I'm wrestling with my self these days. With the dichotomies of me and vulnerability lived out within those. Like other writers I know, vulnerability slips on more like a glove in writing than it does in person. I've heard the comments over the years, to the effect of, "You say things in writing that I never hear from you in person." And I cringe, because it's true. And yet, I have no intention or desire to be two separate people.
In reality, these pieces do overlap, but they are heavily weighted to one side.
Those who read my writing, with a few exceptions, are the ones who know the most real version of me. It's not that I'm trying to be less real in person, but that in writing, all the intervening variables - the space and environment, the timing, the verbal and nonverbal cues of another - are not there to intercept my real self, to hinder transparency and connection. In writing, an artificial environment is present, where I need not struggle to compete for the attention of my listener; where I'm not derailed by what appears to be a bored expression, an uneasy shifting in their seat, or an almost palpable fear of hearing the raw, unfinished truth.
I fear I'm too perceptive for my own good, and not always accurate, to be fair. But I feel the squirming of the other, at times, beneath the intensity of the moment, as if a silent plea escaping from their eyes, Please, just tell me you're ok, that life is a struggle but all is really well. Don't give me the details. Don't leave me hanging in your unfinished-ness.
We're afraid, skin to skin, eye to eye, of transparency.
In living transparently in my writing, I am not seeking to hide from transparent relationships in person. Instead, I write this way out of liberation, that I don't need to hide my true self from those who are uncomfortable. I don't need to alter my story to fit what they want to hear. I can simply be me.
In writing, I live into my true self, and I learn how to take that out into my skin to skin relationships.
But I'm sensitive, I hate to say it. It's true. If I don't think you really want to know the truth, I will politely shut my mouth and a piece of my heart, and I will open them in my writing.
I don't do small talk very well. I've learned it, over the years, and sometimes, I prefer to stay there for awhile, like taking a breath at the surface of the water before diving down deep once more. We all need to come up for gulps of air.
But it's exhausting, to tread at the surface of superficiality, and there are many layers to this. Not all is superficial, in the sense that we so often turn down our noses in judgment - that's so superficial. There are less intentional, learned layers of superficiality, constructed largely out of fear, that trap us in relationship patterns that are somewhere in between shallow and deep. I think this is where most of us reside. Perhaps it is there, in the middle place, that I grow weary, for it has the look of depth without the ongoing experience of it.
I hunger for what is real. And this is what I wrestle with and seek to flesh out in my writing. And this, much to my amazement, is where I have found other souls like myself who are willing, even in fear, to strip bare.
In this writing space, with others who take the deep plunge - this space where we make room for each others' unfinished tales of becoming - I jump into being known. And I learn to trust in the free fall of vulnerability and watch the pieces of me drawn back together, reconciled, living underneath one roof in peace.
Linking up with Lisa Jo, though yet again, this is not a five minute post... and Heather... and Emily.