these days

I have lived on my own for nine months, but these days are my first when I’m not in school.

For nine months, I have taken care of my children during the weekdays, during half of the nights, and I have read and I’ve written. I’ve thought only sporadically about my future.

In School allowed me that. It bought me a little time, gave me something to tell everyone who asks that infuriating (albeit reasonable) question of what my plans are.

In School were my plans, and that is all I had made of them.

But these days.

These days I am aware of how much things cost.

These days I am calling customer service over and over, trying to get signed up for employer-less health insurance.

These days I am upset when my children beg me for toys at every store, then upset at myself for not training them better before. Why didn’t I anticipate that I wouldn’t always be able to sustain the spoiling? Why didn’t I know then what I know now about money?

These days I am telling myself I will eat all the romaine before it goes bad, then I’m eating ramen from my pantry instead.

These days I am writing new things all the time, but not finishing stalled projects.

These days I am submitting work like mad, realizing that my writer’s life will begin once I am published, that opportunities open that way.

These days I am praying to a god that I don’t believe in that it all works out.

These days I am trying not to panic.

These days I let my bank statement sit unopened for weeks, afraid to look at it.

These days, I am scared.

I am saying this only after I wrote into a poem: being scared meant being alive in a world that wasn’t my home.

Although I am scared, I am alive in the world, making a home somewhere in its folds.

For that, and for all the rest of it, I am grateful.

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