Monday, October 28, 2002

Wonder Woman holds her breath.

Wonder Woman can hold her breath for a really long time.

Last weekend I attended a Halloween party thrown by my cousins Audrey and Jamie, whom I rent with just outside of Atlanta. They sent their small son, Colin, off to his grandmother's for the night and we totally did the house up in with streamers and fake blood and cardboard skeletons, witches and vampires. I made two cakes, both of them pumpkin-shaped: one chocolate, one of them a white cake with orange food coloring striping the layers. Around two dozen people were in attendance, and the costumes were pretty darn fabulous. I was Wonder Woman; Audrey was bad bunny Foo Foo, and Jamie was the good fairy, in mock drag, the funniest thing at the party.

I didn't know the party was going to happen here until a few days beforehand, so I hadn't time to invite anyone I might know from Tennessee - just as well, as it would have kept me from socializing with new people. But it was very much a party full of my cousin's friends, no one I knew very well at all. Audrey and Jamie are just a few years younger than me, and from a different social grouping. Being around their friends is incredibly good for me, because I have all those MTSU prejudices still ground into me. It's good for me to know that frat guys are OK, that the girls I naturally assume would hate me - girls who wear make up every day, girls who are high maintence and dress in nothing but name brands - are often quite nice.

In the time I've been back in the South, I've learned a lot of things other people take for granted. I'm learning how to be part of my extended family on an everyday basis. I'm learning to let myself be taken care of. I'm learning how not to criticize myself into the ground. Of course I thought my Wonder Woman costume was totally crappy. Of course half a dozen people stopped to compliment me on it, and ask me if I had done everything myself. One girl was actively a little jealous - she wanted to be Wonder Woman, but unable to find a costume, she switched to something else store bought. Being happy as the character in your homemade costume is better than being sad you had to go as your second choice.

Still, I'm ridiculously happy when I do get to see my own friends. Christi stopped by Sunday evening, and she was everything I miss about her. She was fresh off a weekend in the country at some Pagan gathering, wearing an old poet's shirt beneath overalls that weren't too clean. Her hair was under a bandanna, and little medallions hung around her neck. I hugged her with everything I had in me. I'm enjoying the new people I meet here in Atlanta - socially things are much easier here in the South than they were in New England - but I know exactly who I am still. I love the space here with my family, but I itch for my own type of place again, full of oddness and its own eccentricities. I would become a Pagan just to hang out at some of the gatherings they have in Atlanta, but of course I will always have the problem of disbelief with me. Sometimes I think Atheists are just born, that we have an incapacity for faith in the supernatural. Oh well.

There's still no word but delay from the CDC, where I interviewed three weeks ago. There is no word from the dozen retail applications I sent out, no word from the local public library system. There is word from Nashville, of course I could go work for my father's business again, and I probably will next week. I'm putting it off though, on pins and needles, just wanting any word from Atlanta at all. Anything. I want to make my way here, but the worst job market in 25 years refuses to co-operate.

So I'm waiting, here in Atlanta. I spend my week days in a perpetual state of anticipation, my heart pounding every time the phone rings, disappointed every single time it's another telemarketer or smiling when it's another friend calling with support. I hit bottom last week when the CDC said they were delaying their decision for another 7 days at least. I don't even care if I get the job there anymore; I just want to know what their decision will be. I spent Thursday papering the strip malls with applications. When a coffee house form simply asked for my name, number, and availability, and left the bottom half of the form empty with the instruction to be creative, I sat and wrote them a series of seven haiku on why they should hire me.

Maybe I'll know where my life is headed tomorrow. I surely don't know where I'm going today.

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