This is my first attempt at “Just Write”. I brought my computer to work for the first time. I opened it, then felt silly and closed it, thought maybe I’d go get lunch first. I got halfway down the hall, but the words “just write” were following me. Except they came to me via Lady Gaga, to the tune of “Just Dance”. I turned, re-entered my office, shut my door and now what?
My office is bare. I have one framed picture, me and my husband and my son in coordinating blues and grays and purples, on an otherwise empty bookshelf. No other pictures, no books, no files, nothing fills that space. My walls are also empty; no paintings or photographs or diplomas. I have papers on my desk, a small orange called a “Cutie”, two coffee cups (one mug and one porcelain travel cup), and a glass of water. My Iphone. The book I am currently reading. This is all that is present of me here.
I wonder about this. How I spend so much physical time in this space, and yet it’s as if I don’t really mark myself here, don’t leave any traces. If I didn’t come back one day, it would take a sweep of the hand to erase any evidence of me. What does this say? Is it simply reflective that I don’t inhabit myself here? That my real worlds, my other worlds of wife and mother and friend and writer, are where I choose to be? Or is it strange, to spend so much time in one space without leaving your mark?
Would it be better, to be surrounded by loved ones faces and my educational history and maybe a favorite photograph or painting? Perhaps a lamp and a vase, a candy jar filled with either M&M’s for me, or sweet candies for visitors?
This isn’t the first office I’ve declined to engage in. This is my fourth job since law school. Four different companies and buildings, at least six different offices. I’ve not filled up a single one. I have never framed my law school diploma, nor my certificate for the State Board. In my last office, I had one wedding photo and a porcelain rock that said “CALM”, given to me by my mother when I studied for the bar. I miss that rock, it’s cool rounded edges slipped perfectly in my palm, it’s uneven bumps somehow more soothing than if it were flawless.
I used to feel like I was on the wrong path, and that those jobs were keeping me from my real one. I no longer feel that way; I am on my right path. Yes, it’s more circuitous and filled with many more detours and waiting waiting waiting than I would like, but it’s a road nonetheless. Even if I can’t see a mile down the way, somehow it is enough that I can see to put one foot in front of the other.
This office, this job, is not in my way. It just is, a place where I go because it is what needs to be done. But life is spent in the spaces we actually inhabit, and not where we want to be. I can put pictures up, that photograph I’ve been eyeing, declare myself a lawyer, and it won’t deter me from the road I am seeking. It’s simply a waiting room, a place where I must get comfortable until my train arrives.
Maybe when I get home tonight, I will dig out that rock. I will bring in some photographs of those that I love, those that I miss while I am waiting. Because though this is where I am now, this isn’t where I will always be.