All Is Not Calm

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A couple of years ago, at a job far, far away, someone remarked that they were in awe that I could remain so steadily calm in the face of what was a customary avalanche of insanity all around us. For the most part, that’s true. It takes a lot – A LOT – to truly rile me up. Especially regarding anything that has to do with a job. I just had this ability to let everything slide off of me, to not take anything very personally, to differentiate my employment from my real life. To this day, it’s one of the secrets of how I find fulfillment, and a certain joy, in an office job. My real world exists here – in writing, in creating, in finding beauty and expressing myself. I live my real life in trips to Boston, in visits to botanical gardens, in books and music and theater, in trying out new restaurants, in finding new fragrances, in attending new art exhibits, in exploring cities and places I’ve never been. Because of that, I’m able to take the rest of daily life with a grain of salt, and that enables me to find a sense of peace and calm no matter how many crises arise on any given work day.

Having said that, my calm does not always belie a tranquil heart. My calm is not often a relaxed or easy calm. It doesn’t always come from within. Sometimes, on difficult days, my calm is coiled and tightly wound. It is a calm imposed from my outer countenance, held together by the threads of Brooks Brothers, the silk of Dior, or the plaid of Burberry. On those days, it is a calm that contains the chaos of a widely beating heart, a calm that carries within its careful construct the terror and rage of  betrayals past and present. My calm then is a very dangerous thing.

On the night that I write this, I’m somewhere between the two, the space where most of us reside, I imagine. I’m a little tired. My heart is slightly weary. Emboldened by fall and fatigued by it at the same time. Part of me wants to cry, and I’m not sure if it’s out of happiness or sadness, or simple relief. That we are still here. That most of us are still intact. That I am still writing this, and that someone, somewhere, might be reading it.

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