Reset and renewal
I believe that when I die and they start commenting my art in class, the contextual background will be of great importance. Thus, if you find yourself a student taking a course in Julia’s prose and want to better understand the quite eminent leitmotifs in her writing, I got you. The assimilation I bore when moving to the US had a great impact on how I perceive my art in report to who I have become. It comes at a great cost, but it’s what makes it interesting to read. At least, I hope so. I submitted one of my pieces to British Vogue that had this theme of reset and renewal, though only after did I realize… I am not eligible. My dreams of becoming the next Didion and getting hired by the editorial team at Vogue came to a brushing end, even if there was no beginning. Here is what I wrote:
Gate 4, Seat 19A
It is quite presumptuous of me to board a discounted flight and bask in the glory of my small town. I wish I could see my own smirk and boil in an unjustifiable rage that leaving your homage doesn’t make you Mesaiah reborn. Unfortunately, I simply cannot do that. I must take pride in my ability to oversell myself to a board of admissions overseas and pack my bags in a split. Broken down in two asymmetrical women, one more stupefyingly stingier than the other, I boarded my first plane to Boston in hopes of reconciliation with my modest past. Born and raised into a town that falls off any great map, I resigned in transparency. Without any sort of grudge held against the Gods, I knew that my destiny could be very well manufactured and bought at the corner store. I was about like any teenage Romanian girl living in an absolutely pitiful post-soviet world. I used to crochet a different version of the American dream every night, just so I could peacefully enter my world of dreams. My mama couldn’t raise a genius out of her second child, so she chose to give me the wits of one.
Upon that terrifying interview with a rather old alumnae, I sat down and glorified every putrid thing I did. This heavily relied on showing an incomprehensible world of beauty, chance, and opportunity that I built from scratch. But in reality, behind the screen of my second hand bought Macbook, I dreamt of 5th Avenue and hibiscus candles lit on my 2ft square balcony overseeing Queens. With the only allowance I had, I perturbed my lips with slimed cigarettes covered in my cheap red lipstick and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and refused to believe the Russians trotted once where I now take overly feminine sips of my coffee. I viewed myself as the new woman, a woman I wished I was, but could never be.
Thus, when the tackiest congratulations message woke me up in the dead of the night four years ago, I suspected someone heard my whines. The rush downstairs to my parents to present them my golden ticket was and still is vivid. I must admit the elation overtook my body. Mea culpa, dear parents. The rascal finally made it out of the slump. So I nicely packed my traditional blouse next to every possible tourist guided map I could find in the house and catapulted into a world anew. A world I only witnessed in color on my dad’s rusted Samsung TV in the living room.
My arrival at Logan wasn’t met with confetti and it didn’t seem plagued with fanaticism. The Americans did look like they did in movies, though. Overly red cheeks and New England accents surrounded me from the gate to my first dorm. For some reason unbeknownst to me, this rebirth showed a fascination beyond me. My emotions raged uncontrollably from the intimate classes where the lesbian teacher that would slounch on the desk telling us stories about her debut novel to my first trip to the local Walmart. Everything appeared to be a concerted attack on my past self: a country girl searching for deep liberation and cultivation. Crawling through Times Square, I imagined my 16-year-old self would rather violently turn her back than congratulate me for achieving the impossible.
I look back at a petite young woman desperate to escape a world made out of concrete blocks and generational traumas. It was a bit unfortunate I took to Russian writers like no other. But I was trying my very best to fall in America’s Hemingways and Patchetts.
And when March of the new era came about, the same clothes I neatly packed some years ago were thrown stupidly around. My last night before returning suspiciously to my own roots was a fever dream – in short. Bulldozered on the top of the stairs hearing drunk freshmen wailing in the courtyard, I realized how my aspirations to drink tea at Waldorf Astoria were now merely the underbelly of any American dream I had left with. The snapshot of the conclusion was rather dramatic, as I very much intended it to be. Over the Atlantic, Boris struggled to keep the brits calm and in Neverland, the peach fuzz announced Europe just became off limits. I seemed incapacitated somewhere around Harvard, staring at a life I will seem to forget. My anger could no longer be justified neither into words, nor feelings, nor menthol cigarettes.
Grief is not linear and whilst I was boarding back to fly to Romania with my tail between my legs, I realized I no longer felt like I belonged there. My flight promised a rather whimsical destination and next to my mustard yellow bag, I sighed in relief. Yes, relief. America sank soon afterwards, anyway.