***Before we get started***
I was in the ER this past Saturday with a ruptured ovarian cyst. Thankfully, I wrote this blog post the night before on my cab ride home from the symphony, so I had enough to pub today. Since Saturday, I’ve been advised by the ER doc (who was wonderful by the way--hi Dr. Weist of Beth Israel!) to be on bed rest and take pain meds. I hope to be up and running by the end of the week, so next week’s post might be a bit behind, but that’s a-okay. To lighten up the mood considering I just had one of the most physically painful and scary things that's ever happened in my life, here is a screenshot of me matching with an Edible Arrangement on OKCupid.
Back on board? Great. Now here's what I wrote on Friday night:
If there were an outline of my ideal day, today would pretty much have followed it to a T. I put in a normal day at work (well, as normal as it can be since I work from home and am able to take five-minute dance breaks to sing along to Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” throughout the day if I feel like it), put on a red lip, took the trolley to Hynes Convention Center, walked the Harvard Bridge at sunset to Cambridge where I proceeded to eat a burrito, guac and chips, and a horchata at Anna’s Tacqueria (I was REALLY craving a burrito) before heading over to the MIT symphony orchestra. Mexican food and the French horn go really well together, after all.
[Hot tip: college symphony orchestras (particularly ones at Ivy League schools) are comprised of individuals who are a year away from playing professionally for some big-name orchestras, so you are seeing high-quality live classical music for, like, five bucks.]
Now, I love going to the symphony alone. Especially to university performances where there isn’t assigned seating. I like sitting all the way in the back off to the side where I can ball up my jacket and use it as a pillow. I’m in my little nest and no one can bother me. I like to close my eyes and pretend I’m on my own island with no one around me and it is so pleasant (especially with a belly full of guacamole). I don’t have the opportunity to go alone very often at all (because both my parents love the symphony and whoever I’m dating at the time usually likes classical music, too, so one way or the other I go to these things with someone else in tow). In fact, the last time I went to a performance alone, I was 18. That was 11 years ago and right after the performance ended, I decided in that moment to drop out of college.
I had no idea where my life was going. None. During the program (this Shostakovich piece; I still remember it), which was so incredibly beautiful and meant to evoke every sort of feeling whirring around inside you, I realized I was in an incredible amount of emotional pain which I had done a pretty good job of staving off by doing a lot of self-destructive behavior. Most of the time, I felt numb. In that moment—my butt in the chair, looking down from the mezzanine at the NYU students on stage in all black—I was not feeling anything. But that performance made me realize that I wanted to hear something like that and let it bring me some sort of joy. It was like not having feeling in your arm, watching someone poke it with a needle and thinking “I should be feeling something right now.” There were tears brimming in my eyes as I listened to the orchestra and all I was thinking was “I wish I could feel something right now.”
Tonight, watching the MIT symphony orchestra, I felt what I can only describe as ghost emotions. My brain was telling me, “Hey, the last time you were in this exact position, do you remember how awful and confusing it felt? Remember that when the last time you saw a performance on your own you had no idea where your life was going?” I remembered. But this time—butt in the chair, watching the symphony—that feeling of “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing” wasn’t coupled with pain or numbness; it was coupled with absolute freedom and a deep, deep sense of bliss. I know where I've come from and worked really hard to be where I am. To let myself feel things fully and not be numb to experiences. To listen to my gut and know what I want and what I need to nourish my body and my mind. (And I recognize that I’m fortunate enough to be able to live this way because of a combination of talent, perseverance, absolutely killing myself to build a stable career, and pure goddamn luck.)
I wanted to pull together a list of what living intuitively in Boston means for me:
In regards to being assertive when it comes to my time: when I first got here, I kinda sorta also entered a fun little video chat thingy with the hottest guy I’ve ever seen from OKCupid who travels a lot for work, but shhhh let’s not talk about the details. He cool. He woke.
Actually, this is a funny story: the Saturday before Columbus Day, I got what I’m 90% sure was food poisoning. The guy I had gone on a date with the night before also felt pukey that Saturday, so I’m sure it was what we ate (which is BIZARRE because the place was kinda fancy). Hot OKCupid guy wanted to FaceTime that Monday and I was celebrating Columbus Day the way Columbus would’ve wanted (lying in bed with cholera-like symptoms). Twenty minutes before he asked to FaceTime, I was in sweats, no makeup, hair a mess and had walked down the hallway of my apartment to throw some laundry in and ran into my AirBNB host. I looked like absolute death.
After OKCupid cutie made a request to see my face (which is Walking Dead cosplay at this point), I hopped in the shower, blowdried my hair, put on makeup (including a red lip), and a very… uhhhh… suggestive yellow lacy dress. I looked hot. (If I’m going to FaceTime a hot dude, I’m gonna do it right.) Two minutes before I connect, I get a knock on my door. It’s my host. He asked if I wanted a full-length mirror for my room since there are no mirrors in there. I grab it, say thank you, and he tells me he’s going to come back with something later to affix the mirror to the wall. I tell him I have a phone call and to not disturb me for the next hour if possible. He agrees and before he leaves, he goes, “You look… nice.”
Then I shut the door, have my little chat, and then afterwards wipe off all my makeup and change back into my sweats. The host comes back to set up my mirror and gives me a funny look.
12/10 my AirBNB host thinks I’m a webcam girl. There’s no question.
In the end, this FaceTime dude was SUPER lovely and hot, but he was also Avatar soul-bonding-level clingy (yanno, when they connect the ends of their braids and it’s like UNGHHHHH)
and out of town for work for a fairly long-ish time (despite being based in Boston), so I said, “Listen, I dig you, but I didn’t move to Boston to stay inside and be on the phone with a dude who won’t be in town for a few more weeks. Hit me up when you’re back in Boston.” I’m going to go out and life my life.
Passionate about everything having to do with the body, Dana Hamilton writes about sex, dating, relationships, body image, and eating disorder recovery. She is a regular contributor to Playboy and her work has appeared in VICE, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and SELF, among other publications.