Each of us has more than one. One face we’d prefer to have the world see, and another we live with every day. If we’re lucky the two resemble each other and we don’t have so much work to do. I don’t feel lucky.
Perhaps, because I’m the kind of writer who’s drawn to the emotions I see in so many spaces far outside myself as well as the ones I carry inside, I rarely escape what I want to hide. I wear my mask, but it keeps slipping. It’s on the floor now. I reached for the keyboard instead of bending down again.
I wonder how strange I seem when I stop pretending. I think I understand my pieces, but I’m not sure how the whole appears to those who don’t. I want to be seen and I don’t. One moment I want to poke out my chest and say I can take care of myself and I can be alone, no problem. Then I turn around and want to scream at the world to stop heaping things on me that I don’t know how to fix. I want all the creeping fingers poking at me to stop so I can formulate a plan and tend to it, but they won’t. They say, “If you do this, I’ll hurt you now. If you do that, I’ll hurt you later.” They laugh at me because I could’ve tried any of today’s plans two years ago without worrying. But ha, ha, I didn’t have them then. Life doesn’t always reward the slow upward swing of the learning curve.
So here I am waiting because I have to, trying to think when I can, sleep when I can, write when I can, and survive the things Otis Redding sang about in his famous song. If I remain the same I’ll die. I’ll try to save myself. That’s what the thinking’s for.
Maybe someday I’ll have more to contribute to the world besides my mere survival. I’ll try to do that too.