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2001-09-10 - 8:17 a.m.

Well, in good news, my appetite's starting to come back, although food is still vaguely repugnant. In bad news, I'm really revelling in this melodrama. But I've decided not to subject you to it.

Back in January, I wrote an about page. I wrote it mostly in my head while running, and then later in longhand in my little used journal. This weekend, I typed it out on my borrowed laptop. It's still mostly relevant, only now I'm 27, instead of 26, and it's written in the third person, because sometimes I like to pretend I'm the starring character in the story of my life. Here it is:

Sara is 26 years old. She lives in Austin, Texas. People ask her why she moved here, and she still doesn't have a satisfactory answer. Truth be told, she came because of a boy; not to follow, but to escape. She came because she was powerless over many of the things happening to her, and this was one decision she could make. It all seems so long ago, when she piled all of her tattered possessions in a 15 foot Ryder truck, with her car hitched on behind, and drove halfway across the country by herself. She couldn't see her car in the side mirrors, and for the first five hours of the trip, she was positive that her car had come loose, and was lying in a ditch somewhere, possibly wrecking a few cars along the way. She was in Alabama before her fears were assuaged.

She's from Atlanta, or so she says. The truth is that she didn't learn her way around the city streets until she was the advanced age of 23. She's from Marietta, the suburbs, and although Atlanta was only 35 minutes away, it might have been in another country, as far as she was concerned. People ask her why she doesn't have an accent. She says she's from the New South. You don't have accents in the New South.

She's always waiting, waiting for something to happen, or for things to change. If she just stopped and looked around her, even for a minute, she'd realize that she's built quite a life for herself here, in Texas, in the middle of nowhere, it seems. She has friends and a job and interests. This is what adults do, she thinks. This is what life is like.

She likes to go running. Last year, she trained for and ran the Motorola Marathon. She brings it up every chance she gets. When she went to parties, she was introduced as Sara, who's training for a marathon. She wondered what people would say if she wasn't training for one. "This is Sara. She's awkward in social situations." She started training, though, because she was lonely and bored, and she needed something to fill the hours of each day, and something to talk about at parties. She started training for a second marathon, but hurt her iliotibial band, and couldn't run for a couple of months. It was probably all for the best, anyway. She was busier now, with friends and a social life. Being injured gave her an easy out. She's running again, not as much as before, but she's amazed at how happy she feels afterwards. It is one of the few things, now, that gives her a sense of accomplishment.

She has a job that she doesn't like, for an evil corporation. She started out as a temporary desktop publisher, and then was made permanent. Nine months later, she was promoted to editor. She knows she shouldn't have been promoted. They tried to hire three people outside of the company, but they all turned it down. Her coworker, who also applied for the job, was much more qualified. But soon Sara found herself promoted, with a hefty pay raise, and her own office. She wasn't really trained, and she really doesn't have any relevant experience, but no one seems to notice. No one seems to notice much of anything, actually. No one talks to her in the kitchen or on the elevator. No one smiles back at her in the hallway. She tries not to let it bother her, but she's starting to get a complex about it. It is the strangest place she's ever worked. Mediocrity seems to be the corporate culture here, and Sara has embraced it. Oh, work gets done eventually, she supposes; her manager doesn't seem to care about deadlines, or priorities. No one complains about her work. No one praises, either, but she doubts that anyone would think to do that anyway. So she goes to her office every day, and works occasionally, and surfs the Internet mostly. Her lack of motivation worries her, and she despairs that she has lost the capacity of learning anything new. But her credit card is paid off, and her savings account is getting bigger and bigger. She wonders how long she can keep this job, or which will happen first: she is discovered for the fraud she really is, or she opens fire on all the people who refuse to smile back at her in the hallway.

People drift in and out of her life quickly. There are many people that she no longer associates with. She wonders if that's a good thing, that maybe she should never have been friends with them in the first place. But she wonders what it means that she can let go of them so easily.

She has a brother and two and a half sisters. She is always, constantly, in awe of them, and she can't imagine more amazing people. They are not like her friends; they will always be there for her, and for that she is grateful. It's strange how they all fulfill different niches in her life. If she wants sympathy, she calls Erin. Danielle is the one to call if you need to be set straight. And Michael boosts her self esteem like no one else.

She thinks about leaving, and hates to feel trapped anywhere. She fears that if she stays, she'll be here forever, and then think of all that she'll have missed out on. She finds she is happier in one place if she has an escape plan, a way out. She doesn't have to enact the plan, but it must be made. After all, who knows whether she'll be happier anywhere else?

She likes people who see through her, through the bravado and the sarcasm, the fears and insecurities. Those people are few and far between, but she latches on to them, because it is in that way that she can best learn about herself.

She keeps busy, desperately running from one activity to another, hardly stopping to take a breath. When she does stop, panic creeps in, and the walls close in on her. She is learning to slow down, to breathe, and to relish her down time. She makes herself read, and write, and even do those things at a coffee shop if she needs to. She is making goals, and resolutions, because these help her.

She is learning that she really doesn't have it that bad.

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