“Your anger and damage and grief are your way to the truth.” – Anne Lamott
Of late, we spin the same record everyday. Needle in groove, warble in air. A hum that passes time, that drives a foot to tap, that mutes a whisper best left unheard. I have a great deal of words…not so much words, as gasps, sighs, shrieks, moans that dress up pictures in my head. All of them deserve exhalation, the dignity of breath, but I feel as though there’s propriety and sense and fairness and risk guarding the gates of my mouth. Holy sentinels that guide me forward and have gotten me into all my best positions, those both holy and profane depending on the celestial body I deign to venerate that day.
Where do I get to be straight and say how freaked out I am? Where do I get to caterwaul? Whose collar do I get to shake and sob into? Right now, I don’t. Nowhere. No one. Not when everyone’s got their story, their pain, their losses uncountable.
That has been my attitude in the past. I begin to unpack the box of all of my emotional flotsam and jetsam, every albatross that keeps me pressed firmly to the ground and I watch my audience shift on their feet. I hear the awkward silence build. I find myself interrupted by their version of my hymn, their analogue to my upset, and I give way. I clam up. I shut down and the pressure cooker ratchets up another few degrees. My neck absorbs the respectful bowing of my heavy head, and I listen, and I empathize and I fry my motherfucking circuits on the same sour mash I spend my days distilling.
This is not how it is when I find myself wise and brave enough to talk to my friends, though I am so careful to ration out my anxieties with them, some of them I am sure may be reading this now. Proper friends, friends who have some sense of who I am, who have given me so much of who they are. It is so different because I know that they hear me. I know that they listen. I know that they care and they absorb and they push away their own suffering to make room for mine. Which is why I feel so delicate about it.
What I opine and sing and crave for now is someone for whom I do not wish or need or care or feel as though I have to measure this all out in teaspoons. Someone who can take this world, just for a moment, and pull it off my shoulders. Someone who can gather me up and say, just tell me all about it, every last bit.
I am applying for jobs now. I am applying for jobs I am 50/50 I could get. I do not necessarily want to do these jobs. These jobs could be the exact same pot, just in a different fire. These jobs could drive me even nuttier. They will want me to be a grown-up and dance to their tune and I can do it, I can do it, I can do it. I have the record, I know the steps, I…
All this, I thought, all this and I’m running away from the only thing I actually take pleasure in. Fuck capabilities, I have this one grain of self-knowledge. I love to write. I love to craft language in such a way that I’ve said my heart’s desires, its fears, its song. Even if I have yet to divine the second step, the key, to share it in such a way that it can be transcribed at the other end. That I can be understood in thought, rather just by feeling. To stop giving you a fuzzy dream and instead, walk you through the film, give you the script with of every camera angle, and when we nod at the end, we know what’s changed. What’s true.