The Story You’re In

Yesterday I tried something new. I’ve been trying a lot of new things. Some of them are little: easing up efforts to grow this blog, cutting back on social media, resuming picture-taking just for the sake of picture-taking.

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Some of them are smaller still. Too minor to mention, probably. Navy blue nails, wind-dried hair. Peppermint tea, a different way home. A smiley note stuck to the fridge, a really long (not as ominous as it looks) drive.

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There’s also been a box of bell peppers, so mini I could just squeak.

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And broiled (abort, abort: pan-seared!) beef tenderloin.

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And a baked good I really, really wanted to try. Tried happily.

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But post-pastry yesterday, there was something else. Something a little bigger. Yesterday I wrote a blog post, and I didn’t post it.

I’ve been really reluctant to give up the “release” that comes with blog writing. If that’s a creepy word, sorry — just skip it. This is what I mean: blogging gives the stuff taking up too much real estate in my brain a place to go. Even if I don’t like what comes out. Or how it ends up getting out. At least it’s, you know: out.

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It’s therapeutic. If you’ve never done it: writing is on the long list of things that cost zero dollars an hour. It might be top of the list, for me.

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But what comes out — is it often hugely personal, and intensely private? Yes. Yes, it is. Yesterday it was too much, even for me.

About a quarter of the way down the page, I realized I could never, would never, post it. I did something else instead. I didn’t know I was going to do it, when I started out, but when I was done, do you know what I did? I emailed it my mom.

The knot in my stomach loosened, just a little, and without really thinking about it, I added a few more names after hers: My brother. My best friend in NYC. My best friends in Ann Arbor, DC, Maine, Massachusetts, California. I have support all over the place, I realized.

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A blog can be a lot of things, but it can’t be a support system. There’s just no substitute for the real thing. I don’t know why this is so clear now, or why it was so cloudy before, but I was using blogging as a way to at least feel connected, to all the people all so far away.

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It was also, I see, a way for me to ask for help without really asking — without really interrupting. This is not just a writing exercise; this is my life. This is my current situation. And it is petrifyingly sad, and I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know what I want you to do, exactly, but I just want to be able to write to you. It helps, to be able to write to you. It helps so much.

I don’t know why I haven’t been writing to these people all along. It is a much better way of hoping. Of coping.

How else can we cope?

Well, we can keep writing to the mystery man who keeps crawling into our dreams, because that’s always fun.

And we can laugh at ourselves: “My version of flirting is looking at someone I find attractive multiple times and hoping they’re more brave than I am.”

And we could probably also think a little more about this (insert sigh): “I don’t want you to be waiting, sitting there hoping for me to arrive. Don’t forget to live your own wonderful life. Because I’ll meet you one day, and we’ll have so much to catch up on. One day, you can take me through the museum that is your life, and I will fall in love with all the stories that lay within those walls. For now, love the story you are in; I know I will.” -T.B. LaBerge

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