I was all set on skipping my three pages today. I begin every bi-weekly writing session with a three page journal entry and today I reasoned with myself. It takes the steam out. I conjectured -- It prevents the actual work. Then some auspicious input came along, and it turned into something I wanted to post here. That of course changed the way I approached the writing slightly. I think of the physics law, in which the act of observation changes the behavior of atoms, often.
I'm thinking of posting these three (or more) pages every time I write them. The upside of doing so is posting more often and sharing more of myself in writing. The downside would be less time working on stories of a non-blog, non-journal nature. I'm undecided. (This warm up to the meat of the entry comes after a bit more noodling. If you want to skip the noodling click here.)
I'm working from home today. As expected the start time was shoddy -- I've only just begun after a half hour of snacking, emailing, and various piddling google searches. The urge to go smoke a cigarette is (perhaps) even stronger. However -- maybe the detour I took to get to work was secretly wise. I am beginning to feel more juicy. And - well - here I am! writing these pages even when I thought I wasn't going to. Again though, I'm distracted. What can be done about this terrible overhead light? (Pause for serious inquiry, turn off light, move desk lamp, light "guava-coconut" scented votive.) There now. Not only is that an improvement for this environment, it's an improvement over the previous environments I've recently chosen to write from.
The reasons I'm writing these pages number at least two:
1. I felt I aught to, deep down
2. My horoscope confirmed me
I am listening to ambient music tones called "Soma" by Tom Kenyon. I got as much of his music as I could find after a vision board workshop while I was pregnant.
Juicy yes, but unfocused too. Mental whirlpool. It's quite possible that that's OK. I had planned to write more in the [unnamed, unpublished document] tonight. Then mood struck this afternoon. I was thinking about the malleability of my external personality i.e. the things I focus on and how they shift and why.
I always look back for my answers. Way back, but I began at more recent pasts this afternoon. The voices that told me how fickle I am. My eye just twitched at the word fickle. It seems to me that I can't deny being fickle (anymore), but I do desire to give it more depth.
I assessing who I am, and who I allow myself to finally be now, I feel like no other lover (or friend - with few exceptions) has seen beneath my masks so voluminously as Hadj. The seeing is so extensive that I have begun to be revealed to myself... The "I" who I present to others. Adam infamously called me myopic. He said I didn't see other perspectives and didn't see myself.
The "me," as I see me, and the "me" others were in relationships with seemed to be two different people! Sometimes Hadj quotes back to me what he's heard me say. This does not always mean he's heard me 100% correctly, but he does often. Sometimes the feeling I was attempting to convey got sold short in my words, sometimes it was the interpreter to got lost. Other times though, I could remember using the words he'd recall back to me, but could not understand their meaning!
That paragon of reserved coolness, Don Draper, on "Mad Men," asked in season one, "Who knows why people are the way they are?" Even we, to ourselves, are sometimes mysteries.
In relationships past, romantic and platonic, I think I presented parts of me that I thought were enticing to the person at hand and effectually negated parts of me that are more important, and probably enticing in themselves. In an effort to be close to someone I'd overstate my interests to match theirs. When the exciting new relationship energy began to wane, often my energy to sustain the inflated interest did as well. I'd use this thing, like an interest in bike mechanics or ee cummings, as a means to be close to the person of my affections, but the shallowness of my interest showed through as fatigue set in. I eventually came to realize that I'd unconsciously lied to myself and to my partners past. When they came to question my actual interest (let's say in bikes) and found that I wasn't as interested as I'd seemed they came to question all manner of other things about who I am. They'd get confused, or irritated, or frustrated (I'd guess all three). As I explained to Hadj, when we discussed this earlier, it wasn't as if I didn't have interest in the things I said I did. I just had other, more important and as yet underrepresented interests too.
I do look back for explanation, but that hasn't gotten me all the way to understanding either. I could choose to pinpoint an age at which I began constructing masks for the world to relate to, but even that is only a story I tell. It is the story of my life, but only objective facts can ever be proven. Even if I did investigative reading on the effects of being raised in a 40-50 hour work week structure from three months of age, I'd still be telling my story which is, itself, a construct.
I guess I find it all interesting. The questions that led me down this path of wondering about the faces I wear came, I remember, from quiet rocking time in the chair in Salamander's room. Thoughts, explorations of the story of self, start like some Far Side comic interpretation of evolution. From the muck crawled some fish and before you know what hit you, you're standing in a trash pile looking across a litter strewn river bed at the Taj Majal. I heard a song lyric ("Johnny-come-lately/the new kid in town/will she still love you/when you're not around?"). I remembered a motivational poster hung in a work room ("Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is merely passing time. Action with Vision is make a positive difference.). Suddenly I'm deconstructing my choices and past. I'm imagining I became an inert dreamer in a structure ridden classroom somewhere in 1985 and changed masks as my social surroundings suggested. In 1992 I became hyper-conscious of social status and the idea of peer pressure. By 1995 I was dying for name brand jeans and logo emblazoned sweatshirts so I could fit in with the pseudo-yacht club preppies in my school district. By 1996 I declared rebellion at home. (In an unforgettable early summer statement made to my mother as she blew-dried her hair - "Mom, I don't have to be so good, you know.") From there I flip-flopped between Teacher's Pet and slumming it with kids in a different town. I didn't go to school with them and could cast myself in any Hollywood role I wanted. I could pretend that alcohol, cigarettes, and boys were my thing (when it would have been more accurate to side with thriller-romance novels, nerdy test scores, and spastic dancing to pop-rock). I guess the kid I was didn't appear in the mass media I piggishly consumed all afternoon, evening, and weekend. There were no shy, chubby Disney or Hollywood princesses, so obviously it wasn't normal or cool to be the way I was.
I used to decry "only child" stereotypes. In adulthood I've accepted that cliches and stereotypes are based on the majority and probably apply to me. If I'd had brothers or sisters my absorption into unrealistic storyland ideals would maybe have been tempered with shots of reality more often and perhaps I would've made more sturdy sense of myself earlier on. But, oh well. I used to want to be different very badly. I wanted to stand out somehow - but was afraid to, at the same time. I guess, now, I wanted to be naturally a stand out. Maybe I'm only now realizing what an enormous impact Disney's mermaid, Ariel, had on me. The more I realize how normal I am, the funnier it is to me. I can accept it. With that acceptance light dawns on my idiosyncrasies and reveals the weird, special, beautiful tics that all my beloveds have. I wish we could all say it aloud here and again. Maybe that's why the "creative non-fiction" (i.e. memoir) market is so huge now. Maybe that's why show's like This American Life and blogs are such a hit. We know we want to be different and aren't, really, but are special anyways.
Wouldn't it be refreshing to shake a stranger's hand and say, not, "How are you?" but "Hi, I think I've known my cat through many lives." And to have him say in return, "Hello, I have a recurring nightmare set in a Georgian revival row house."