When I said I would write a blog post today, I honestly didn’t know what I was going to write about. My life has been a roller coaster since January when I last blogged. But that was almost five months ago. Five. I’m slacking!
So being that I don’t know what to write because I could write about SO much that’s been going on… I’m going to pull out my trusty box of words. I’ve chosen 12 randomly and will use them as I can. (I was able to use 9, not bad.)
We use them every second of every day. We speak them. We think them (and let’s face it, sometimes—okay, a lot of the time—our internal words are so harsh, we beat ourselves up mentally to the point of exhaustion, sometimes to the point of depression). And we have to live with the consequences of the words we say, how we say them, when we say them, and why we say them. Sometimes they are kind and soft and sometimes they are the first raindrops we encounter from a storm, big and fat and stinging. It’s exhausting watching what words we let slip past our lips or scatter from our fingertips, isn’t it? Watching them start to fade even as they are leaving our mouth?
We’ve all been there, though? Said something we regret or didn’t say something that we also regret. I try not to have regrets. My motto is that everything is connected to everything else. People come into my life. People leave. There’s nothing I can do about it but stay settled in the present, just like the Grand Canyon can do nothing but let the Colorado rage through its walls.
…But of course there are times when I do feel a little tiny stab of regret by something I’ve said or didn’t say. I’ve sent text messages that I shouldn’t. Wished for things that I shouldn’t. Wanted things I shouldn’t.
Let me give an example.
—actually, first, let me warn you, as an artist, writer, and self-proclaimed introvert (though friends would laugh at that since I’m the first to make conversation anywhere, and sometimes in a lovely Australian or Irish accent), I take things very much to heart. I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s rose-colored and so delicate it seems as if it could be shattered into thousands of tiny pieces—
Recently, I reconnected with an old friend. For anonymity, I’ll tell you his name is Jonas (as ‘J’ names seems to find a way into all my books and stories; Jack, Johnny, Jonathan, James, Jeremy—perhaps my muse is trying to tell me something?). Jonas and I hung out one night back in April. We had a great time catching up, laughing about a mutual friend, talking about my writing, about my trip to Australia, his to Romania, and met up with one of his friends. Things went from fun to flirty real fast while cuddled together watching a movie… Everything seemed great. The next morning he sent me off with a kiss and a few CDs to borrow—several Lenny Kravitz and one Bob Dylan.
I get to see him again, I thought, my body at the extremes of heat and beauty.
A week went by and I we decided to catch a Flyers game together that Friday night. We went out, bought beer, and ordered pizza—actually he paid for everything, which led my thoughts to another possible outcome (my friends and I always split everything). I had fun. I “relearned” some hockey terms. We kissed goodnight and made dinner plans for Saturday. But he forgot about those plans when I asked him what time Saturday afternoon.
Fast forward two months and numerous late night phone calls and cancelled plans later and I haven’t seen him since that hockey game.
What did I do wrong?
Was I just a rebound?
I’m not into games. I want to be pursued.
Am I not pretty enough?
Did I not say the right thing?
Everything seemed good?
Am I too fat for him?
See, here is where the internal words are harsh and cutting, where we say things we would never dream of saying to our best friend, to our family, and yet we berate ourselves? Why do we do this to ourselves? I’m not drop-dead gorgeous, but I’d say I’m pretty. I’m not supermodel thin, but I’m a happy, healthy, curvy woman who loves to work out and eat food too. And I always have something to talk about. Something to teach, to learn. I’m interesting with so many hobbies I should be named the Hobbyist of the Year.
Despite all my attributes, I continued these negative thoughts, continued to say terrible words to myself, words I would never let past my lips in the company of family or best friends.
Why was I doing this? Why is it so hard for me to find someone?
My younger sister, one night after a tearful “I’ll never find someone” kind of pity-party nights, said to me, “You’re a rubber band ball.”
“I’m a- I’m a what?” I sniffled and ran my hand under my nose.
“You’re a rubber band ball. You have all these layers to you.” She smiled. “You’re pretty and artistic and funny. Each layer is a rubber band, part of the whole.”
I loved it. She was right. I need someone who will love every layer; every stretchy band needs a little bit of care.
I had been beating myself up, thinking it was something I did, something I didn’t do, something I wasn’t to him… And I had been wasting all my energy on this guy, who obviously just wasn’t that into me and instead of telling me, ignored me. It’s not my fault. It happened because I needed it to happen.
“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.” — Deepak Chopra
After a bout of pent up frustration, a few nights crying—unnecessarily—I wrote.
For the first time in months, I wrote.
Because I needed to, not because I was forcing myself to for a class or getting something to my critique partner.
And when I finished, I felt relief. I finished a poem that I love (and will be reading at a RBWG event shortly). I finished something that needed to get said. And I felt, finally, unattached from those couple of nights when I thought that Jonas and I could have had something more. Although I haven’t heard from Jonas since he cancelled our dinner plans Memorial Day weekend, I do have him to thank for renewing my interest in hockey, tennis, and Ryan Adams.
Words bring us closer to ourselves and to the memories and the people around us who really matter.
And being around those people, finding someone who is like that, is my grandest wish.
How about you? Will you get back to your words? Try to speak to yourself with kindness and love?