Well. You asked for it….

Photo courtesy of The Uptown Collective.

Some of you Kittenz made the lethal mistake of telling me you liked yesterday’s blog AND asked for more. It’s all your fault. Stop now if you don’t want to read more of my self-indulgent retelling of the nuclear meltdown that was my early twenties….

I’m also running on near-to-no sleep from not sleeping at all last night. Here’s to pajama–no-workity on a Tuesday!!! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, ME!!!!

Letter to Courtney in Spring, 2004:
Sweetheart, work at a different restaurant. That place sucks. Take days off. Sleep. Sleeplessness makes you make bad choices, particularly spending choices, so overworking yourself isn’t helping you financially. Your roommate is not your friend. He’s not even really your roommate. He’s a freeloading crap-ass who is going to convert to radical Christianity in two years and only speak to you once more, which is to tell you to quit Witchcraft and be like him. Do yourself  a favor and get rid of him, now. He will cost you money and ultimately, your lodging, too. I know you’re afraid to be alone, but having him around is worse than loneliness. Oh, and your plan to go to Antarctica and work on the station is not going to pan out. Stop telling people that’s what you’re going to do. No one takes you seriously and even if you had done it, you would have hated it. Remember how much you hated your first NYC winter? Why the fuck are you trying to go to Antarctica? 

Spend more time with Isabell. Spend more time in the park, and not to sleep in it. And buy tampons, for fuck’s sake. No one thinks you’re a hero for saving $8.99 at Duane Reade.  

Sincerely, Courtney in Late Winter, 2017.

Six months into living in New York, I was deeply committed to both discovering authentic Witchcraft and spectacular self-sabotage. I was still working at a midtown steakhouse where everyone was paid in cash, the chefs smoked over the food, and Irish UN ambassadors held private meetings in a glass-walled room in the back of the restaurant. They liked having me as their server because I had reddish hair and never spilled the wine. I worked 12-16 hour days, seven days a week because working as hard as I could without sleep seemed very important. The fact that I got messages from dead people during breakfast service should have testified to my mental state at the time, except that many of the things I heard from the Dead turned out to be accurate…

I was desperately saving money to try to flee the United States because I’d learned from my roommate that Bush and his cronies were all lizards and they would lock people like me in an underground cell once they learned I had psychic abilities. I made tampons out of toilet paper to save a little more money. It was a desperately creative time. One night, full of fatigue and wine, I used my savings to buy a one-way ticket to Dublin to use at the end of the summer and a backpack. A friend in Scotland had promised me a job at a burger cart in the Highlands. An Irish waitress at the seedy restaurant said her sister could get me a job in Dublin. I was going to Ireland to find the soul of Witchcraft. I would seek out Janet and Stuart Farrar and ask them to adopt me. I’d cook and clean and they’d teach me everything. Then, when I’d learned all I could from them, I would get a job at one of those stations on Antarctica. It was all going to work, beautifully and I was going to have the most interesting life, ever.

Plus, I was learning new things about Magick. I met a friend at a Magick shop in the East Village. We’d both wandered in and were both clearly overwhelmed by our lives and the shop. The storeowner introduced us to each other and said, “You two be friends! Go buy dildos and then go have lunch.” We declined the dual dildo purchase, but we did go and have lunch. Her name was Isabell and she was from Spanish Harlem. Her family was Espiritsmo, which was something I’d never heard of. We were both lost, yet managed to be one another’s port and anchor. She, and a very young man I’d also met at the Magick shop, came over and performed Circles with me and my crazy-ass roommate. He cut off his skinny-single-braid-beard on night with an athame and burned it in a cauldron on the floor. Aside from that, we’d raise energy and bask in it, having no idea what to do with it.  Still, it was the one thing I felt was going right in a situation that was feeling less and less in control.

The super was onto us and knew an illegal sublet was happening, Plus, my roommate and I kept locking ourselves out of the apartment. Once I slept in the lobby and once in the park (in the afternoon…not at night!), while waiting for him to help me break in. Neighbors would let us through their places so we could crawl through the windows. Once, we actually locked ourselves in and had to call a locksmith to get us out. Don’t ask me how we managed to be this fucking stupid, but the desire to blow up one’s own life will find all the best crevices to do it.

Then, I quit my job. Spectacularly. I would have made Jerry McGuire cry.

Then, the tenet from whom I was subletting figured out that she’d let a highly unstable young woman with an unauthorized roommate into her home. She insisted on double the rent or I get the fuck out.

Then, I got an offer for a summer job at a theater in Connecticut. That would hold me until I could get to Ireland or Scotland.

I dumped most of my meager possessions on the sidewalk and packed the rest in the backpack. I left for a state I’d never been to, to work and live among people I’d never met.

5 Comments

  • T says:

    I love your reminiscing which allows me to reminisce hearing parts of them too!
    Antarctica tho… That one I never knew!

  • Bill says:

    Yes. That is all.

  • Jane says:

    I identify with so much in these posts Courtney! The crash landing in NYC, sleeping in parks, and crawling into my apartment through a neighbor’s window. Even the unrealized Antarctica plan (I think I would have liked it).
    I never became a priestess tho. 🙂
    Thanks for the early 20’s ramble.

  • Mary L says:

    So glad I’m not the only one who had a “Maybe I’ll be different on a different continent!” phase. (Spoiler alert: I was exactly the same on a different continent.)

  • Lauren says:

    What happens next?!?! And PS I am still in the “want to flee the United States” thing. I’ve lived that life and I loved it. Soooo can’t wait to hear the continuation of this, it is quite helpful in reflections on my own life happenings.

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