"Words, is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around. - The BFG, Roald Dahl
This week, I have been bad at...well, at pretty much everything.
I'm doing the wrong thing, I'm saying the wrong thing, I'm over-reacting, I'm missing important deadlines, I'm responding poorly to my kids, I am tripping on things and breaking things and I am trying, TRYING so hard to be better...and yet no matter how hard I try, I mess it up again. I tripped and fell, I yelled at my kids, I accidentally set dinner on fire, I brought out the wrong size silverware to the table. I exploded the coffee pot, I may have terribly offended someone on accident,...but maybe they didn't even notice so why would I bring it up again? So I wallow, and I churn and I mentally pace back and forth. I stumble on my words, I trip over the cat, I forget ice at the grocery store...twice. My nerves are raw, my head hurts, I forgot the wet clothes in the washer overnight...again. I feel alone, again. I am worn out, again. My back hurts, my ears ring, my feet are tired.
I am not handling life well! Nothing huge and monumental has happened, it's all small, all insignificant, it's just putting it all together into one perfectly wretched week that makes me want to go back to bed and stop talking to people, or seeing people, or dealing with anyone at all anywhere ever again. Because bed doesn't judge, bed understands! It also doesn't need it's butt wiped, or hair brushed, or floor vacuumed, or laundry folded, or breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, afternoon tea, luncheon, supper, dinner...and it very rarely loses it's shoes.
When I was a kid, my family used to laugh and say that they lived in fear of what I would say next. It's funny, as a kid growing up, knowing you often say the wrong thing, yet never really knowing what that wrong thing was. I remember several situations where there was a hushed, awkward silence centered around me - but I also remember being absolutely puzzled as to what exactly I had said that caused said hushed silence. I felt I should be embarrassed, that everyone around me seemed to be, but I didn't know why, and so I just sort of shrugged, smiled weakly, and moved on. Perhaps I have a terrible memory, maybe I just wasn't paying close enough attention. But apparently, I have a very specific skill that has been continually honed:
I can take a perfectly normal conversation, and make it awkward and uncomfortable without hardly lifting a finger. It is this skill that is making me more and more of a recluse as I get older. Because you see, I should have grown out of this by now...and while I don't necessarily think that I have gotten any worse, I do think that more and more I am aware of the fact that I don't have great social skills, I just don't get interpersonal cues like I should. And where I would typically just blunder all willy-nilly into any conversation, often monopolizing the attention of everyone present - I am growing more and more annoyed with myself and simply don't think I am funny anymore. It's like an old joke that has been told one to many times.
Some of it is my own dwindling confidence in myself. I have changed a lot in the last few years, some of it has been simply growing up, some of it has been growing down.
My philosophies have changed, how I see myself, how I see other people. I have different priorities, different passions. I am a cynic, a realist, an artist, I see the world differently than most of the people around me see it. I have learned this, I have learned I have to be careful because of this, it limits my conversation options with most people. I don't say this to be mysterious or vague, I am simply stating a fact. A fact that as I age has become increasingly clear.
I have been terrible at life this week - and because at my very core, I am a writer, this is how I fix the broken things inside my head. I write. I write so that at the end of my writing I can look at myself on paper. This week I have been very blurred, on paper things are much more clear.
I need clarity, so I write.
There is a new musical out - no, not that one. Another new musical. It is called Waitress. I first saw it on the Tony Awards where I'm not sure it won anything, because that other one took them all (fully deserved, just so we are clear). But it wasn't until it came onto my Pandora station that I actually sat and listened to the words. The first line of the song?
"It's not simple to say
That most days I don't recognize me..."
I heard it and stopped, it was enough to make me stop.
It's not easy to know
I'm not anything like I used to be
Although it's true,
I was never attention's sweet center
I still remember that girl
She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken, and won't ask for help
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up,
And baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine
I sat when I first heard those words, and realized I had tears streaming down my face. And then I laughed because I would change the line to say:
"She is all of this mixed up, and kneaded in beautiful bread."
This song has haunted me, I sing it in my sleep, I sing it during the day. My kids are fully sick of it.
The mirror that music can paint for us is simply remarkable. There is a part of me that longs for a time when I was younger, prettier, more outgoing, confidant in my belief that x + y = z. Ready to take on the world, never doubting that I could.
A part of me that wishes:
For a chance to start over
And rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew
Ah yes - don't we all wish there was an ending or two we could re-write. I know that we learn things in life from the hiccups - from the bruises and battles. But so often there are stutters or even deep deep sorrows that feel so very meaningless. I try to see the bigger picture. And sometimes I can. Sometimes I can say that this, this moment taught me a lesson that led to maturity and purpose. And sometimes, everyone is sitting around in a hushed, awkward silence that I am pretty sure I caused, and I feel like I should be embarrassed and ashamed, but I simply cannot figure out why because somehow, I missed what went wrong and I have absolutely no idea what I am suppose to learn from this situation.
I think, sometimes, it is just a hard week, full of hiccups, bruises and battles that have little to no purpose. I'll blunder, I'll say the wrong thing, spill the coffee, trip over my own two feet or catch dinner on fire. But I think, sometimes we need a little break, we need to say without guilt and with full confidence, that this week had absolutely no purpose! No lesson, no moral. It was wretched and I want to forget it all happened. I'm not missing anything, nor will I get so caught up in the awkward silence that I forget to look foreword.
It's ok, to learn nothing sometimes.
So I take this moment as it is - no filters. To laugh, to cry, to pray, to sing, to dance, to rest. There is beauty in the bruises, there is magic in this mess, but sometimes we need to forget all that, and just...breath.
I sometimes still miss where I used to be, but I think I'm ok with where I am going.
She is messy but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine
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