Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Can You Hear Me Now?
“What’s the scariest thing you have ever done on purpose," a friend asked me recently. It made me laugh at first, because when you are scared of everything like I am, getting out of bed each morning can be frightening. Trying to pick one singular terror of mine is like trying to decide which of your children you love the most. All of my fears have their own special, terrifying place in my life, and they have been carefully crafted by my sick brain over the course of forty years. I know them all like the back of my hand, and it’s hard for me to say that one is worse than another. But even with so many choices, the answer came to me quickly. The scariest thing I have ever done on purpose is writing this blog.
When the invitation to write for this blog came in February 2009, I felt special to be included, but at the same time, I knew that I would be the one person in the group with nothing to say. I don’t write. Hell, I don’t even speak most of the time. The others in the group have writing or English degrees, and I was intimidated. Why would anyone want to know about my boring life anyway? I assumed I would sit back and enjoy the prose of my more talented and creative high school classmates, and make excuses for not contributing pieces of my own. Sure, I might occasionally insert a witty (in my own mind) remark here and there, but I just didn’t see myself putting words together that were coherent and, most of all, interesting to read. Apparently, I was wrong. I was the one who took the blog as her own.
In my real life, I don’t want you or anyone else to know me. I am invisible, and I like it that way. I keep my emotions, my experiences and my memories in a little box safely locked away from public viewing. You don’t need to know that I’m sad or frustrated or excited. You just need to see the calm, cool and collected Me, and accept it as the truth. I am a pillar of strength, or at least that is what I want you to think. What I know now is that my little box had reached its maximum capacity and was bulging at the seams. It couldn’t take one more deposit without exploding. My friend had no idea that, by offering me this blank canvas, the box would burst open and a torrent of words and feelings would pour out uncontained for the world to see. It was more like a pyroclastic flow – caustic, burning, raw sentiment rushing down from the volcano without regard to any object in its path.
There has never been a time in my life when I have felt so vulnerable and so naked, but at the same time, so alive. Now that my secrets are leaking out, I can slouch in my chair a little and softly exhale. I don’t have to be prim and proper with my back straight and my chin forward any more. I told the world that my family isn’t the Cleavers, that my life hasn’t been a bed of roses, that I’m frequently sad and uncertain about my life, and you know what? The Earth kept spinning, and my friends didn’t leave me. Imagine that.
So yes, the scariest thing I have ever done on purpose is putting the real Me on display for your viewing pleasure each week. I hope you are enjoying the show.