January 28, 2010

Open Letter to the Universe

Are you there, Universe? It's me, Sandi.

A year ago, I put my fate in your hands. I turned myself over to you and took a flying leap into a pool of cliches about seizing the wind and throwing caution to the day and other such nonsense.

At first, I gave you a little time to think about things. I didn't look for a job or ask anyone for help. Instead, I traveled to London and for the first time since 1995, I realized I don't want to live there.

When I came back to New York, I started receiving some signs from you. I ran away from the city again to escape to Joshua Tree, CA, where I spent Valentine's Day drinking red wine and eating chocolate by myself in the desert. The next morning, my hosts invited me to spend the summer there.

When I came back to New York again, I was recommended for a consulting gig by a former coworker, and was flown to LA on the company's tab just a few days after returning from there. I spent two days being anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours late for a number of meetings. I squeezed in a few minutes with Ziggy Marley's wife, who'd also been referred to me by another former coworker. To be honest, I didn't really want to work another children's album. I kind of played hard to get. And I got the job.

And it's been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.

But you know all this, don't you?

After spending a month in Joshua Tree, a separation from New York that I hoped would reignite our romance, I returned to the city looking like a different person, thinking like a different person, and even more isolated than before I left. My ears hurt from the constant noise, the cars honking and the drunks yelling, the trains screeching and the sirens wailing. I couldn't hear you anymore, Universe. Were you still speaking to me? Were you sending me signals that were just drowned out by the fever pitch of everyday life in New York City?

I spent almost two months waiting for you to tell me something. I wasn't really working. I wasn't really going out. I wasn't meeting people; I wasn't talking to the people I already knew. I didn't want to miss your call. I just waited. And waited.

You didn't call. Did you? Did I miss your call?

For three months last fall, I worked because I thought I had to. I worked because I thought I wanted to. But your silence was deafening, and I started to doubt my ability to make my own decisions. I was convinced I was doing everything wrong. I was abandoned by you, the universe, as I had been abandoned by my own parents, by my former employers who pretended to love me and then cast me out of their family too. By then, I'd gotten used to abandonment and betrayal. I'd been betrayed by New York City, too.

For the last three weeks, I've sleepwalked through every day. Eyes open but not seeing. Heart open but not loving. Body moving but not touching, not advancing, not impacting.

I'm ready to wake up now, Universe. Are you there? Do you recognize me? Is it you that startles me at night, when I sit straight up in bed and try to focus on whomever is watching me sleep?

Is it you that called me back to QVC?

Will you send me back to California, maybe this time to stay?

I don't know what you have in store for me, but I'm still in your hands. Cradle me and tell me everything's going to be all right. I'll try to listen to what you have to say, and I'll try to not make mistakes. But I need to do something, and something soon.

Your servant,

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