Sunday, June 1, 2014

Must You Know?

It has been far too long since I have put this pen to page. I could, if I were so inclined, use any of a number of potential excuse. I have, for example, found myself inundated with homework assignments the likes of which make a bout of the stomach flu seem a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I have begun a charitable project that seems charitable to everyone but myself. The intent is good. The return on time investment not so much. I have found myself living once again with all four “children” under one roof. This is temporary and delightful, I know, but taxing nonetheless. I have found myself occupied with emptying my mind, feet in the sand, ear to the shore. One is not, is she, supposed to work at a time such as this. The reality is, I could use any of these excuses and each would be accurate, but not a one of them would be true.

The reason I have not written, if you must know, is because I have tired of baring my soul. It is the writer’s job, is it not, to take that which no one wants to share and to paste it on the page. No reader wants the ordinary, the everyday. I could write that I saw a much needed movie last night with a friend, that afterwards we went for coffee, conversation, and a laugh. Would you care? Let me mention, however, the nature of that conversation or the way the two of us leaned in to better hear, glancing around to make certain others were focused on conversations of their own, the way we spoke in whispers with pauses that were long and heavy, uncertain in duration or intent, and then, then I know, I have your sole attention, undivided and intense.

I have to undress myself for you to look at me? Frankly, that gets a bit old.

I had a lovely day today. The sun was out, the birds were singing, the breeze was exactly the right shade of cool. I spent the majority of my time with a great book, a bottle of tea, and bare feet resting in a chair. I had nothing to do and nowhere to be. I felt zero pangs of guilt over allowing the day to shower me with its joy, gifting me with love, expecting nothing in return.

There is not much excitement to words like that. They are pretty, yes, but so mundane.

As much as it seems I did nothing more than sit on my ever-widening backend, though, I was, in fact, working rather hard. I was working hard on allowing, on feeling, on fully experiencing my life. I was working on this because I have not done much of the sort in the past. I have pushed, pursued, controlled, manipulated, but I have not allowed. I have been driven, determined, persevering, and mad, but I have not been joyous. For the beginning half of my life, I have worked to make things happen. I have plowed my way through my days in an effort to overcome. I have been serious, single-minded, and obstinate to anyone in my path. I am trying now, trying, to find that little girl inside of me and to give her space to run barefoot through fresh cut grass, to lie on her back looking at the clouds, to watch the leaves as they dance on the trees. I am working hard at allowing. I realize, I do, the irony in that. I am working hard on allowing because I have a goal toward which I work. I cannot let go. Even with allowing I can never lose control. The story you want to hear is not the story of my beautiful day. The story you want to hear is the story I will not share. It is the story behind that goal, behind that working hard on letting go. It is a story that requires baring my soul.

And this, this is why I cannot write. In essay after essay after godforsaken essay I have turned myself inside out for you. I have shown you that which I have never shown anyone, have rarely shown myself. At what point is my life MY life? At what point do you touch my arm, look at me with love, and say, “Enough already. End the story. Keep your words. Guard your heart.”? At what point do you allow me to walk away with even a shred of dignity and respect?

I cannot say that I will never write, that I will never share, that I will never again put this pen to page. To say that is to say that I will never breathe. What I will say, however, is that I feel a deep desire, an intense longing for an arm placed gently around my soul, an arm that comforts me, soothes me, and tells me that all is well and that, share or not, I am worthy, I am loved.

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