As a teenager I pulled you out of a locked drawer and confided my deepest thoughts on your pages in poor cursive with a blue ball-point pen. I thought I’d be a writer then, a novelist maybe, at the very least a journalist, preferably with a glossy magazine.
As it turns out, I circled that dream but never realized it, landing instead on the advertising side of the business which has been good to me and I to it, but still the urge to write keeps returning like a rash that comes up unexpectedly.
So here goes, for a moment I will close my eyes and be that 14-year-old girl again, aching to confess what I can’t sort out, hoping like all writers, to produce words that surprise even myself. Back then, I was honest, brutally so, and when I read my childhood words they sting with the truth that I hadn’t yet learned to edit within myself. One sentence reads, “I told a lie to a friend today and wish I hadn’t but I couldn’t risk looking stupid in front of Pete.”
I wonder now if I’m capable of writing one true sentence. Years of writing resumes and business letters (not that they’re lies!) have trained me to naturally cough out lines like, “It was such a pleasure spending time with you today and learning more about the hospitality industry.” I overuse the word “opportunity” even though it’s a word I hardly ever use when I’m speaking.
So, Dear Diary, this is my first shot since I was teenager to see if I can tell the truth. Or has it all become too seismic? Are we as adults so thoroughly schooled in subtext that we can’t say what we’re really afraid of or express regrets. The short answer is ‘yes’ unless we can do it with humor or wrap it up with an optimistic ending.
I called one of my colleagues today and her voice mail message ends with “Make it a great day.” I’ve never been down with the make-it-a-great day people, but I suppose this notion that we can control absolutely everything, from how our day will turn out, to how we respond to it, provides comfort to us and contributes to our own self-deception.
To be clear, I always want to make it a great day. Trouble is, I get in the way and so do other people. It was a great day until my car battery died and I missed an appointment. Or, I was feeling pretty good until the captain announced, “Well folks, we’re looking at a rough ride ahead so I’m going to need my flight crew to sit down.” Then, when I got off hell-flight, there was that text message from my son telling me about the mouse he’d seen run underneath the piano. The fact is, I’m not strong enough to overcome all that makes me anxious, afraid and frankly pissed-off, hard as I try. Though I’m generally thought to be cheerful, chirping greetings to clerks, waiters and everyone else, inside I’m kind of freaked-out. A lot more often than I like to be.
So, 523 words in, I’m starting to say what’s on my mind: my guess is I’m not alone in this.
Until next time,