Saturday, January 28, 2012

You Know Me....You Know Me Not

You think I’m an open book. I’m really just a great press release. Stand anywhere near me for about ten minutes and you will feel like you’ve known me for a lifetime. I’m that free with information on my family, my desires, my wishes, dreams, dilemmas, my job, my home and hobbies and happenings. Float along in my personal bubble even longer and you will know that I am a lefty and a liberal, that I write and vote on the same side. You will see that I am all about patience and love, tolerance and compassion. That I believe people are people. Period. You will know that not only am I vegan, but that I’m passionate about health and well-being for all, not just myself, that I believe a healthy planet is a happy planet. Hover in my space a bit and you will definitely breathe in my desire to help others achieve all that they are about. You will see that I live to empower. If I can, in fact, uplift, motivate, move, inspire, encourage, I have had a good day.

If you care, and even if you don’t, I will share that it’s end of term and I’m a bit overloaded with final projects to grade, that paperwork isn’t my thing, that I’d much rather talk and teach and guide without grading or without parameters of any kind set for either instructor or student. You’ll learn that I write, that I write a lot, that I write because I don’t know how to not write, that it’s been the way I’ve worked out my issues since I was all knee socks and pigtails, that I am extremely thankful to the second grade teacher with the funny glasses and the beehive hairdo who took the time to explain to an eager seven-year-old writer-wannabe what specifically makes words and letters a poem, that “The cat wore a hat” is not exactly it, but is a really, really great start. Thank you so much for that, Miss Winslow. Thank you very much for that. Stand near me a few more seconds and you would definitely know that I believe in learning just for the sake of learning. That’s it’s not about diplomas or degrees or beautiful golden honor cords. That it’s about filling your head with information that makes life more fun, more interesting and more enjoyable. That it’s about taking that information, then, and throwing it out for others so that their lives can be more fun, more interesting and more enjoyable.

Hang around me enough and you will learn that my dad died at fifty-two, only five years after he quit smoking cold turkey. He was buff and charming and quite the lady’s man. An inoperable brain tumor took him down, took him down fast. Life happens like that. You will discover that this is the reason I choose to live my days rather than spend them griping and complaining, to fill them up with things I love, things that bring huge smiles to my face and to my heart, because I know that I might not have tomorrow. I might not even have this afternoon. If I love you I will tell you that. If I don’t, well, make room, I need to step on by. Diagnosed today. Dead in three months. That’s how it happens. And that’s why I say what I feel and do what I do. I don’t have time to live your life. I’m here to live my own.

Once we get close and cozy and are confiding our innermost thoughts, you will discover that I have traveled a tough path, that I am determined and driven and persevering. You will know that I believe in second chances and destiny and fate. You will know, too, that I have experienced hunger and poverty and the like firsthand and that I have come out the other side and that this is why I don’t snub my nose or look the other way, that this is why I believe in caring and sharing and spreading the love, that I wouldn’t be where I am today if others hadn’t done the same, that I am thankful for those others and thankful for that spreading of the love, thankful so much, in fact, that sometimes I cry.

But no matter how long we talk or how close we get you would never know all of me. No matter how much of an open book I seem, I am still very guarded in what I choose to share. You see only the picture I paint for you, the carefully crafted creation that is me, that is, well, that is the part of me I want you to see.

You would never know, for example, that thing that happened when I was five, that thing that confused me at the time, but that made me understand that for as long as my father was living no one would ever bring me physical harm. Ever. In any way. You would never know the things I remember from my childhood that I never share because I don’t think my mother is aware that I remember them and that if she did she might be embarrassed or feel bad because they are about tough times and about things that might be inappropriate for little ears. You wouldn’t know, either, about that sheriff who felt me up when I was fresh out of junior high, the one who was a family friend and who popped in just for a quick hello and to cop a feel when my parents weren’t at home, the one who made me once again question male intention.

No matter how much you chat me up you would never learn of that time in my life when I was so lonely and lost that I considered something I never thought I was capable of considering. You wouldn’t know of that time. You wouldn’t know because it’s private and only for me. You wouldn’t know because it’s not part of the painting that I am creating for the world to see. It’s not part of that picture. Neither is that fraternity party stage in my life where I did things I can’t even write down here, things I can’t write down anywhere. Those things are just for me, for me and, certainly, for my sorority sisters because they were there.

No matter how long you hang out in my space you will never hear what I truly think. You will never know how I believe in soul companions, that I believe in these individuals we travel lifetimes with. You wouldn’t know this because I come from a place where science rules and research rocks and mystical spiritual crap is just that. So you wouldn’t know that I believe I have a twin soul who lives a parallel existence to mine and is always with me even when he’s not. You wouldn’t know that because it would discredit the academic image you have of me, this picture of a smart girl who is all about the books and lessons and that which can be backed up by studies and numbers and graphs and data and such. Mystical hooha is weird and fluff and not at all science. It’s creepy and scary and, well, just a bit out there. People who believe in that stuff are a little loose in the head, or so I’ve heard. But, hey, it’s me. So, I’ll just keep that part to myself.

So, yes, I am an open book, but I’m open only to the chapters that I want you to see. I am open only to the sections that are appropriate reading for the moment. Some of my pages I choose not to share. I keep those only for the closest of the close, for the select few, the very select few. Some chapters, amazingly, haven’t even yet seen print, may, in fact, never see print. Those I keep for myself, for now. For now, or maybe forever.

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