alexandra ewing is on the internet.

twenty-something philadelphia-area online diarist comes home in the midst of a total breakdown and eventually makes good, to an electrifying soundtrack of '60s power pop.

it's the feel-good movie of the summer.

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~ Sunday, June 23 ~

The Great Connector, Maria, and me

There are things I am afraid to write about here, on a site where I even refer to my own posts as online diarying, and not for any reason other than my fear of being vulnerable. I never want to show all of myself. I am shy, but when I find myself in large groups, I find I try to be coy, to be self-assured, to be distant, because I think this appears more appealing than the reality of me. It only occurs to me at this stage in my life that I probably just seem fake, because it is fake. I am fake.

I am lonely, I am longing for something, and I don’t know what it is, exactly. Yesterday I sat on the train for an hour, numbing myself with “Star Witness,” before meeting up with my friend Adrienne for dinner. We met seven summers ago at state-funded art camp. There, I learned I love a supportive non-competitive artists’ colony environment, and Adrienne learned she loves public policy and federally-funded programs. I think of her, always, as The Great Connector. It always seems like she knows everyone: for instance, she told me that some friends of hers acquired a new roommate, who happened to be a girl from said-state-funded summer art camp, who was perhaps notorious for her nasal-voice and snoring, but also wrote as a teenager a lovely, intimate poem that I still like.

We ate dinner, then lapped around Rittenhouse Square. In the evening, with the sun still up, it was warm, but no longer blistering. We wore sunglasses and discussed our contact lenses, and boutique hotels, and the weather, and dance parties. She is the sort of person who, when discussing her new position, says, “I have a real job now,” then winces and apologizes, because “That was so capitalist,” then adds seriously, “We all have real jobs. All jobs are real jobs.” It is a part of her charm.

Anyway, back to the Great Connector—we discussed some things too hard for me to repeat here, and she said that maybe she would be fine with growing old as one of the rich old Rittenhouse ladies and dying alone like that, and I said she would have the most-attended funeral.

I admire that openness in her. There is nothing I fear more than being judged. I told a friend that my brief shoplifting phase was far more recent than she imagined, and I tried to sound nonchalant, tried to seem as though I didn’t care, but inside, I felt myself shaking. It didn’t matter that she didn’t react badly to it. I still felt awful. Later, I tried to talk myself out of it—if the positions had been reversed, would have I found myself condemning her? No. Yet I am so sure everyone else stands on the moral high ground and sees me floundering and eagerly wants to reject me.

On the phone with Maria—I don’t remember, exactly, what we were speaking of, but I confessed, “I am not a good critical thinker.” I have said this many times, to many people, and I always feel like a failure when I say it. On the day we spoke, I’d been on the verge of tears all day, and saying it felt like an additional strike against me—and then she laughed, a clear, true laugh. “Oh, Alex,” she said, exasperated but fond, in a tone I associate entirely with very good parents, and she spoke sort of hurriedly about how now she understood what it was like when people tell her she is being too hard on herself, because “you are being too hard on yourself. Of course you can think.” And laughed some more, and I felt as though my heart would melt. I didn’t say, “You know, sometimes when I have told people this, they’ve just agreed with me, you know. You didn’t have to disagree.” But I also knew she wasn’t faking it, or lying to me.

I am not a good critical thinker. But it is nice to know someone has faith in me, anyway.

Tags: this has been in my drafts for a few weeks and it is still not working and i am just tired of looking at it none of it connects--IRONICALLY sorry for foisting this upon your dash 3a
9 notes
  1. hatya said: "supportive non-competitive artists’ colony environment" - look into shared studios! idk much about this but try charlotte with this matter, she’s an encyclopaedia with these matters
  2. afirethorn said: no sorries for “foisting”! never sorries.
  3. alexandra-ewing posted this