Surreptitious – my first blog post.

Terrified. Of putting myself out there. Of people reading my work. My words – the most personal extension of myself.

I am a word hoarder. I gather them up, coddle them in my brain, jot them in secret journals or Macbook Pros. And then when I am feeling warm and cozy, comfortable with the people around me and their lack of judgment (or merciful praise), I let a few ooze out. I might slide a couple written ones across the table.

And what will they think? That I find my life so interesting – my world so self-important that I foist my verbal dribble on them? Will they roll their eyes? Will they make silent assumptions and form disapproving looks as they scroll through the page?

To spill your guts is a dangerous thing.

Exposure. We talk about it in my composition classes. “To shine a light on.” “To peel back the façade and reveal the ‘truth’”. To pull back the curtain and see the man who we thought was a wizard. The word “vulnerable” inevitably surfaces in these discussions.

Yes. Vulnerability. It takes strength, and courage to make yourself vulnerable. And risk the stomping feet, the trampling masses, the carefully wielded scalpels.

Or perhaps it takes a certain numbing – meticulous injection of novacaine directly into the self-conscious impulses in your brain.

I used to obsess about other peoples’ thoughts. Especially as a teenager. Especially, specifically, other peoples’ thoughts about me. I would try to climb into the crevices of their cortex and figure out all the things they didn’t like about me,

  • my smile,
  • my laugh,
  • the way I walked,
  • the way I dressed,
  • the way I paused between sentences,
  • the way I touched my nose.

Perhaps the numbing of our insecurities is a growing up thing.

These days, I care what others think less and less.

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I still care – make no mistake about that – but I care less. You think my maxi skirt is a little sheer? Maybe. You think my jeans are a little tight? Probably. You are offended by my loud laughter at the airport? Too bad.

Now, there is a fine line between inconsiderate behavior and how I qualify my own behavior:

devious, defiant, irreverent.

I say please and thank you. I try to do unto others as I would have done unto myself. I am polite. I care deeply for those around me – especially those who have earned a place in my heart.

But when it comes to me – obsessing about what others think about me – well, I suppose I’m too busy navigating my own uncharted waters. I’m too busy figuring out what is right for ME. What path is the most appropriate for this girl?

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And if that seems irreverent to you? Or a bit nontraditional? Or selfish? So be it.And so, when that insistent voice surfaces at 2 am, accusing me of vanity, self-absorption and flabby blogging, I squash her. Like a bug beneath my thumb.

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