love letters

LOVE LETTERS

A selection of unedited letters written to myself from myself at different points. 

 

 

 

 (Originally written September 1, 2014 - First post is the deepest.)

 

Dear, Heart,

 

We all want to belong.

 

Moving here a year ago, I discovered that despite having an already solid group of friends in Los Angeles, it was still a foreign city to me and that people aren’t always as they seem. Driving everywhere really limits your chances of social interaction. When I rode the subway or stopped at a traffic light on the sidewalk back home, even the simplest gestures such as a smile or making eye contact with other people in the same space helped me to remember to consider others and my surroundings.

 

I think we’ve spent so much more of our time isolated from other people that we have become hyper-sensitive to those situations in which we can have human connections: at the check-out counter, in the ice cream aisle, ordering a drink at the bar, standing close to someone in a crowded room.

 

In the first months of moving here, I stayed with friends in their beautiful house, away from most of the bustling hustlers of Hollywood. It was nice to be in nature, to have quiet nights without street lights, helicopters overhead or drunks in an alley below. It was easy to exercise, eat well and make a lot of excuses as to why I couldn’t attend social events. And when I moved out of there and into my own place, I regained the independence and solitude of living alone (but also street noises, proximity to social events and obligations and the ability to be alone whenever I chose to be).

 

I still struggle with living alone versus living with others. Even if it was with a dog, it would still be nice to have another living being in your company. Maybe I don’t always want it to be around, as my moods and needs change, but it sure it nice to know that a warm body is there for me if I need something to hold on to.

 

As much as I genuinely love humans and yearn to make real connections, no matter if it’s work, friendship or romance, I also rely on my time spent alone writing. It rejuvenates me. Just as some people rely on yoga, meditation, hiking, running, video games or being in a big crowd, I rely on getting the words out. Letting them pour out of me or slowly coming letter after letter, like a steady stream of ants leaving the hill, lifting pieces of things fives times the size of themselves. It gets me excited about the next thing I’m meant to do. Being home alone keeps me happy and healthy, both in the brain (as I have time to reflect) and in the body (as I have time to cook properly and eat well).

 

I try and remind you of this, dear Heart, when you are beating a little slowly or perhaps to the beat of someone else’s heart: we must always remember that while we can rely on each other, as we are two parts of one whole person, that we cannot always rely on others. I promise to be here for you, my loving Heart and I know you will do the same for me. Luckily for us, because we respectively beat fiercely and think rationally, we do have friends and family on whom we can rely. They may not always know the perfect thing to say or be able to comfort us the way we’d like, but then nor can we always be of comfort to ourselves. That’s the scary thing about love – having to reach out blindly and hope to touch something, either deeply, timely or purposefully.

 

Here we are, one year in, and we are trying to belong, still. Perhaps we will never fit in, exactly, or we will never know what it means to fit in because we can’t understand what’s written on the labels posted here and there. But we will always belong to one another.

 

I need your blood; you need my power. We will make this woman the best she can be.

 

Are you with me?

 

Love,

 

Brain


  

Dear, Stranger,

 

It’s ok to ask for help. We all have to remember we are human beings and that it’s socially acceptable – and recommended! – to treat those around you as fellow Homosapiens, members of a community, be it immediate or not. Regardless of the colour of your skin or my skin, our past experiences and what we are working towards, leaving out any and all prejudice for gender, sexual orientation, political or religious views – just looking at one another as straight up flesh and blood, beating hearts, nerves and bones, muscles that fail or flex, conscious or unconscious of it, it is there inside us all. We all have history and problems that stem from it; we all have fears, dreams, our own unique perspective on the world and pain. Some of us are better at hiding than others; some of us are better at accepting these things in lumps or buckets, in outward guy-in-a-trenchcoat who is flashing us his bare bone-skeleton, his secrets and lies and betrayals or his deep desperation and agony and afflictions.

 

When someone asks you for help, don’t turn away from that person. What can you do? Are you able to help? Sometimes you can’t do anything except acknowledge him or her: make eye contact, smile, use your words. The more you practice using your words, the stronger you become at employing them as a tool to help others and yourself. You don’t owe that person anything except the right to be a human and feel human together.

 

If you can help that person, what is stopping you from doing it? Sometimes we might be afraid to involve ourselves in a situation, for various reasons. You fear for your safety or your health. Beyond those main reasons, why else would you refuse to help someone who is in need? Of course we might want to judge others on what we think about the reasons the needy end up where they do. But that is all assumed. Assumptions can be dangerous if left unchecked, like facts. Like rumours, they can hurt and harm; and while we live in a place where celebrity culture, social media and reality TV shows rule (we feed them by consuming them), when you come face to face with another human being, it makes sense as to why it’s easy to swipe them from eyesight or earshot. But it might only take a few minutes or a few dollars and then you can go back to your life. You don’t need to make it a big, long lasting thing that comes with strings or follow up. You’ll most likely never see that person again in your life.

 

The other day, I was coming off the freeway and pulled up to a stoplight at a busy intersection. On my left side, there was a man who looked about 25 or thereabouts. He was shaking and twitching, as if from a nervous disorder. His hair a mess and his clothes looked as though they had never been washed. His socks were visible through his shoes. His face and hands were grimy from being outside in the sun, the dirt, the pollution from the cars. All of this didn’t matter to the man who approached him. This man was well-kept: hair brushed and parted, face clean and shaved, his grey suit pressed and white shirt immaculate. His stride was long and it only took him a few to cross the intersection to where the homeless man was. I was close enough to see the business man ask, “Would you like some apples?” and produced a whole bag of them. The man on the corner took them and seemed almost timid about it. Next the business man pulled out a pair of new high top sneakers. They were pristine and he was giving them to the man on the corner as I drove away in tears.

 

Surely these moments happen on the daily – reading about the online, even – but it was really touching to see it real time. It was a good reminder that doing kind things for people you don’t know shouldn’t be a big deal because it isn’t a big deal. If you have something you don’t need, give it to someone who does need it. If these acts become part of your day to day, they become routine and routine seems commonplace. And perhaps the business guy in the suit walked past the same shakey-bones man on the corner every day for weeks without doing anything. Maybe he only say him that morning on the way to work and thought, “On my way home, I can stop and give him something to eat.”

 

It feels nice to help people, especially when you don’t get anything in return. Knowing you did the good deed because it was the right thing to do and because it helped someone else is reward enough. It might edge into the too touchy-feely territory but why is that a bad thing every now and again? Compassion and empathy are seemingly lost on most people who rush through the world.

 

I choose to write letters to strangers and to my loved ones and to myself in hopes that these words will hold me to something better, something more meaningful. And if I fail at realizing these goals or thoughts in real life, I might lose myself to the digital even more, slipping slowly into a safe place where what I write and who I am is determined by my internet connection and if I can string a sentence together. I want to be defined by more than things I do in my spare time. I invite these things into my life and hope to help and learn and teach and be helped when I need it.

 

Whoever you are, if you need help, just ask. There’s no shame in asking; we all need help sometimes when we cannot do it alone.

 

Yours,

Stranger, still.

 

 

(Originally written April 13, 2015 - The kindness that swells from your heart like a hot spring through an ice sheet.)

 

 

 

 

Dear, Reader,

 

If you’ve ever had a tough year, and I mean a year that collects all of your other terrible years, collates them AND staples them to your ass, then hands it all to you (along with your ass) in a soggy brown paper bag and writes on the outside, “IT’S WHAT FOR DINNER, LOSER” then this post is for you. We may not know each other, but we might have this in common, and that’s a comfort.

 

Last year was that year for me. It was overflowing with all sorts of fun emotions: anger, resentment, despair, fear, jealousy, possessiveness – 2014: The Year Things Were Mean! No, no. Ahem. 2014 (and yes, I know you’re not supposed to start a sentence with numbers but it’s for rhetorical porpoises. Dolphins. Rapists of the ocean!)….so last year was 2014: The Year Unseen of All Unclean! It was all kinds of awful, more awful than those rhymes, and some of those reasons as to why it was awful were due to the actions and behaviours of other people. But the worst offender of last year was ME: I was a grade-A B-hole to myself, for at least a full 12 months.

 

It is 2015 and I have turned 30. It’s a nice thing to do when you’re 29; I felt happy, like I had finally become a grown-up and that people would take me seriously now because there is a magic in the number 3 and all the numbers associated with it. (By my champagne year of 33, I will, in fact, have enough money to fly myself to Champagne, France, and sip it with the finest of friends. Friends, take note.) It felt good to feel like I had accomplished something mighty without really having put in any effort. Because up until now, I deemed it acceptable to be very, very lazy. When it came to doing things I wanted to do.

 

Of course, I have worked exceptionally hard to get to where I am; and I’m happy. And I wasn’t entirely lazy (I started a new job, moved to a new country, learned two new languages), but last year was the culminated efforts of my twenties: the better part of my adult life when I a) was never single and b) didn’t know myself, too well. I had given all my “best years” to other people! Not always in a sexual way (sure, sometimes) but in a more general way. I truly and completely gave myself to the people I love: my emotional wellbeing, my personal time, my talents, my kindness and generosity, my boobs! Not all loved me back; some took advantage of these things (my boobs! my cunning ability to groom a horse without getting bitten!), and I was ok with that. It’s not a bad thing. And through oversharing and many, MANY conversations with friends and family about life and our experiences, have come to accept that it’s just how I am. I have my mom to blame/thank for it.

 

But after all the soul searching and the coming into my own, I’ve realized that I am terrified of being alone. And I am only 30. I still have another full life ahead of me. What is WRONG with me, I would ask myself, rocking back and forth with my knees pulled to my chest…overshare. Oversharing. Ok. So why worry about it at all when I have all this time to figure out the next ten years?

 

My mom had me when she was 29. She owned a house then. And was married. She had a dog and a job and two cars and my dad owned a store and had all the same things my mom did…I mean, it’s probably rooted in some abandonment issues I have not yet resolved with my father, whom I love deeply – but in all seriousness….yeah, it’s probably got a lot to do with him. So figuring that out has helped in some ways to answer some of the burning questions I have to now ask myself as a proper grown up, as an adult might ask a small child, “Why are you afraid of the dark? Why are you afraid of being alone?”

 

I’ve haven’t been alone since I was small. I used to love being alone: I played in the woods by my house, training chipmunks to eat peanuts out of my shorts’ pocket (true story). I took long walks with our family dog, drew pictures and wrote stories and made crafts (for hours). I even made sandwiches for my dad and myself; he was the stay at home parent. But I wasn’t afraid or sad or upset by spending so much time alone. I was an only child, and that’s just how I played. It was circumstantial, but also inherent. My dad is a loner. He spends hours in the basement or out in his workshop, tooling away at fixing something. He is exceptional. He can fix anything that has parts, solve any logical problem – as long as it doesn’t involve too much emotion or responsibility – and can be really, really funny. Who doesn’t love a fart joke!? Then I went to school and started having friends: people to talk to on the phone and hair to braid at sleepovers, other than my dog’s. I still needed time alone, as most of us do, in my room listening to music or drawing. I had a floor to ceiling closet mirror and I danced in front of that quiiiite a bit, too. But I was happy with this balance.

 

The time when it started to feel like I was really lonely was when my folks split up and dad moved to a neighbouring town, a couple hours drive away. It was agony for me, having to leave either parent after visiting them separately. I used to wonder what my mom thought about on her drives home after dropping me off to my dad’s, so I asked her. She said she mostly thought about how I was and if I was having fun, hoping I was enjoying myself and that I was safe. After talking with her about their divorce for a while, I asked her how long after they split up that it was when he got together with his longtime girlfriend. “Oh, it wasn’t very long. Your father never liked being alone.” AHA. So perhaps it’s an inherent trait instead of a conditioned one. But what is it about his past that informs my future? Is it anything?

 

My dad later re-married, as did my mom, and I inherited siblings, which changed my alone time quite dramatically. I loved having them around when they lived with us; and when they stayed at their mom’s, I would feel comforted by the space.

 

Whatever the reason is exactly, I haven’t quite put my brain on it yet. But the point is that even after this very bad year of not-so-nice-things, I still came out on the other side of it and have a better understanding of myself BECAUSE I am alone. I get to do the things I want to do when I want to do them. I don’t have to consider anybody else in my decisions; and I can still share those big, important ones with my family and close friends. (And, the internet! Hooray for oversharing!) I get to be me and see what kind of a person I’ve grown into, to be open and transparent with myself and know that when I am solo, I don’t have to worry about doing the dishes after a meal…right away! But that also I am great and strong and that it’s ok to admit that to myself. When I think back to those times I spent solo, when I really felt happy and secure in knowing I was doing things I enjoyed and that helped fuel my creativity, foster my independence and create a sense of self that few other kids at school with siblings could match, it gives me a sense of clarity. There was a level of maturity and of confidence that I’m rediscovering now as a grown-up. It makes me happy to remember those times and to pull from them the good things; out of the past is a bright future, the one where our dreams are more vivid and our imaginations seem boundless.

 

So if you’re having a bad year, it’s ok. Because you can also borrow from childhood and trade that soggy brown paper bag of baloney for something meatier. You’re of legal age! You make your own lunches and plan your own shit and it’s ok to do that alone. It’s exciting to do it alone – make your lunch in your undies and a wool cap! Eat a cupcake for breakfast and have pancakes for dinner. And if you’re not 18 and free from parental discretion, you will be someday! And listen to your parents. They may have had things happen to them as kids that don’t make them quite perfect as adults, but they may have just had a worse year than you. But mostly, just be nice. Be good to yourself. If you can be honest and patient and kind while your insides grow up to match the out, you’ll be better off.

 

Love,

Writer

(Originally written April 8, 2015 - Tuesdays With Ramblings: Being OK With Being Alone.)

Dear, Right Brain,

 

At an age when we have never felt more connected to one another, why is it that I feel so lonely? Friends are experiencing the same thing. It’s great to be able to talk to my girlfriend back east, but often our calls get dropped, one of us is distracted because we’re trying to get something done while talking on the phone or it just doesn’t feel the same when the story is being recounted: you really just have to be there.

 

I’ve had days where I have felt like there is nobody around. I will text someone and not hear back within ten minutes and panic as to why this person hasn’t responded. It’s easy to forget that other people are doing things: driving, eating, are at work, on the toilet. On one of these days, I was feeling really bummed about a guy I was seeing.

 

I haven’t dated anybody since I was 22. At least, not in that “Let’s get dinner or a drink and talk, being the best versions of ourselves, and then spread our time out, week after week, only seeing each other enough to fulfill any desires to figure out if we like each other or not on the surface” type dating. When I was 22, I started a relationship with a man 19 years my senior; I spearheaded the courtship and the being together and most of the relationship from early on. I wanted it. From the first night we went out together, we were together together. It was fast and intense and would end up being the most incredible, rewarding, heart wrenching and heartwarming time in my life – for nearly 7 years. We still talk from time to time and still love each other in some way that makes sense to us both. But we aren’t together and won’t get back together. That confuses others.

 

So I had a good year of being alone, enough time to reflect on my last relationship, though I was really never “alone”. I always had some crush or a friend I could fuck, depending on the day or week or what I was really wanting at that moment. I appreciate these men immensely. But I have never really just gone it solo: totally cut off from boys, from sex, from dating, from intimacy. It’s been tough because I’ve been struggling with how much I let other people define me or factor into my life choices. As we grow up, we realize that what draws our respective boyfriend/girlfriend to us is not what we like about him/her or want to learn about him/her, but what we ourselves have already accomplished, what we love to do, what drives us and makes us the people we are.

 

On this one day, I was feeling particularly completely-and-utterly-alone. I’d only ever felt this sort of crushing despair when I was maybe 20 or 21, and I could not get a hold of anybody on the phone (plus, it was the dead of winter back East, and I was living in a big, old house by myself, which was mostly empty). So here I was in LA, with my myriad friends, a rich and lively outdoor scene to explore at the turn of a car key, all the goings-ons one could possibly want…and yet, I was disabled by my own loneliness, eventually collapsing into a fold on the floor of my bathroom, wedged into a corner, sobbing heavily. Straight up Hollywood over-the-top breakdown.

 

What I learned from this was that I cannot continue to be so reliant on other people, and I cannot let others define who I am. It’s a struggle to find a balance as I find that one of my biggest worries is how people are becoming more and more distant from each other, from actually feeling a real human connection, in place of the transient and easily deleted digital social media from to which we all belong. Perhaps all this time in my life, I have been craving the constant attention and seeking the approval of others because I am afraid of being alone, so I do whatever I can for those around me to ensure I will always have company.

 

I know that what I want is to find a way to still care deeply for people and to want to feel things intensely, but to do that without giving everything over to that person immediately. I want to be able to have a connection with someone and not belittle it based on what happens after the connection is broken. To share that connection with someone and have them reciprocate and not have to worry about any falsities or insincerity. I want to know if I can have a happy, fulfilled and healthy life by sharing it with a group of people, having certain needs met by different ones within that group, instead of piling it all on one.

 

Could we meet up soon and talk more about this? I’m really feeling like I’m putting too much on the Heart lately and Ear can only lend himself to me so many times before he goes Van Gough.

 

Yours,

 

Left Brain

 

(Originally written September 30, 2014 - We’re never alone and always connected to lonerism.)

To My Outside Heart,

 

I hate not being with you when we are in the same city; I live off of crumbs you feed me through the mail slot when you pass through on your schedule, often in the middle of the night and I dream what you tell me. In dreams we live together and are happy, we save each other from burning, from drowning, from the outside attackers and from the inner demons.

 

I am a rat. No, I am a cockroach, surviving all the footsteps and obliterating silences you leave me in for dead, or for better, maybe. Which is worse? And still after it all, I appear a tiny mite, a small spec, an insect alive. It’s not becoming, but still I grow on you and when once, you were inside me, you looked into my eyes and my heart exploded.

 

After the stroke, I was paralyzed on one side, the other still wanting to move past it: strong, capable; the other side a strange piece of surrealist art, keeping time at bay because inside those moments were the only ones that mattered enough to keep, if only to live in them over and over, stretching them into infinity.

 

You once told me that love is merely chemistry and memories. Each chemical intermingling we have is a new memory. Those memories feed physical reactions which make more memories until there are enough of them for us to live here and there together. And when you disappear after you’ve had your fill of remembering and feeling the balance take hold, you dive off leaving a wake that pushes me further out into the middle of myself, alone, with one side on the surface and the other facing down into the dark.

 

Yours and mine.

 

Your love, 

Inside Heart

 

(Originally written March 26, 2015 - On my steady beating heart.)

Dear, Reader,

 

If you’ve ever had a tough year, and I mean a year that collects all of your other terrible years, collates them AND staples them to your ass, then hands it all to you (along with your ass) in a soggy brown paper bag and writes on the outside, “IT’S WHAT FOR DINNER, LOSER” then this post is for you. We may not know each other, but we might have this in common, and that’s a comfort.

 

Last year was that year for me. It was overflowing with all sorts of fun emotions: anger, resentment, despair, fear, jealousy, possessiveness – 2014: The Year Things Were Mean! No, no. Ahem. 2014 (and yes, I know you’re not supposed to start a sentence with numbers but it’s for rhetorical porpoises. Dolphins. Rapists of the ocean!)….so last year was 2014: The Year Unseen of All Unclean! It was all kinds of awful, more awful than those rhymes, and some of those reasons as to why it was awful were due to the actions and behaviours of other people. But the worst offender of last year was ME: I was a grade-A B-hole to myself, for at least a full 12 months.

 

It is 2015 and I have turned 30. It’s a nice thing to do when you’re 29; I felt happy, like I had finally become a grown-up and that people would take me seriously now because there is a magic in the number 3 and all the numbers associated with it. (By my champagne year of 33, I will, in fact, have enough money to fly myself to Champagne, France, and sip it with the finest of friends. Friends, take note.) It felt good to feel like I had accomplished something mighty without really having put in any effort. Because up until now, I deemed it acceptable to be very, very lazy. When it came to doing things I wanted to do.

 

Of course, I have worked exceptionally hard to get to where I am; and I’m happy. And I wasn’t entirely lazy (I started a new job, moved to a new country, learned two new languages), but last year was the culminated efforts of my twenties: the better part of my adult life when I a) was never single and b) didn’t know myself, too well. I had given all my “best years” to other people! Not always in a sexual way (sure, sometimes) but in a more general way. I truly and completely gave myself to the people I love: my emotional wellbeing, my personal time, my talents, my kindness and generosity, my boobs! Not all loved me back; some took advantage of these things (my boobs! my cunning ability to groom a horse without getting bitten!), and I was ok with that. It’s not a bad thing. And through oversharing and many, MANY conversations with friends and family about life and our experiences, have come to accept that it’s just how I am. I have my mom to blame/thank for it.

 

But after all the soul searching and the coming into my own, I’ve realized that I am terrified of being alone. And I am only 30. I still have another full life ahead of me. What is WRONG with me, I would ask myself, rocking back and forth with my knees pulled to my chest…overshare. Oversharing. Ok. So why worry about it at all when I have all this time to figure out the next ten years?

 

My mom had me when she was 29. She owned a house then. And was married. She had a dog and a job and two cars and my dad owned a store and had all the same things my mom did…I mean, it’s probably rooted in some abandonment issues I have not yet resolved with my father, whom I love deeply – but in all seriousness….yeah, it’s probably got a lot to do with him. So figuring that out has helped in some ways to answer some of the burning questions I have to now ask myself as a proper grown up, as an adult might ask a small child, “Why are you afraid of the dark? Why are you afraid of being alone?”

 

I’ve haven’t been alone since I was small. I used to love being alone: I played in the woods by my house, training chipmunks to eat peanuts out of my shorts’ pocket (true story). I took long walks with our family dog, drew pictures and wrote stories and made crafts (for hours). I even made sandwiches for my dad and myself; he was the stay at home parent. But I wasn’t afraid or sad or upset by spending so much time alone. I was an only child, and that’s just how I played. It was circumstantial, but also inherent. My dad is a loner. He spends hours in the basement or out in his workshop, tooling away at fixing something. He is exceptional. He can fix anything that has parts, solve any logical problem – as long as it doesn’t involve too much emotion or responsibility – and can be really, really funny. Who doesn’t love a fart joke!? Then I went to school and started having friends: people to talk to on the phone and hair to braid at sleepovers, other than my dog’s. I still needed time alone, as most of us do, in my room listening to music or drawing. I had a floor to ceiling closet mirror and I danced in front of that quiiiite a bit, too. But I was happy with this balance.

 

The time when it started to feel like I was really lonely was when my folks split up and dad moved to a neighbouring town, a couple hours drive away. It was agony for me, having to leave either parent after visiting them separately. I used to wonder what my mom thought about on her drives home after dropping me off to my dad’s, so I asked her. She said she mostly thought about how I was and if I was having fun, hoping I was enjoying myself and that I was safe. After talking with her about their divorce for a while, I asked her how long after they split up that it was when he got together with his longtime girlfriend. “Oh, it wasn’t very long. Your father never liked being alone.” AHA. So perhaps it’s an inherent trait instead of a conditioned one. But what is it about his past that informs my future? Is it anything?

 

My dad later re-married, as did my mom, and I inherited siblings, which changed my alone time quite dramatically. I loved having them around when they lived with us; and when they stayed at their mom’s, I would feel comforted by the space.

 

Whatever the reason is exactly, I haven’t quite put my brain on it yet. But the point is that even after this very bad year of not-so-nice-things, I still came out on the other side of it and have a better understanding of myself BECAUSE I am alone. I get to do the things I want to do when I want to do them. I don’t have to consider anybody else in my decisions; and I can still share those big, important ones with my family and close friends. (And, the internet! Hooray for oversharing!) I get to be me and see what kind of a person I’ve grown into, to be open and transparent with myself and know that when I am solo, I don’t have to worry about doing the dishes after a meal…right away! But that also I am great and strong and that it’s ok to admit that to myself. When I think back to those times I spent solo, when I really felt happy and secure in knowing I was doing things I enjoyed and that helped fuel my creativity, foster my independence and create a sense of self that few other kids at school with siblings could match, it gives me a sense of clarity. There was a level of maturity and of confidence that I’m rediscovering now as a grown-up. It makes me happy to remember those times and to pull from them the good things; out of the past is a bright future, the one where our dreams are more vivid and our imaginations seem boundless.

 

So if you’re having a bad year, it’s ok. Because you can also borrow from childhood and trade that soggy brown paper bag of baloney for something meatier. You’re of legal age! You make your own lunches and plan your own shit and it’s ok to do that alone. It’s exciting to do it alone – make your lunch in your undies and a wool cap! Eat a cupcake for breakfast and have pancakes for dinner. And if you’re not 18 and free from parental discretion, you will be someday! And listen to your parents. They may have had things happen to them as kids that don’t make them quite perfect as adults, but they may have just had a worse year than you. But mostly, just be nice. Be good to yourself. If you can be honest and patient and kind while your insides grow up to match the out, you’ll be better off.

 

Love,

Writer

 

(Originally written April 8, 2015 - Tuesdays With Ramblings: Being OK With Being Alone.)

Dear, You,

 

Some people are nervous eaters, smokers or drinkers. I’m a nervous writer. If there is something about which I’m feeling anxious, I’ll try and write to distract myself. If I’m angry, it’s straight to the keyboard to mash out some words. If I’m worried about what someone thinks of me, which is often, I’ll write that down in some torrid stream of consciousness and hope that strangers will understand me. I’m not always able to come up with anything good, which makes me more nervous until I think, “If I can’t write, I can’t even really fend for myself. What else do I have but my crutch?”

 

I was born a writer. I didn’t choose to be one, but I’ve learned to love it. My mother commented on my long outstretched fingers when I was born, thinking at first I was going to be a cellist; but then I picked up my first pencil and wrote her a love note. It was barely legible and what letters she could make out, formed sentences riddled with spelling mistakes. “You have a gift”, she said, nonetheless. “You must share it with the world.” Unique. Special. Wonderful. All of these things I’ve come to accept instead of shamefully carrying them around with me, as though they didn’t belong to me. “Oh, these? Oh, no. They don’t apply to me. I’m just holding them here for a minute while my friend uses the bathroom.”

 

If I don’t write, even if it’s just a few sentences, each day, I begin to feel like I’ve lost part of me or that I’m hungry, my stomach twisting into knots, my brain racing through different characters and stories and the unedited, unchecked and unabashed feelings crawling my insides like an ivy choking out sunlight. And when I write, it comes out pure and raw in its whole state. Editing is important to the process, and sometimes I become The Editor when The Writer has gone too far. But what is it for me to stop myself? There are already so many others who would try and do that. The community of writers in which we live and work and write and create should be one of support and at least a semblance of trying to understand. Sometimes you won’t like something and other times you read a line and it sticks a pin in your heart, like a voodoo doll; but you’re the doll and that line sticks with you all day, controlling your every thought and informing decisions. Hopefully for the better, hopefully for a reason. And it’s up to us to keep each other hungry or nervous or on our right path of writing; we are the only ones who can be truly alone with our thoughts.

 

If I didn’t tell you this, if I didn’t share this with you right now then I might burst. There might be a water main some day that can’t take the pressure that’s built up and it might come out all at once too quickly. There needs to be time to harness these waters that stream out of me, the ones that pool up and wait for me to look into them, to see my own reflection, the ones that cool me off when I’ve overheated or replenish me when I’m depleted.

 

Do this for you. Make art for yourself. Write words that matter to you and tell the tales that have a soul and a heart, even if they are little and they make you laugh and they make you think; or if they let you relax and allow your mind to drift into someone else’s for a few minutes. But if you’re a nervous writer like me, don’t diet! They say “Everything in moderation” but I disagree when you’re used to a steady plate of letters. Let them fuel you and accept that you, too, were born a writer.

 

Love,

Me

(Originally written April 24, 2015 - The Nervous Writer)