“Come on Y/N, your dinner is getting cold,” Dean beckoned.
“Coming,” you called as you ran inside to your small flat.
“How that cat manages to make you late for dinner every time
he shows up is a mystery to me,” Dean teased as he pulled out your chair for
“I can’t help it. When our friendly neighborhood cat shows
up, I have to go see him,” you answered. Ever since you moved in, one of the
neighbor’s cats waited on your fence as you came home several times a week (x). “If our flat allowed us to have cats, I
wouldn’t be late for dinner because we’d have our own cat.”
“If I knew I was dating a crazy cat lady I wouldn’t have-“
you shot Dean a warning glare. “Sorry love, I only meant to tease you. You know
I’m crazy about you and all your habits.”
“I’m sure you are,” you teased back as you started eating some of your dinner
chatting about how your days had gone.
Over the next few weeks, Dean was always late or missed
dinner. You just assumed his late arrivals were due to extra ministry work
“Hey love. I’m so sorry I’m late, but I have amazing news,” Dean
sang as he pulled you into a tight hug.
“What could be more wonderful news than my Italian inspired
dinner?” you countered.
“Well nothing can top that,” he kissed you gently. “I just
signed the lease on our brand new flat!”
“Wait, you did this without me?” you pouted.
“Trust me. I know you’ll love it,” Dean reassured. “I remembered everything you
wanted in our next place.”
“You’re positive?” you mumbled as you rested your head on
“Absolutely. Now as soon as we finish dinner we have to get
packing, since we move in in two days,” Dean stated. You started to pull away
“Two days that’s absolutely-“ Dean cut you off with another
“You forget we have magic my love, and you have a charm that
organizes everything into their respective boxes. I promise this move will be
easy,” Dean countered.
“Fine. I’ll start packing after dinner,” you sighed as the
two of you sat down to eat your dinner.
“I can’t believe we actually got this place sorted out in
time,” you beamed as you grabbed one of your boxes. “I can’t wait to move in.”
“I got some movers to put the furniture in for us,” Dean
explained. “You don’t have to lift a finger.”
“You have really thought all of this out,” you mused as you
pulled him closer.
“We should hopefully be moved in tonight. Any ideas what we
can do until then?” Dean continued as he placed his lips on your neck. Just as
you two were getting started, a knock at the door brought you two back to reality.
“That’s probably the movers.”
“They always come at the worst time,” you laughed. “We’ll
have time for this tonight. I promise.” After stealing one final kiss from you,
Dean made his way to the door.
“Dean, I thought you just hired movers. I didn’t know you
hired people to organize all our furniture,” you gasped in awe. None of the
furniture was from your old place. (x)
“Most of this furniture is new love. I hope you don’t mind.”
Dean interjected. “See, I got us a new couch, and wait till you see the
bedroom.” How did Dean know you so well?
“Oh Dean it’s lovely”
your eyes landed on a bundle of fluff standing on your bed spread (x). “Is that
a kitten!” you squealed. You ran toward the tiny grey kitten (x). “Dean there’s
a kitten in here.”
“I know love. The first consideration was an apartment that
could have cats,” Dean laughed. “She’s yours.”
“Are you serious Dean” you couldn’t stop smiling as you held
your very own kitten.
“Absolutely, now you’ll never be late to dinner,” Dean
“Nor will you,” you joked. “I love our new place, and I love
“How about we celebrate with an on time dinner, and then we
can pick up where we left off,” Dean smirked. As you walked toward the kitchen,
you couldn’t stop smiling over the new home and cat you had together.
I am really loving the FAQs on Ina Garten’s website.
Today, I moved out of Illinois. I write this from a hotel in Indianapolis. For the past week I have not slept. I have been so busy and stressed. I have lost so much weight simply because I have been exerting myself and I’ve been so busy. My pants keep falling down. My belt is confused. It’s unpleasant. I sweated about a gallon today. Tomorrow, I will see the apartment I rented sight unseen. I am nervous.
Friday, I will move into that apartment if all is well. The movers showed up this morning after they got lost. The driver said, “Damn, this is the country,” and I raised an eyebrow because he is from the small town where I am moving and if he thinks where I just left is country, it really is as bad as I thought it was. The movers were supposed to pack today and pick up tomorrow but I really don’t have much stuff save for books. They realized they could do it all in one day so that’s what they did. When they saw all my books, I think they wanted to cry. I entertained some fantasies about them as they labored. I was interviewed for NPR’s Weekend Edition in the middle of today’s activity.
I was not happy in Illinois. This was not entirely the state’s fault. I moved there under pretty emotional circumstances at a pretty complicated time in my life. Then I rebounded into some man mediocrity. I never really found my people there though I did make a handful of good friends. I will miss them but we will still see each other. I am not moving that far. I was not happy in Illinois but I had the most creatively productive years of my life. I wrote a novel I am so fucking proud of and that I love. I am sure it is not cool to say that but I love Miri and Michael and Mona and Lorraine. I love their story. I wrote that book, staring out onto a grassy field, a meadow day after day, for hours a day, during a summer. I wrote that book because I needed to. Writing that book helped me. It gave me something to do. It allowed me to pretend I was not living in a placed I really hated. That’s one of the reasons why the book means so much. And as I said before, it’s the truest expression of who I am.
When she read my novel, and my essay collection for that matter, I held my breath because I didn’t want to scare her away. I didn’t want to disappoint her. Because of how she knows me, all my skin was gone when I gave her those books.
I fucking hated Illinois. I am really allowing myself to feel that tonight because I am so tired that I have no filter. I never met one of my neighbors in four years. Part of that is me. I am not good at meeting people. Once I know you, yes, I am good but getting there is a challenge. They never talked to me. I have never experienced more racism in my life. That town is fucking racist. Every single day I swallowed some petty racist bullshit. Now that I no longer live there, I feel comfortable saying this. The world is racist, but that town is extra racist. I loved my job, and particularly my students, but my soul was dying in that town. I am not being melodramatic when I say this. I hated living there.
I don’t know if I am going to a better place. I am going to a different place. I am going to a different school. It doesn’t feel like the right home for me but it feels better than the place I have left. It feels much, much better. I am so grateful. I am excited to get to know my new colleagues and students. I hope I make some friends. I will very much try. I am going to be working on my body. There was this honest, necessary, sort of scary but very good conversation we had that made me realize it is time. I’ve known it is time and I’ve said it is time but something in that conversation made me feel, in my bones, that it is time. I’ve never been able to have such open, difficult, loving conversations with anyone. I am so confused, mostly because I didn’t know that this kind of connection with someone was possible. I just… did not know and now I do and it’s amazing and terrifying. Nothing else comes close.
I don’t know how long I am going to be in the new place but I do know if and when I leave it will be because I am almost forty and I can’t have my job be my whole life anymore. I need more. I want more. I know where I want to be. I may not ever get there. I don’t know. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Worst isn’t the right word. There is no worst.
None of this is making sense. I’m tired.
Today I signed with The Tuesday Agency so I now have a speaking agent. Amazon.ca included An Untamed State as one of the best 25 books of the year so far. This magazine, Bookaholic, included An Untamed State as a potential contender for the Pulitzer. I mean, there’s no way but that someone even thinks such a thing feels good. It feels amazing. A part of me, the foolish part of my heart is given over to absurd fantasy because come on… it would be a dream of all dreams. But it was just nice to see that inclusion. I’m set. Good things are happening for Bad Feminist and I will tell you about those things soon. I have worked so hard. I have been relentless. I am writing an essay about why. It hasn’t felt like hard work because I love reading and writing. I love what I do. I am grateful I can do what I do. The past several months have, professionally, been indescribable and far beyond what I hoped for when I was drowning in rejection.
It feels greedy but I don’t want to experience all this goodness alone. I want to share it. I want too much but I own that. I want too much.
There is someone. It feels more and more real. We keep falling deeper. Is there a bottom or will we always be falling. It’s been this way for a long time but now it’s becoming clearer. It’s complicated beyond measure but I’m not alone in this. I know this to be true. For the first time in my life, I do not doubt where I stand with someone else. That may not mean what you assume it does. I say a lot here but there are some things I’m not going to say here because this blog is my choice, not ours. Because some things don’t belong here. Because I have no idea what I am doing.
But success is not just hard work. There is luck involved, timing, convergence, I don’t know. All of my writer friends work hard. They deserve this kind of thing too, whatever this is, however fleeting it might be. I am greedy for all of us.
i am just a girl who writes.
Here is the world in the cup of my hands. Take it.
I keep thinking about my twenties which were so incredibly shitty in so many ways. I was really depressed and insecure and I made some horrible choices. I did things I’ve never told anyone about because I was still punishing myself. I don’t need or want to write about these things but they stay with me. It’s not shame… it’s something else because I understand who I was then. I understand why I was that way then. I forgive myself. I say that and realize it is true. I forgive myself for the choices I made back then. That girl had been through hell and then more hell and she didn’t know how to ask for help.
And I was broke. I remember the pay day loans with the outrageous interest. There was so much ramen. Filling the car with like $5 at a time. Phone getting cut off. No health insurance for years and rarely going to the doctor. I had to get a cat scan once, I can’t even remember why, and it took me years to pay off. I didn’t go to the dentist for years. This is not a sad story because I am lucky. This is just life and frankly, I’ve had it easy in terms of material comfort. I am privileged. I always have been. I had a safety net because my parents would never have let me starve or be homeless, but I was on my own, as an adult should be, and I was often very very broke. I was writing and no one was interested in that writing. I know, now, that I was putting in the work. I still am, of course, but back then I was just beginning to figure out how to use my voice in both fiction and nonfiction. I had a lot to learn and so I wrote and wrote and wrote and read and read and read and I hoped. I was going to school and then working and getting better and better jobs and then more school and I was becoming a better writer and very slowly, a better person. I became less broke and then I was fine, not making that much but always being able to handle my business. Today, I moved and moving is expensive but I could afford it. As I stood in my empty apartment before heading out, I sobbed. That is not something I am prone to doing. I allowed myself to feel everything. I allowed myself to acknowledge how far I have come. This isn’t bragging. This is an atlas.
During my twenties, my personal life was the hottest mess. The hottest. It will never be that messy again because I’ve grown up and I finally give enough of a damn about myself to avoid burning myself in that kind of fire. I’m still a mess but I’m a different kind of mess now. I can generally identify what the mess is and where it’s coming from. I am learning to ask for help, slowly. I am learning a lot of things.
My eyes are wide open. They are prepared for whatever they might see.
I am always afraid to say I am happy. I don’t feel like I deserve to be happy.
I… am happy.
I try to keep all this feeling in a safe place, a neatly contained place because that is where it will always have to stay. And then there is the intensity of want. Raw urges. Engulfing. Crushing. Tenderness and fierceness, both. Possession. The container is a lie. The container has been shattered. She has found the way to my warm. She has taken my atlas into her hands. She traces the wildly arcing lines from beginning to end.
Adrien walked to the door, knowing that Nino would be on the other side since he had to call up to have the complex doors unlocked for him. Still though his smile, while genuine, held a bit of relief. His best friend was a sight to see with the chaos that was going around.
“Nino!” Adrien said as soon as the door was opened wide enough to engulf said best friend in a hug.
“Hey man, how are you holding up?” Nino asked, thumping Adrien on the back before they separated and Adrien stepped aside to let Nino in.
“A lots going on today,” Adrien confessed.
“I bet. Am I the first one here?” The place was eerily quiet.
Adrien shook his head. “Marinette’s in the bedroom.” Nino wiggled his eyebrows at Adrien which caused the blond to sigh exaggeratedly and push his friend ahead. “Come on.”
They started to cross the living room when Nino paused looking at the couch. “I thought the movers weren’t coming for another hour.”
“They aren’t. This came from the furniture store this morning after I got my keys,” Adrien explained.
“Oh, of course,” Nino said, though he didn’t speak what he was thinking. It was easy to forget how freaking rich Adrien was sometimes. Probably because he never rubbed it in anyone’s face.
They entered the master bedroom to find Marinette in the bed. Standing on it. Looking out the large windows. Or rather at them. Her bare were atop an obviously hand made comforter as she wiggled her toes. Turning her head she looked over at the two, grinning and jumping down. “Hey Nino!”
“Hey yourself. I take it you made this?” Nino asked plucking at the blue and brown fabric on the bed.
Marinette beamed while nodding.
“That’s not all she made. She made the drapes as well,” Adrien interjected with pride in his voice.
Nino looked up at the drapery, now understanding why Marinette was looking so intensly at the window. The blue was lighter than that of the comforter, like a clear sky on a summer day. The designer only shrugged. “It’s the first time I’ve made any sort of window covering. It’s okay. I’m thinking the ones for the livingroom will look better now that I know what I’ve done wrong.”
“Adrien, buddy, you really need to stop taking advantage of Marinette like this,” Nino teased his friend.
Adrien huffed. “Right, because Marinette hiding away in her bedroom all the time during this summer is what I wanted.”
“You say that like I never left my room!” Marinette crossed her arms with a mock pout.
“Shall I text Alya for confirmation?” Adrien asked with a smirk. Before Marinette could counter though the house phone rang. “Actually that’s probably her.”
Marinette was not saved, for even though it was Alya down stairs wanting to be buzzed up, by the time she got to the door the designer had not found a way to get the conversation changed and when Adrien beat her to opening the door, he hit up the reporter with the question of the moment. “Alya, Marinette hid in her room most of this summer making stuff for my place instead of having fun, didn’t she?”
Alya rolled her eyes playfully. “It was impossible to getting her to go anywhere!”
“Traitor!” Marinette called out, sitting on the couch, hugging one of the throw pillows she had made.
Nino was cracking up. He went up to Alya and gave her a hug. “I am so glad I don’t have to be alone with these two.”
“I just wanted Adrien’s new place to be homey!” Marinette was muttering from the couch.
“Too much domesticness, yeah!” Alya grinned in agreement before turning over to Adrien. “So where do we start?”
“Well the movers haven’t arrived yet, but I’m still trying to figure out if the furniture is where I want it.” Adrien admitted, rubbing the back of his head.
“Yeah, probably good to have this all moved around now before everything else shows up,” Nino agreed. He then flexed. “So what’s first?”
Over the next hour they went about fixing the arrangement of the furniture of both the living room and the dinning room. Marinette had originally instructed the people from the store where to put things, so it was only a matter of slight adjustments. There had been more teasing of Marinette’s hands being in every aspect of Adrien’s move while she kept insisting she just wanted to make sure Adrien was happy and comfortable. For the most part Adrien just grinned and enjoyed the banter going on between his three closest friends.
By the time the movers came the four of them had more than enough to do and spent the next several hours unpacking boxes until Adrien suggested they all take a break and in time honored tradition called for pizza delivery for them to enjoy while looking around at the apartment, well condo, full of half empty boxes. Adrien looked around, a slice in his hand. “This is really coming along.”
“Yeah it is, but you know what we really need? To finally set up your speaker system.” Trust Nino to want better acoustics. They had been taking turns plugging their phones into portable speakers and listening to any music that was motivating for moving.
“We might as well get all the wiring done then,” Alya suggested and it was agreed that the two of them were in charge of getting all of Adrien’s electronics up and running.
“In that case,” Marinette said after finishing her third piece of pizza. “I should get some real food in this house.”
“Do you want me to call the car now?” Adrien asked, going for his fifth piece.
Marinette blinked, obviously Nino wasn’t the only one that sometimes forgot how different Adrien’s lifestyle was to theirs. “Oh right, yeah. That would make things easier. In fact…,” she trailed off, pulling off her phone and pulling up a list of things to buy and showed it to Adrien. “I mean you don’t have to have everything today, but a full pantry will make it easier to cook.”
“Wait, we’re letting Adrien cook?” Nino almost choked on the bite he had in his mouth.
“Har har, my chef has been giving me lessons all month.” Adrien dabbed his mouth with a napkin provided with the take out.
Alya wiggled her eyebrows. “And I bet Marinette won’t mind helping out either.”
The domestic teasing mostly quit while Marinette was gone. While Nino and Alya were hooking up his stereo and TV, Adrien was trying very hard not to orginize his books and just break down the boxes that were currently empty. As the electronics came on one by one there were little shouts of success from his friends.
“We should totally start up a game and pause it and when Marinette comes back act like we’ve been gaming while she’s been gone,” Nino suggested.
Adrien thought about the idea for a moment then shook his head. “Wouldn’t work, she’d see we were at the beginning of the game, besides we wouldn’t have time to fake it since she doesn’t have to callup.”
“You gave her a key already? Dude, I know we’ve been joking about you two being all domestic, but is she moving in?” Nino lifted an eyebrow.
Adrien shook his head. “No, she’s not moving in. It’s mostly for emergencies. I’d rather she had my spare key than my parents.”
Nino didn’t look convinced, but the squeal from Alya as she came back into the living room from the bathroom was a distraction. “Why didn’t you tell me one of your bathrooms was Ladybug themed!”
“Because we wanted to surprise you. If you’d used that bathroom earlier you would have known already.” Adrien had insisted the guest bathroom be in red. Marinette wasn’t a fool though and knew what he had wanted to do and had helped him pick out a shower curtain and towels for in there, but only on the condition that they didn’t tell Alya. Now Nino was following Alya as they both examined the bathroom.
They were still in the bathroom when Marinette finally came back with food. Lots of food. His driver having come up to help bring it inside.
“Where is everyone?” she asked as she showed the big man where to put the bags.
“Alya found the shrine,” Adrien said with a smirk.
Marinette put a hand to her face. “I’m so glad that happened while I was gone.”