Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dear You

Every time I've sat down to write over the past four months, nothing...came. That's the best way I can describe what happens when writing goes well: If I am ready, the words come. They arrive, and they march out in order and then I do a once-over with a comb in hand and say, hey you, you're the tallest, you belong in the back row, break a leg out there, guys and then we're ready to hit the stage.

Not so much when I'm not ready. When I'm still sorting it out or fumbling around in the dark back stage. When I'm still learning. And so it is right now, and so it has been for four months. Right now I have a giant stew (I cannot even be bothered to align my mixed metaphors) of feelings, and feelings about feelings, and the real Easter miracle: the second coming of hope. But at least my stew is regret-free. And everyone knows that regret is the gluten of feelings.

I'm still running over the events and the lessons of the last few months in my mind, memorizing my lines so that when I'm in the spotlight, they come like second nature. I am rehearsing, for who--I don't know, but I have stage fright. There is just so much that is new to me.

Sometimes I trick myself into writing by asking: what would you write to your former self to talk yourself through what you went through? Apparently I am a writing diva, all very meta and high-maintenance, but in the spirit of Mary Louise Parker and getting back to regularly scheduled programming, I present to you:

Dear You,

You can't carry someone else's pain, and you can't force someone to face themselves. You can turn yourself inside out trying to avoid the truth, but at a certain point, unraveling fabric becomes a really long thread.

You really do have instincts, just like your mom said. Anxiety is born when your thoughts about what is going on do not match your instincts. Trust your instincts and not the thoughts. Also: you should Google Jean Paul Sartre and really meditate on his assertion that hell is other people. Your strength has always come from within. Do not underestimate that.

You are a fucking resilient human. We are all so remarkable and awful, all of us, every single one. All we have is the good that we give to each other, and you will be pleasantly surprised--blown away, really--at how much good you can give, at how much good you have packed away in your closet, at how you will always know where that door is, even when it feels like someone turned the lights off and spun you around five times before letting you go.

But you could have a symphony of good to give and it will fall on deaf ears if the person isn't ready to receive it (Dude, what is with your metaphors today). I hope you can look back and realize just how many emotionally deaf men you have loved in your life; it was their handicap--and not some imagined one of yours--that was the problem. You were not too needy, or too emotional, or too complicated. You weren't asking too much (if you were even asking at all). You still aren't, and you never will be.

What they say about letting go instead of being dragged is true, and this will be the time you finally loosen your grasp. (Your hands were never really that strong anyways.) Cheryl Strayed's belief that what might have been is just a ghost ship that didn't carry us will become your belief, too. Wave from the shore, yes, but do not answer the SOS call, especially when they don't even make one.

And finally: the earth is crawling with good humans, who are flawed and loveable and willing to go there with you. And by go there, I mean to yoga, to your core, to what worries you, to the place where in order to see and experience you, they need to see and share themselves. There is no reason you can't make a life with one of those humans. There is every reason you should hold out for one of those humans and smother them with kisses when they make you happy.

But don't take my word for it. Listen to Tom Petty when you forget:

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free


Bobbi Marie

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