Friday, March 25, 2016
The trouble with essays is that the words are my life. They represent pieces of me I don’t even share with those I know. So when a reader catches hint of something and infers guilt without asking me to coffee or offering me tea, I get a little miffed.
The problem with this is that when I walk away nobody gets to play. I can’t process my life by poring over the page. Readers can’t escape their troubles or find their muse through my messages. And fellow writers are denied the benefit of a kindred soul. It is a creative lose-lose.
My therapist says it is a bit arrogant of me to believe I am in charge of others’ opinions. She says I need to understand that others will have feelings and thoughts with which I disagree and that that is okay. She says their attitudes toward me are none of my concern, that these people are grown ups and are allowed to have minds of their own. She says these opinions and assessments of my worth have no impact on my actual worth. She says these things and then she hands me a tissue because I am still not able to separate the opinion from the reality. In my world, if someone thinks a thing of me that is just not true and then tells others about this untruth, it is as if my heart is pierced by arrows so strong they rip clear through to my back and on out the other side.
I am a sensitive sort.
When I was a little girl, my mother schooled me on sticks and stones. I thought I knew. I thought people flung words much as they threw fists. But, no, my mother said. Words could never mark my soul the way a fist could. Words could never bloody a nose or blacken an eye. Words were merely letters strung together, punctuated with thought, emphasized with feeling. My adult self will have to disagree, with both my mother and my therapist. Some of my deepest cuts are from words. Some of the greatest gashes in my body are from letters strung together, punctuated with thought, emphasized with feeling.
I used to be a Girl Scout when I was younger. One of my favorite activities was that telephone game where a message is whispered into the ear of your neighbor and passed on down the line. By the time the words get to the last person, the message is blown so out of proportion it resembles nothing of the original thought. This is how I see misread essays, inferred guilt. If you would like to know a thing about me, ask me. I am pretty open like that. I may not give you the details, but I will tell you truth or not truth. I believe much of our disconnect as humans comes from lack of proper communication. By proper I mean communication with the source.
I read a quote once that said misunderstanding is the farthest distance between two souls. I have seen relationships destroyed over misunderstanding. I have seen good friendships torn apart because the two would not speak, would not present their respective sides to the other. I have seen this, and I have been a part of this. I’m taking my toys and going home. Now nobody gets to play.
Every essay has a point. Every thought winds itself back to the top. Last paragraph summarizes the previous six hundred words, reflects back on the first. I want to play. I want to have fun and to dance with my words. I can’t do that if I let you keep me from the page because you decide to not play nicely. If I walk away, that wrecks the fun for everyone. I may not be who you would like me to be. I may not play the games you choose to play. I may not look like you would like me to look, sound like you would like me to sound, or dress like you would like me to dress. But that’s the beauty there, isn’t it? We all bring our own toys and ideas and fun to the sandbox. It makes for a richer day. Join me, would you? It’s time to play.