It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since I’ve written here? And I’m feeling it: The loneliness of a writer. With rare exception, whenever someone mentions, “Want to do lunch?” Or, “Let’s go catch this movie,” or “go to that play,” I’ve been turning them down left and right. My practiced mantra has become, “’Can’t. I need to write.” I think just about everyone knows this mantra in some form or another. “I can’t. I need to [fill in the blank.]”
But the resultant lack of “time with friends” is beginning to wear on me. I am an introvert, dog-gone-it! I like my solitude! I shouldn’t need social interaction! And I especially shouldn’t need approbation from anyone about anything that I do. That would be a massive crater of a weakness in my personality, as I see it.
After all, I’ve finally “found myself.” I am my own person, secure in my ideals and determined to make my dreams a reality no matter how late in the game I may have started. Sometimes, the late bloomers are the most desired of flora for their pungent perfume and glorious color. They also tend to be the most nutritious and healing of plants. Late bloomers know their time is limited, so they open with all the vibrancy they’ve been storing through the Spring and Summer of their otherwise quiet and uneventful lives.
As a late bloomer, I should be secure in my path. Right? I know what I’m about, how I’m going to accomplish it, and even WHY it’s so important to me. Why, then… Why, oh why do I desire so much the approval of my peers? I would so love to say, “I am an island. I stand alone in solidarity and no wind can move me.” In truth, that probably is true. I am ridiculously obstinate about certain things. But it’s also really nice to have people back me up. It’s good to have friends—darn it all—especially in the absence of a husband and children. And for all the wonderful that Kirby and Blue are in my life, I have also been blessed with some real keepers in the human friends department.
I have two younger sisters who—besides being inseparably related to me—are also my friends. Since I started digging into the writing of this script, I haven’t spent much time with them of late. Just last weekend they talked me into seeing a movie with them and I had forgotten how very much I miss their sweet company.
My co-workers are another group of friends who fill the empty spaces of my days with wit, and charm, and absolute delight. I adore my casting colleagues, every one! How lucky am I to be able to work every day with such beautiful, inspiring people! Really, we deal with a lot of crap all the time from numerous sources. Nobody can possibly know the hell of casting until you’ve actually “been there, done that.” But it really is a joy to go to work every day knowing that—even though you might be walking into a lion’s den—there will always be angels in the offices right next to you ready to share an uplifting thought, or a hilarious story, or more often than not: a truly listening ear. God bless all my casting peeps: past and present. You guys rock the Kasbah.
Then there are the oldies-but-goodies: The friends from years past who show up on Facebook. The ones who get the Christmas cards that I never get around to sending. The ones you think of every now and again when a memory swims to the surface and you wonder how they’re doing; how many kids they have now; and are they happy? Once in a blue moon you might even get a call from one of them, or have a really decent excuse to call them yourself. The sound of their voice (which never changes no matter how many years may separate you) floods the heart and soul with warm liquid light; bringing back all the good memories—those golden memories—the memories that are the color of that liquid light leaving bright little glistening trails all over your soul. Kind of like snail-tracks… except cleaner and without the “ew” factor.
Then, in this world of modern technology, I can spill my innermost thoughts to complete strangers in distant lands! Now, if that isn’t the epitome of psychotic behavior, what is? Why is it easier to superficially connect with complete strangers through words on a page than it is to sit and talk with someone eye to eye? I suppose because the stranger can’t hurt you… much. But the stranger also has great power to lend that coveted “thumbs up” reward when you do something well. The stranger can take two seconds to hit “Like” on a page and… INSTANT VALIDATION is yours! Wahoo! I am more than a lump of clay! Somebody “Liked” something about me. I have connected with another human today!
The power of strangers is fantastical. I am enamored by this concept that the human race can be connected—albeit superficially—to each other by mere streams of random thought. Thoughts which, given enough credence, become memes, cultural icons and social touchstones. Might I, one day, have such power? I’d like to. Wouldn’t we all?
Thus, modern technology takes its much deserved bow. Anyone can do this! Everyone has the opportunity to share ideas. I remember as a youth, hearing of a prophecy that one day there would be so much information available that it would be impossible for even the news-gatherers to keep up with it all. At that time, there was no internet. I remember thinking incredulously, “How can that be? How is it possible?”
Not only have I seen this come to pass in my lifetime, but in a very short part of my lifetime. I figure my life isn’t half over yet and already I am overwhelmed by the data-streams flying everywhere, all competing for my attention.
Of course, this is the other side of the modern-technology/social-media coin: Getting so involved in front of one’s screen that the true human-interaction is all but forgotten. “But I am connecting,” I think, “on Facebook.” Lots of “Likes.” Or, as I lie to myself that, “I don’t need the social interaction nor approbation of anyone to be my own person.” I don’t! I don’t, I say—even as the “writer’s solitude” closes in on me like a deep curtain, smothering me with loneliness.
Conclusion: I think I’m just exhausted from all the workouts this week. I have actually made it a point to go to group Crossfit sessions at a local gym. Unfortunately for me, EVERYONE there is younger and in better shape than I. Everyone. I feel really out-of-place and really out-of-shape. But I’ve made the commitment and am enduring the pain: both the physical strain and emotional embarrassment. I’m counting on the fact that, “This too shall pass.” Like a kidney stone, this too shall pass. I will become stronger and it will become easier. I have faith in the power of persistence.
A case in point for the power of friends: One of my beloved co-workers came by my office as I was slumped over my desk debating whether to take a pain-killer. “Crossfit,” he asked? “I hear that’s a really powerful way to get in shape. Unfortunately, you’re constantly cross while you’re getting fit.” Thanks, Dan. I needed that instead of a pain-killer.
And another co-worker called me “skinny” today. Now, I know skinny. “Skinny” happened to me when I was in my twenties and I never fully appreciated it nor have I seen it since. So I know I’m not “skinny.” But she knows how hard I’m working on this and threw out the compliment as the kindest gesture of goodwill I’ve seen today. (Maybe rivaled by the kindest gesture of goodwill I received in a text from “A” this morning… There are many kind gestures of goodwill in my daily life: just sayin’.) So, the kindest gesture of goodwill I’ve seen this afternoon: She called me “skinny,” and even though I know it’s not true, it made me feel GREAT! I embraced it wholeheartedly and thought, “Yes! Yes I am!” Or at least, “Yes I will be… SOON!” So Thanks, Dersi, for the white lie. I think it was a good deed.
I think no-one over the social nets could have the effect these three people had in my life this day. Small things, these. Little “Likes” given in person: eye to eye, face to face. And I love them all the more for their kindness and willingness to connect with me.
So, if you’re not too bored, or if any of this makes sense to you, or you like anything you see here, drop me a “Like,” will you please? Perhaps, even a comment. Although that, for most people, may be asking too much. I’d like to know you’re there: even if it is only an “imprint” of you. Thank you for taking time to hear my thoughts, Dear Stranger… Friend… Loved one.
Though I am a late bloomer, I know whereof I speak. And I say, “You are AMAZING.”