Wednesday, April 28, 2010

the worst parts of me

I don't often write about darkness here. I would say I don't know why, and yet I do: this place is burdened with brightness, the light of Bean's face and our life with her, the peace I find with Chip, the quality of quiet that has settled into the creases of my days.

And yet there are things that I'd like to shed, small hard pieces of gravel that crystallize into something bitter and dark. Salty stones of yellow bile comprised of those things that I push down into my center, lest they rise too often to the surface and poison those I hold nearest and dear. Keeping them buried in the dark can't last forever - the pressure they exert is hydraulic. Then there's a sudden bubble of water when they come floating into view, bobbing on the surface of my day, totally unbidden.

What does a person do in such moments? Push them down like blood-red apples in water? Hope they can be wedged deeper this time, stay longer beneath the surface? Or pull them out one by one, examine them? Let them dry in the light, hoping their scaly surface will fall like hard little cupcakes, that their insides will wither into themselves until there is only a small thatch of porous fluff--- something that can blow away in the wind.

Today I'm choosing to let you see the worst parts of me, the dark thoughts, the questioning thoughts, the worries and hurts, the meanest considerations, the fish white underbelly that is impossible to dress in pretty clothes.

. I worry that you have given me far too much credit. My friends who come by to read the occasional updates, the wonderful people I've met because of The Creamery who have become friends over time, and even those strangers who lurk quietly and unobtrusively in the dark reading about life from Whimsy's perspective. I worry that I'm a charlatan, a faker. Someone who puts out this daily attempt at noticing beauty and wonder in a very small life but has trouble finding joy in the laundry loads. I worry that the only reason you've professed interest in my days and the way they are phrased here is because you lack a significant sample size for comparison. There are so many blogs in the world, so many beautiful writers, so many amazing mothers, so many gifted artists. I am, in comparison, the bit of gravel lining the driveway that you'd have to drive up to meet these people. In other words, I am insignificant.

. I worry about balance. The cost of finding it, the trouble of keeping it, the sacrifices one makes to do either. On even my best days, I teeter far over the line and have trouble understanding what I can give up and what I need to add to find balance. It is a terrifying concept to me, actually, this idea of being balanced. I don't know if such a thing would destroy the parts of me that I enjoy most. So I veer freakishly over the line, driving my life like a drunk sailor wearing a blindfold. I feel like I am, in a phrase, too much. Too much melancholy or too much giddiness or too much organization or too much free spirited wonder or that I even ask too much of those that I love.

. I worry that this entire entry screams PLEASE JUST LOVE ME. Which, you guys are the sweetest, kindest, most generous, and might I add ATTRACTIVE blog readers a girl could have, so I know that you'd slather on the love, should the situation require it. I'm tempted to even turn off the comments for just this one post, actually, so that you don't feel like you have to donate a hefty dollop of Whimsy love to this here train wreck. Not that I don't want it (I do, I really do), but because it's precisely this kind of drama-laden overtly tortured ego lather that works me into a state. I hate it. It doesn't feel authentic. And in case you can't already tell, this examination of my worst qualities is all about my chief worry over being authentic.

. I'm afraid of being too vulnerable.

. I'm also afraid of not being vulnerable enough.

. I'm afraid of being too strong.

. I'm also afraid of not being strong enough.

. I worry that I am boring. That my intense focus on certain things would require an equally unbalanced, OCD-ridden freak like myself to appreciate it. And then, I think that even a Whimsy clone would grow tired of it after a while. Chip tells me that, as a creative person, I have to recognize that I have limits--- that when I'm working through a sewing project or fine-tuning an essay or dreaming up a story, my focus lies there, at exactly the center--- and the things that fall away from it lie dormant for a while. Which explains why I can go weeks without feeling a single inspiring word to write here and be sewing up a storm in my studio. But still (say it with me) B-O-R-I-N-G. I don't have the capacity to ignore my inner critic, to not worry about the fallout and its ill-effects. I don't know how to trust that things will take care of themselves: here at The Creamery as well as in my own life. I can tell you something, you readers who might be nodding along and thinking that you've been in this predicament: TURN BACK NOW, BECAUSE WORRYING ABOUT BEING BORING IS EVEN MORE BORING THAN BEING BORING. And that's saying something.

. Several things bother me. Like itchy collars on shirts and vanity sizing at Old Navy. Also nuts in things that should not contain nuts (like ice cream and bread and pasta). Comb-overs. Bean's lightning naps (lasting 45 minutes or less). Garbage in the kitchen sink (why not just THROW IT AWAY, THE TRASH CAN IS RIGHT THERE). Peg-legged jeans. Zippers in the ankles of pants (making it impossible for me to shorten them). Lying. Friends who disappear. Cheap chocolate that tastes like soap. Sinus headaches. When the water pitcher is left empty in the refrigerator. Butter that explodes in the microwave (true story). I hate jeans that fall down halfway through the day (fit perfectly at 8am). I have categorized certain flowers and shrubbery as 'Old Lady Plants' and I refuse to plant them in my own yard even though some of them are perfectly lovely (this drives Chip crazy). I can't stand pesto, and as far as I'm concerned, cilantro is the DEVIL'S HERB. I won't drink milk from anyone's refrigerator except my own. I hate people who walk out on an argument. Slow internet connections. Smelly towels. Cleaning out the cat box. Finding crumbs in my bed. And sob stories like this one.

So there they are, some of the worst parts of me laying here before you. I hope I can leave them out long enough to disintegrate in the sun, blow away with the first strong gust of wind.

Here's hoping.


Anonymous said...

Oh my dear, dear Whimsy. Do you even know what a wonderful, beautiful writer you are? You truly have a gift and I am often in awe of your craft. & I'm just talking writing here and not even touching on your awesome craftiness in general.

I think everything you listed here is something we all (as in Mommy bloggers, much as I despise the term) struggle with at some time or another. The Whimsy we see is by no means the full and complete Whimsy, which really would be impossible to represent adequately in a mere blog. But that's true for all of us. We put out there what we are willing to have others see - whether because it's easier, funnier, or just plain vanity. None of our blogs are a 100% picture of us, but instead enough to offer a hint of the person that lurks deep down, enough to know that yes, we could be friends. And that's enough, really. Doesn't it have to be?

Pickles and Dimes said...

I really wish we lived closer because I think (no, I know) that we would be great friends. You write what is in my head, and you put it out there so eloquently - you have a wonderful talent, a great gift.

Speaking for myself, I can say that I share almost every single one of your fears. I don't know what the deal is, but my head is in that same place as yours lately. I hope writing this out helped you clear yours.

P.S. I also cannot stand itchy tags on shirts (I've ruined more than one shirt cutting off a tag and accidentally putting a hole in the shirt). Cilantro is also the foulest thing imaginable.

If you hate coconut we may be long-lost sisters. :)

wandering nana said...

Ah, I think we need an outing? Then we can laugh and get lost and do whatever we want. I think you feel like I have been feeling. We need some really outstanding cupcakes and a fun shop.

Sibley Saga .... said...

You and I are neck and neck in the race for first place in the "Championship of Needless Worrying and Fear".

Swistle said...

I think everyone is a mix of interesting and boring, little things and big things, ordinary and extraordinary---and that all of us have people who think we're amazing and people who think we're boring, even after seeing the same parts of us the other person saw.

I worry, too, that by blogging I'm showing only the parts that make people like me. But that's what people do in person, too---it's not like it's limited to blogging.

kately said...

A big hug to you, my wonderful, funny, sweet, sensitive, authentic and genuine (is that redundant?) friend. You're awesome just the way you are - don't change a thing, except keep Shredding, 'cause you look A-MAZE-ING!!! *smile*

Bethsix said...

Well, shit. This is going to be a long comment. Sorry. I'm ten days behind on my Google Reader, and then I choose to read THIS at 12:23 a.m. Good job, Alicia.

First of all, I love you whether you're light or dark. I actually really love dark too. I gravitate to dark. But I always love reading you because you're the perfect light.

Don't push the apples down because then they pop up out of the water, and they're all gross and nasty brown and wormy. Especially if they're Red Delicious.

Point One, on giving you too much credit. I think of this sometimes, but I think the exact opposite, WHAT IS WRONG with the people who don't read you? I mean, 35 followers? That's great, but you have a bigger voice and a more authentic perspective than 90% of the stuff I read. You come through as even more authentic to me than me, and hello, I AM ME.

Also to Point One, I totally get what you're saying.

Point Two. Balance. About the most resonant thing I've ever read that I don't completely understand every word of. I mean, I totally get what you're saying here, and I agree, and I have the same worries. I know exactly what you mean by drunken sailor veering. Precisely. I need to think more about this one. Thanks. (That goes to Point One.)

Point Three. I am extremely attractive. I'm so glad you noticed.

Vulnerable/strong. Oh I am SO with you on this. A very great friend recently called me stoic. It was an aha for me. I'm still working out what this means and what I need to change, but I know it's something.

Point the Boring. Things that do require an unbalanced, OCD freak? Hi!

Remaining points:
* "Vanity sizing"?
* Peg legged jeans! Ha!
* I know no chocolate soap. (Almost) all chocolate is good chocolate.
* Right there with you on cilantro. Care for some cilantro pecan ice cream?
* Every. Single. One. of my towels stinks. I don't know what we're doing wrong, but it is DEAD WRONG.
* Ooh! Ooh! I can totally connect two of your consecutive irritations. Buddy (cat) leaves LITTER in our bed. He's old and sometimes decides not to scratch or something. I don't know. Anyway. He somehow makes it ALL THE WAY UP THE STAIRS AND INTO OUR BED, and we find litter. And occasionally? A tiny tiny turd. The tiniest paw turd. (And yes, I think I've found my children's book name, thankyouverymuch.)

Good night, lovely one! Don't miss me SO much!

Sara Hammond said...

Ok, first of all, Miss Whimsy - I totally second your statement about garbage in the sink! I thought it was b/c DH worked in a restaurant, but maybe not?

Second-for Bethsix- Put distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener cup in your washer when you wash your towels. It does *AMAZING* things!