Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On Putting Out

I am changing. These changes I'm going through have begun to alter what I put out in attitude, in appearance, in being…and of course what I write. My writing itself hasn’t changed, but my inner privacy settings have. I have let out more of myself in the past number of months than I ever have before. It’s been scary, I have to admit. The shame I felt regarding full (fuller, at least) acceptance of myself still makes me hesitate before I hit the “publish” button-of-no-return on this blog. And, still, what is the hardest to let go of is what I feel the most necessary to be put out--don’t get any crazy ideas of reminding me what other things I need to “let go” of. I already know. One thing at a time, dammit!

There’s a funny shift that goes along with the type of change I’m experiencing. People that know me a little are getting to know a newer me; people that know me well enough are seeing what appears to be a reinventing of myself—but it’s not: it’s just me being more real—and people that know me really, really well just still continue to put up with me (I LOVE you guys!).

To those in the middle, those that know me and thought they had an idea of who I was, these differences are more noticeable to them.

Let me state for the record that this began a few months before the ‘blip on the screen’ that has happened recently. Not that that hasn’t had any effect on things, but it wasn’t the original stimulus. The original push came when I got the job that I have now, as a copywriter. The one that gave me my first pay check for using my own words. Even if the subject matter is not of my own choosing, I am writing about it and getting paid to do so. A paid writer. The first step. I’m still digesting that. It changed how I was identifying myself. Slowly, yes, but it was making me consider myself differently. I’m working from home, too. Since then there’s been yet another slow evolution of the set-up in my apartment. The first few came from the hokey-pokey residence of my older daughter—sometime she’s been in, sometimes she’s been out, and now she’s in…and shakes it all about. (You know I had to finish that!). The change in my schedule has been extreme, as well. I’m realizing daily how much of a difference there has been and how much there can be. It is still amazing when I really sit back and think about it. Blip notwithstanding, adjusting the sails has been a daily process for me.

Back to the funny shift I mentioned earlier: part of the butterfly effect of my dance along the edge of my own chaos has not only been my perspective of myself, but the reaction it causes.

Which brings me to my subject of putting out.

I’m not trying to show anyone a ‘new’ me, like enforcing an image, nor am I trying to create some type of reaction in anyone; I am letting go of my own limits. I will try to fly. And I will fall (obviously now with a bigger audience, since I’m letting you all in—I hope you have your popcorn ready). And I will try again.

I’d mentioned a ways back about the new treatment I’d been getting; some people treating me with kid gloves as if I were something fragile and some people horrified at things I revealed. I think I find that second reaction the funniest. Because I’d been thinking about that (and talking, too). To some, my change began and is a reaction to the aforementioned blip; that I’m using this as a sort of ‘tool as a woman scorned.’ Nope. That just happened to be the first event since things started changing for me, and therefore, the first that has been revealed. I’m expecting to do many more stupid things--and write about them, if my past is any precedent. Just wait.

But what this got me thinking about is all of the books I’ve read and the songs I’ve listened to that I’ve really connected with—especially the writers of them. The faceless people I don’t know who’ve been able to articulate some emotion that I couldn’t. If you think about it, it does make it easier when you don’t know them, or know too much about them, doesn’t it?

One of the ways I used to communicate with my father most effectively was by writing him letters. I stood the best chance of him ‘hearing’ me through them, because he couldn’t see me ‘get emotional’ and shut me off. Sometimes black and white words on paper eliminate the mental clutter that can get between one person and another, or one person and many others. How much of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech would be really heard if it were delivered by Robin Williams using his “Mork” voice?

Have you ever tried to listen to a live speech and been distracted by an idiosyncrasy of the speaker? I know that if a word that is used over and over again is pronounced wrong or with a funny inflection, I get distracted enough to miss the point of whatever is being said.

So, now, some people are having a tough time with some of the things I’ve been saying, or some of the subject matter. They know me or the people around me that I may be referring to. It can be a little off-putting without distance, can’t it? If one unable to take that step back and be objective, any ‘message’ is essentially killed by the messenger, and instead of the resonance that can be felt in shared emotions, there are opinions made that there’s mud-slinging going on, dirty laundry is being aired or a situation is being set up where people may feel they are attempting to be swayed in a particular direction…either way, any real context is lost. The way I see it, good advice, shared comfort, guidance, a new perspective, etc., can come from anywhere. I don’t care if the person talking to me claims to be Elvis; if he has something that I believes is of quality to say or something that resonates with my soul, I will listen.

Every storyteller, every songwriter, every author and every artist leaks out something of the inner mess that they may be, to varying degrees. And when they were where I am right now, they were probably going through this as well. I talk/write about my own experiences; if I happen to refer to someone in (or out) of my life or a certain situation, the focus is still on me and how I’m feeling about it, reacting to it, or trying to work through it.

I have way too many favorite songs, and many that have just echoed through me during my life (even if I didn’t understand the subject matter when I was younger)—so, to keep this from being a novel I won’t mention any of them as examples (because I can’t just choose one or two). William Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood always pops into my head/life at the oddest times, especially the verse made famous in Splendor in the Grass:

                “Though nothing can bring back the hour
                Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
                We will grieve not, rather find
                strength in what remains behind…”

Does it matter what he is talking about specifically? What prompted him to write that? No. What any of us get from any word or song or piece of art is personal to us. Any comfort, feeling of unity or shared emotion comes from our own personal store of experience. And we are grateful for that. Where would we be if the people that put out books, music and art that soothed our souls in some way stayed silent or kept it hidden for fear being looked askance at by ‘those who know them’? I personally don’t know how I would have made it this far if there were no music to comfort me.

I’m not saying I’m here to do any of that for you, either. And I'm certainly not selling anything. The only thing any of us have to offer is ourselves at our most authentic. That is what I’m trying to be. I may fuck up (I bet you thought I’d make it through just one blog without that word, didn’t you?), but I will keep trying. 

And that is what I’m putting out.