If I write, then people will know.
They will know I’m different.
To some it’s that I’m quiet, that I’m not always bursting with jokes and laughter, always casting spells on the audience, singing loud and uninhibited. I know the truth about myself, and it is hard enough to accept because sometimes I wish I was all of those things. But I also know what’s true: I’m full of life, of energy. I create, I have ideas.
And I also watch.
That can be a blessing and a curse, because the watchers are the storytellers, and they have a special role in the world. They help people remember, help them see what they would normally miss.
But also sometimes the writer sorts sit back, sit still, wait for the people to come to them instead of standing up and reaching out.
I can be like that.
Some of you can be like that.
You don’t reach for things. You’re all curled up inside yourselves. Every once in a while I can see inside enough to know you’re the same way I am, I see just pieces and glimpses of the you you’re hiding.
And I think it’s beautiful.
Because I’m the the sitting-back-and-putting-pieces-together sort. The finding-beauty-where-it’s-hidden sort. The sometimes-quiet sort.
Course, there are times I unfold and spill over, loud and excited, but those are when I am absolutely, completely surrounded by people and routines that say, every day: you are wanted. you are accepted. you are useful.
I’ve been there before, and I’m not there right now, but rather in this strange limbo world between safe-places. I can relate to C.S. Lewis, who said when he first came to Oxford: “Is it that no man makes real friends after he has passed the undergraduate age?” Something about adulthood, about reserve and manners and dignity, makes that joyful “you too!?” so much more difficult to say.
I kick myself for not being able to reach out, for letting my scared little heart be content to only watch. The excuse? “I’m a writer, I was meant to observe, not engage.”
That’s a lie, heart.
A writer has to live, too. The best writers have compelling stories of their own, and though they can tell someone else’s with honesty and grace – well, they have to be able to tell their own with the same force.
And they have to lower their guard enough to discover the others in hiding.
So this is me, waving a white flag of sorts, saying, I want to live, and watch, and run headlong into all of the scary new places of that lonely world called adulthood. I want to know your story, though I’m terrified to ask.
If you can relate, leave me a comment about it, will you? I’m in desperate need of some kinfolk.