The Middle of the Beginning

September 16, 2021

No one tells you how weird the middle of the beginning feels. The beginning of something new is long. It’s that place where you’re meeting people and learning things and you’re so busy meeting people and learning things that you forget to look up. But then one day you look up at realize that you’re still at the beginning but just more toward…the middle.

Does this make sense?

I had one of these moments today when I realized that I’ve been at my “new” job for five months. Five months feels like forever, but it’s not.

At the end of my time teaching, I felt the weight of all those years, all the people I’d met, and the things I’d learned. The beginning of things is weightless. It’s lighter. I am a shiny penny in a sea of tarnished copper. All these people know each other. They can find the answers easily. I was that before in my old life. I knew where the roaches hid and the best place to get a bacon, egg, and cheese (Teixeira’s on Pulaski for anyone who’s wondering or currently in the Ironbound). I knew who to ask for help and who not to ask for help. I knew that sunset during Back to School night was magical from room 416 and that Club Spain is where you want to be during World Cup season, especially when Portugal plays Spain.

And all my people were real, flesh and blood. And they made me laugh when the ceilings were literally crumbling around us and the days were harder than hard.

Is it possible to know a place like that again? To know its veins and arteries and what it likes to drink during Happy Hour at that little bar with the great nachos and the pictures of burlesque dancers hiding divots in the maroon walls.

Does it take time to know a place like the way I knew the old place? Do I have the kind of stamina to stick around?

That’s the middle of the beginning. What a trippy place.

Published by Robyn Neilsen

I am a writer and educator based out of New Jersey. My creative nonfiction essays and flash fiction stories have been published by Thought Catalog, Vocal Media, and On Mogul. As a lifelong learner, I enjoy honing my craft through writing workshops with LA Writers Group, Gotham Writers, and The Moth. I am currently querying my first novel and am actively working on my second.

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