• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 03
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On earth, looking up

I decided to give up on being a graphic novelist, just like I gave up on going to space. I am nearly twenty-five, and will probably never be a professional athlete now. Maybe I could still master a skill, like chess or guitar. Though sometimes I think I am too late even for that.

I am not sure whether it is a relief.

My mother used to tell me not to get my ears pierced because it would affect my balance if I ever did sport professionally. She treated it like a real possibility. I tried to keep that door open. Now it is fairly much closed. I can breathe out. Move on. I don’t have to fly around the world training, go to the Olympics, give my blood for testing.

I could get my ears pierced, now. I could do anything, really.

Did I ever truly want to go to space? I used to love space. Stargazing. Learning the constellations, and being sad about Laika, and squinting to see galaxies. Did I ever really want to be in it? I don’t think so. I liked being in my little spot in the universe, on earth, looking up. Is it okay to accept a life that is not everything? To not want to reach for the stars, fill it with every beautiful thing I ever dreamt of? To accept ordinariness?

I guess I should devote my life to service, to some greater good. I do try. When I write, I hope I am saying something meaningful that will make people love the world. Sometimes I think I don’t know the world, and never will, however much I travel it, however much I study.

I have never felt any pull towards driving a car. The thought scares me. It opens up the gap between me and those around me, though—it is one of the things, like not eating meat, like not drinking, that makes me remember that to some people I am strange.


On earth, looking up

But it makes so much sense to me. Not in a way I can explain, but inside, the pieces of the puzzle… they don’t quite click together neatly, but they huddle close in a way that seems right, sensible. That keeps them warm and safe and shows some kind of picture.

A picture of a fish. Sometimes I think my soul is a fish. That being said, I don’t know if I can still swim.

When asked why I don’t learn to drive, I say, there are just so many other things I would learn first. That feel more natural to me. I want to play guitar properly. I want to sing. I want to ballroom dance, know sign language. I want to learn first aid, even though blood makes me faint.

And I do want to draw. I want to etch my strange, ungainly, tall, scruffy self into panels, living, and trying, and maybe then people can understand me.

Maybe I am not too late.