When I started this blog ages ago--I was in--hooked. I loved the intensity of the writing process and the cathartic rush one gets from putting your heart into words and sharing those word with the world. I loved how hours would fly past once I'd gotten my fingers on the keyboard and let the words flow. I felt empowered. I was owning my Truth. But then, something happened. Once I realized people were actually reading it, I chickened out. I felt too vulnerable putting all those personal thoughts, feelings and emotional anecdotes out there. I wasn't sure if all the stories I wanted to write about were mine to share. And, I wondered, who really cares? If I am honest, it is during times of heartache that I find myself with more words to say or write than I can contain. Heartache usually involves someone else right? So I wasn't sure if I have the right to tell my tales or not.
After my parent's messy divorce, back in the days before suburban Irish-Catholics were doing that sort of thing, my siblings chastised me for telling my 12-year-old peers about our family secrets. "Never give anyone anything they can use against you!" They said. "It is none of their business." I was sagely warned, "Most people aren't asking about your troubles because they care. Most people would see your troubles on the table and take back their own if we all laid ours out to share. " It was this realist definition of compassion that underscored my New England, Irish-Catholic upbringing enough to give me the sense that humility and modesty are virtues to be applied to all matter of things--so it is not appropriate to share too much of your success in life. It is even more distasteful for one to air their 'dirty laundry.' This feeling made me afraid to write--actually, if I am honest, it made me too afraid to post what I had been writing. I was afraid to be judged. Somehow I was afraid of my own story. Ernest Hemingway said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at your typewriter and bleed." I am ready to bleed.
What happened is that I finally had an epiphany of sorts. I realized that what I like most to read, is the stuff that is real, honest and heartfelt. Even in music, it's the lyricism that sucks me into another much-needed, headspace. After all, it is after heartache that one can truly appreciate the poignant genius of a well-crafted love song. Sometimes, when I am reading or I am listening to something that hits the mark, I think-- I know that feeling. I can relate. I need to write about that too. I need to share. We read to know we are not alone--Mark Twain once mused. We all need to know that it is ok to feel, and to feel deeply, both joy and sorrow. Sometimes you just have to feel what you must. Just ride that wave out. What is that saying? Feelings are like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which ones to surf. That is the hard part for me. It is the one I have yet to master. Choosing which to surf, which ones to put into words and share--that is the part I need to practice. Which ones should I act upon? That is the true test. Maybe the best thing to do for this world right now is to share our experiences as much as we can with one another. Not to develop a society of narcissists, but rather to create a culture of listeners. Tell me. I hear you. I feel your pain. I've got your back. People need to feel heard in order to heal. It is one of the most important steps of any reconciliation process. They need to tell their stories in whatever way they can manage. So, it is in this spirit that I have decided to be the director of my own narrative. I have this belief, contradictory to my siblings, that those that listen to my tales, rather than judge me for the stories I tell, may actually say, "Well, what do you know? You are made of tougher stuff than I thought." Or maybe, they will tell me, "You are way more screwed up than I thought you were!" And that is ok.
So here I am, at the keyboard again, pouring out my soul with every intention to put it out into the universe. Most of the time--sharing to the universe is gratifying and even therapeutic. But lately, I am ashamed to report, I have used my words to harm rather than heal. Maybe it is more fair to say that in my attempts to reveal my heart, I hurled words of hurt at someone I loved. I somehow needed him to know how important he was to me and how scared I was to lose him. But I got it wrong. I got it wrong a bunch of times. My love, my fears, and my insecurity came out as anger. It seemed that I had lashed out rather than held out my hand. When I am in distress, in my need to be understood, I over-explain. I go above and beyond what the average person can even digest and decipher. I leave most people overwhelmed by my verbal tidal wave. (Anyone who knows me is nodding their head in agreement.) I tend to do this when I write too. I need to learn that less is more. That some things don't need explaining. Sometimes, simple is best. Maybe I need to reread Hemingway's works. He had that brevity thing down. Writing the words--I miss you. I need you. Can we have a do over? Please? --would have done much more for my intentions than the emotional tidal wave of words I sent. Not surprisingly, I don't often receive responses from emotional diatribes. And that only sparks the cycle again. I should have borrowed Hemingway's words instead;
“Oh Jake," Brett said, "We could have had such a damned good time together."
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic.
He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly, pressing Brett against me.
Yes," I said. "Isn't it pretty to think so?”
That is the thing about words, you can regret them. You may lament saying them. You can express remorse for uttering them. But once they are out there--they hit any mark--and maybe not the intended one. You can delete the messages but the words are out there now--wreaking havoc with someone else's heart. I tried to erase my words in fact. I just wanted them back. I needed to reclaim my heart. Maybe you can take them back. You can call it all water under the bridge. But the emotions sent out into the world with reckless and reactionary abandon are now being absorbed by someone else. Maybe it is too late to say someone else's words in my current case, but these attributed to Walt Whitman in a poem to a long lost love seem aprapos, We were together. I forget the rest. * What else needs to be said?
*Once I passed Through a Populous City
|ONCE I pass’d through a populous city, imprinting my brain, for future use, with its shows, architecture, customs, and traditions;|
|Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I casually met there, who detain’d me for love of me;|
|Day by day and night by night we were together,—All else has long been forgotten by me;|
|I remember, I say, only that woman who passionately clung to me;|
|Again we wander—we love—we separate again;|
|I see her close beside me, with silent lips, sad and tremulous.|