysayer, a grade, a title, whatever you want, the important thing is you make it. What you do is what matters, even if you can’t answer everyone’s questions with the answer they so desire. It is all about you. Fuck them.
I believe: When people tell me I can’t do, make, or be, something it’s because they don’t believe they can do, make, or be something themselves.