|Writer's Notebook: Make of This What You Will
Author: Bertie the Redwood PM
"If it's raining irritating people, then I say screw the ducks and buy an umbrella. It's safer." Snippets from the journal of a strange and lonely mind. T, because nothing about my life is M rated.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Humor - Chapters: 5 - Words: 4,009 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 08-26-11 - Published: 08-01-11 - id: 2938968
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~Bertie the Redwood~
What if everyone could broadcast their inner voice.
Would it give us all a better understanding of each other? A better sense of self-worth? But perhaps that ghost of a voice is really protecting us by staying so illusive. It's bad enough that we're judged on our looks and social skills. Would we be able to handle rejection if it was our inner voice – the voice of who we are – that was being rejected?
Just some food for thought.
I am a writer.
I form words, thoughts, and stories inside my head. I speak them through pen and paper. I guide my hand over the page. My fingers flutter over a keyboard.
I am a writer.
Periods, commas, quotations, colons, and semi-colons; I pay attention to them all. The way a sentence or a phrase is structured. What might sound smoother, or maybe I want to sound blunt and harsh. Whatever I'm aiming for.
I am a writer.
I write about what I know. I write about my own life or the experiences of others. Sometimes I mix them together, a special blend, and make something totally new. I jot down words and phrases that please my ears.
I am a writer.
I keep a binder of poetry and even draw pictures to help tell the story hidden behind cryptic words.
I am a writer.
I scrawl song lyrics in the margins of my notes. I draw quotes across my skin. On any given day, my hands are a shrine to words.
I am a writer.
But why is it so hard to admit?
"How many books do we read from which the writer lacked courage to tie off the umbilical cord?"
This I believe...
I believe in one great friend.
We have parents, sisters, brothers, acquaintances, and neighbors, but one great friend is essential. There are those who claim to possess many best friends, but that is because they lack one great friend. Best friends can change and slip away, but that one great friend is always there no matter where they are.
It's comforting and freeing to know there is always one person who knows more about you than anyone else. One person to whom you can tell your darkest secrets. With best friends, you worry about who will accept you and all your faults and who will reject you. You worry about who knows this secret and who knows that secret. Pretty soon, you forget who knows what and the people you called your best friends become difficult to trust.
One great friend is all you need. One great friend who will take your phone calls at two in the morning. One great friend who will drop everything and run to comfort you, wherever you are.
If you have one great friend, you will never need any more.
One great friend...
In this I believe.
"It is a good idea to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about."
Is that what I'm going to be? They all tell me no. They reassure me, but they don't know me like I do. I know that I'm content where I am. Maybe not content, but complacent. A dangerous state of mind to be sure.
I'm also a coward. I can't even dance with one of my best friends without blushing furiously and then running away. Imagine what I'd be like on a real date (like that will ever happen)! I'm stuck in my comfort zone. So afraid of what people think, that I'll never know what I'm missing out on. So I'll be a cat lady.
I hate changing litter boxes.
"In a lightless cellar, flooded with human waste, a starving infant is held under until it drowns, its tiny lungs filled with the effluvia of six hundred of its fellow human beings, and then its face is peeled off, as one takes off the skin of an apple, and cast into Dante's river...
In the name of all that's holy, tell me why God felt the need to make a hell. It seems so redundant."
~from The Curse of the Wendigo, by Rick Yancey~
Although I've never personally experienced anything that's described in the first sentence, it does seem like people make their lives like their own personal ring of hell.
There's one person I can think of in particular, who just seems hell bent on destroying her life, but I'll come back to her in a minute.
One day (I can't remember exactly when), I was watching The Muppets on YouTube (because I'm a sucker for nostalgia), and in one comment, someone called Gonzo a masochist. I had heard the word before, but at the time I didn't know what it meant, so I looked it up. One definition was, "the act of turning one's destructive tendencies inward upon oneself."
To a certain extent, I think we're all masochists, in that sense. We do more damage to our own psyche than anyone else ever could. Like my friend, who I mentioned earlier. She emotionally beats herself to the point of tears, simply because she's convinced herself that she's a bad person.
And nothing I say or do will change her mind.
This is a listing exercise I did in a writing class I took last semester. I began describing a bangle my friend gave me from India, and then just followed my train of thought.
Listing: Bangle from India
A metal bracelet with different colored stones.
It's too tight.
It used to be too big.
When did my wrists get fatter?
In India, Rosalyn was the only white person on the beach.
Did she still live in Minnesota when they took that vacation?
The bangle leaves indents on my skin.
It's not itchy, but it slides around a lot.
Maybe my fingers got fatter, not my wrist... either way, something gained a little bit of girth.
India must have been hot... It's freezing here (I wrote this in January).
"Well, it's about time," Lauren said sharply. I looked outside the window with her. A good portion of the snow in our front yard had melted overnight, and we could finally see the grass.
Yuck! I almost wished the snow would cover it up again. The yard was one big bowl of brown soup. Brittle grass stood at half attention, as if afraid of being suffocated by frozen water once more. Animal droppings adorned the sodden earth in abundance. Well, it appeared as if I still wouldn't be walking outside barefoot for quite some time.
"I just wish it didn't look so disgusting," Lauren pouted, voicing my thoughts.
"At least this means it's getting warmer," I pointed out. Lauren pulled a face, as if she was weighing her want for milder weather over her desire for a clean yard. After all, this was the girl who considered bush trimming to be a leisure activity. At last she nodded decisively, making up her mind.
"It can snow again," she declared.
"Writing is making sense of life."
What? I'm supposed to write about what I think this means? I'm not what anyone would call an opinionated person, so I can honestly say that I really don't care. Grrr! I'll give it a go anyway.
I guess I agree with this statement on a literal level. I'm a bumbling idiot when I speak out loud (Speech 101 next semester. Help me!), but when I write, I can organize my thoughts before anyone hears them.
On a more metaphorical note: When I picture trying to figure out life by writing, I imagine a big room with whiteboards for walls. I have a black marker and I'm on a mission to unravel the secret to life. It could be a math equation, but I can't usually figure those out without a teacher to help me. I decide to start with a list instead. I make a random list about my life and then give it some sort of organization. If it's not organized, then I can't make any sense of it.
Finally, I've got everything in order and figured out. I am in control. But then, my little brothers come running through my big white room and wipe away my work in a playful frenzy. They know it annoys me when the touch my stuff. Now, I'll have to start all over and I know that I won't come to the same conclusion twice!
So maybe we can't make sense of life through writing. We all have "little brothers" that destroy our work and make us start over.
But hey, we can try!
"Try to be one of those people on whom nothing is lost."
I try to be perceptive. I don't want to be stupid and ignorant. I want people to like me, so I take the time to try and understand them. Why then, can't they do the same for me?
Why do I have to be the bigger person, when all I want is to be petty and shallow? I don't even really like being with people, though I have come to realize I need their company, like a drug.
I feel uncomfortable, judged, less than human, like a bug under a microscope. What's wrong with me? Why can't I actively participate in conversations without sounding like a moron? So I'm quiet, thoughtful. I enjoy the company of others from a distance. They seem to be okay with this arrangement. They let me sit on the sidelines and laugh at their jokes without having to tell any of my own. I'm allowed this handicap as long as I listen and try to understand.
I'm learning to be open minded, because no one else wants to be. They let me be antisocial, but still they think I'm less than human. They let me isolate myself, but then mock me for it. I'm punished for being who I am, when it's the people around me who made me that way.
They want to believe I am their one constant. That I listen to their problems because I have none of my own. I strive to be perfect, because that's what they need me to be. Unfortunately, you can't be perfect and human at the same time. In order to be perfect, you have to destroy yourself. Empty your soul of anything that even resembles love and self-respect.
I am numb in order to be the friend, sister, and daughter they need me to be.
Mom: "If someone irritates you, you don't have to snap. Just be the duck, and let it roll off your back."
Me: "That's terrible advice. What if it was duck hunting season? Then you'd be in trouble."
Mom: "It's just an idiom, Kinzey. Nothing to get yourself worked up over."
Me: "If it's raining irritating people, then I say screw the ducks and buy an umbrella! It's safer."