Thursday, March 30, 2006

Twentysomething Oblivion

Tonight, I missed a reading that I wanted to attend because I had to stay at work late. I was planning on having a quiet dinner alone at a restaurant on the Upper West Side beforehand, too -- maybe a small Italian place with votive candles on the tables. Needless to say, when I finally left the office, I was in a foul mood.

Before I did, though, a freelancer I manage stopped me for a chat in the ladies' room. In the course of our conversation, I told her how old I was, and she nearly doubled over in disbelief that I was so young. She said it wasn't that I looked old (oh, of course not), but it was that I act so mature for my young age and have a position of rank (on paper, anyway). "You're a baby!" she half-yelled. "You're so impressive!"

I'm surprised over and over again at this dichotomy:
The way things LOOK versus the way they FEEL.

Objectively, my resume looks pretty good, I have to say. But it's the inadequacies, fueled by the city and its inhabitants and my own insecurities, that whisper to me during the day. I don't have a book deal, a sitcom in the works, a "wildly successful" website, a publicist, or even a freaking notion of what, exactly, is going to be my passion and the thing I stick with throughout life. I always wanted to have a "big career." But every day, I read about people like this, or this, or this, and every time I do, it makes my dreams seem that much further away, that the clock hands have moved another millimeter, and that I am not getting any younger. And in New York, those people are everywhere: Signing their books in the corner bookstore, on the front page of the newspaper, linked to on the gossip sites, talking to you at parties. It is hard, here, to be noticed unless you are extraordinary.

And, as Nicole-Kidman-in-To Die For as this sounds, I want very badly to be extraordinary.

Update: I just Googled "I want to be extraordinary," and a whole bunch of teenage girls' MySpace profiles, bodybuilding sites, and the Suicide Girls' website came up. Ugh.

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