I think I'm good with words. I think I'm witty. I know I can tell a story with such inflection that it makes it much better than what actually happened. But every time I send in my latest assignment to my writing class I think to myself "That sucked. My instructor is going to have all these things for me to fix. Ugh, I'm not looking forward to getting it back." But my last several assignments have come back with good comments and mostly nothing but punctuation to fix. (That I am terrible at.)
I think my writing is my version of having a weight complex. I never think it's good enough (like thinking I'm never skinny enough) and I think of all these things I could have done to improve it. But when someone else looks at it, they see well chosen words, a beginning, middle, end, and all in all, a well written piece.
So perhaps I'm better than I think. We are our own worst critic, especially in something we really are invested in.
I realized I've writen a lot on here about my writings. But have never really given an example of what I'm talking about. Other than the blogs themselves. So I'm going to go out on a limb and put a sample or two on here for all to see.
The first was my first assignment for this class. I had to describe a person. I choose a friend from my old B&N in Las Cruces.
JULIANNE'S LAYERD LOOK
She walks into work and the dirty, dull walls seem to get brighter, full of warmth and energy. She moves fast like a hummingbird, but not nearly as quiet. Her hands constantly flutter to her necklace, hair, to tug on her shirt. “Dude!” she says. The emphasis on the first half of the word, the last half fading into the latest thing she has to tell you. She is well put together, each hair effortlessly curled and lips always glossed. It brightens my day to know she'll be there. As she puts her stuff in her locker, I stand to the side and observe, it's like a one woman show with guest appearances. She has her question for guest number one and without waiting for an answer she is on to guest number two. She changes topics of conversation as fast as she moves. I think she's trying to see who will be the most entertaining. The wheels in her head are spinning, calculating the information. Then the wheels will spit out an answer in big bold letters “YOU! You are the chosen one for today's delight and laughter.” She's a Venus Fly Trap in disguise. She will ask enough questions and say the right quirky comment to keep you around, your eyes and ears begging for more.
I see her and see a beautiful woman with a thick history. Her past sits below the surface, gooey, thick, dormant. If you are willing to sit around long enough, bits of her past pop up like a mouse out of a hole and disappear just as fast. You think “Did she say that?” You hold on to that gift of her soul, hoping for more to piece together the person below the facade. I think she tries to cover up her dense past with a present full of sunshine and joy.
If I close my eyes and say her name, Julianne, the first things that comes to mind are her laugh, and her heart. She doesn't stifle her laughter, she laughs at the most outrageous or mundane things, just the way everyone should. It's boisterous, a big hardy giggle. Laughter enriches the soul, and laughing with her enhances mine. Her heart is guarded. But she wears it on her sleeve. Almost saying “look, touch, but I beg, be kind.” Even after being hurt she doesn't put her heart away and lock it up. She picks it up, blows on it like you would to shine up an apple and puts it back for all to try again.
Every time it is just us, I want to share something new with her, hoping she will do the same. She seems more complex than I. Her fast movement, her well coordinated look, her barely visible history, make me want to dig into what keeps her moving. Is it her love for today, or is it her fear of her past coming up to walk beside her rather than linger behind?
And this second piece I wrote when I came home from NM. I had an assignment due and all I could think about was my break up. So I wrote about it. This was by far the most challenging thing I have ever written, I had to make it an actual article rather than use it for venting about my broken heart. Know that I am not putting this up to be vengeful or spiteful, this was raw emotion from a long time ago, and that I have healed and moved on. Not many people have read this (or know the full story for that matter,) so I ask, please be kind.
NEIL SEDAKA WAS RIGHT
Several months ago my heart got thrown a curve ball when my boyfriend of over two years told me that he didn't think I was the one he was supposed to marry. But the kicker was that it came out when we were discussing getting a cat.
I guess to him, a furry four-legged pet is one step below getting engaged. I just wanted a cat, nothing more. I am not one of those girls who says one thing and means another. Like “Honey, let's get a cat,” means “Honey, when are you going to buy me my big rock?” I prefer the direct route.
So at that point, everything that I had counted on as being solid and sure fell apart around me. And I have spent the summer and this fall trying to heal and build something new.
Looking back, there were so many signs that said we didn't fit, and so many times where the opportunity to end it arose. But they say love is blind, and I'll be darned, they were right. I was stuck on the idea of what we as a couple could become rather than noticing how far down a dark hole we were.
Neil Sedaka was right - “Breaking up is hard to do.” If only a break-up and all the emotions lasted as long as that song.
When the words “You're not the one I'm supposed to marry” were thrown out on the table, I had a decision to make. Stay in a relationship that is clearly not going to go where I was hoping, or move forward for no other reason but for myself alone.
I realize moving on and accepting are much easier said than done. But the only way to get through it is just to take the step. Take the first step and sooner or later your other foot will follow.
I went through all the stages of grief. Denial- at the fact that those words weren't said, he really didn't feel that way, and we were going to get through it. Bargaining- I could move past it, I could live with someone who felt that way. Anger. And that emotion was the turning point for me, when I was so angry at the fact that he didn't seem to care if what he was saying hurt me. Then I hit acceptance. I started to accept the fact that “us” and “forever” was no longer a possibility.
I couldn't pin-point the moment when I said to myself, “This is not where I want to be anymore.” But I do know that one day I woke up and thought, “I can
get through this.” Not we can get through this. Because there is no more we. It's all just me now. And that is okay.
“It's like there is rock bottom, 50 feet of crap, then me.” (Rachel on the TV show Friends) Sound familiar? We've all been there. So where did I go from there? Let me tell you, my broken-hearted friend, I got “up every morning, and breathed in and out all day long.” (Sleepless in Seattle) It takes many things to get through a break-up. But don't worry if you find yourself in a pit of self-loathing temporaily.
I've done it. I've asked the questions, “Where did we go wrong? When did he stop caring? What could I have done differently?” And the answer is to stop asking those questions. You'll send yourself to the nut house before you get an answer. Get a hobby, get out of the house, go for a walk, and it's okay that if during all of these activities all you think about is your broken heart. That’s normal.
I sat in the thoughts of my broken relationship for much longer than I would like to admit, but I also found my own resources to get past it. I wrote about it, I talked about it, I cried and cried some more, and then in true girl fashion, I talked about it again.
The biggest thing that I did to move on was to move away. It was just the right thing to do. I had moved to another state full of hope for our relationship. And when that was no more, it was just simple logic that told me to move back to where I came from. That may not be what would work for you, but metaphorically speaking you could “move” to help pick up the pieces. It takes time, patience, and being distracted to move forward.
If you keep your mind on other things, your heart will follow. Trust me. I dove into writing about my broken heart, I dove into watching my favorite movies about love that were guaranteed to make me cry. I picked up book after book to get lost in someone else's story. I went for walks. I've noticed that walking gives me a good, solid time to think, sort things out, get my head to start talking to my heart. And getting my heart to listen.
At the end of all the tears and questions is a new beginning. On my drive back to my home state, I stopped at a quaint little gift shop and bought one tiny thing that I solidly believe started my healing. It was a little metal key that had the words “New Beginnings” engraved on it. At the end of a broken relationship I had found a new place to start fresh for myself. Once I had that key in my hand, I knew I had done what was right.