Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I need to thank you, A.
When you emailed me you mentioned the word “cryptic” in regards to my writing. I have rolled it around in my brain and it has been the most helpful word I have ever received. I realized that most of the time I’m hiding even here, even in my most prolific form of communication. I realized that that is the single reason I prefer short or even flash fiction to novels because it’s easier to hide that way. Leave out the details that don’t have the punch or pizzazz, but more importantly hide the simple truths. Yes, I can narrow down a moment and take some breath away, but what were the moments leading up to that, the ones that aren’t allowed to cower and play second fiddle? The truth about myself in non fiction pieces, let alone the truth in fictional ones. And If I’m afraid to speak my own truth, my characters are sure as hell afraid to speak theirs. So, I’ve been writing non stop for the past hour and a half and here’s where it stands:
I haven’t had a great deal of experience with members of the opposite sex. If you’re not close to your father, it goes one of two ways. You throw yourself at every man who shows any interest to make up for never knowing where you stand from the male role model who teaches you how to interact with all men or you clam up and believe that because the most important man in your life ignores you or finds you lacking, then that’s the way all look at you. And it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The more you clam up, the more invisible you become. And the ones who notice, at least in my life, were the tall dark quiet types who didn’t dare let me know they’re feelings anyway. Great. I got that at home too.
I skated through it OK. I didn’t have any interest in boys or at least I told myself I didn’t because if they treated me the way I felt with my dad, I was dodging a bullet anyway. The first boy I liked reminded me of the husband I now have. I should have known even at age twelve, that the boy who won my heart would have to work at it and take me places I was less than comfortable with emotionally. I was in a van going to the beach. YM/YW activities are dreamy when you live in Southern CA. A new boy had moved into the ward. He was 16 and ancient compared to my baby innocence. He was smart and had a mouth on him and gave me a hard time. It wasn’t the usual stuff, the mean stuff though that I was used to. It was a mental challenge and I found I could give it right back. He wasn’t that tall; wow a clue to my future. He had freckles and auburn hair which compared to the red mop I had looked positively brown.
He was sardonic, a language I understood, had always understood. He liked me, a language I didn’t know. The last time I had a boy wrapped around my finger I was eight and times had changed. I didn’t know what to do with this one. This one was so much older and wiser. I was an actor at heart, he was too. I was funny and he made me laugh. I found out at a young age the rarity of humor in others. He was aggressive, but not overly so and for his age may have been almost as innocent as I felt. The night he backed me up against the wall at road show practice, all it would have taken would have been the slightest movement from me to initiate my first kiss, but as I’ve mentioned before, I had no idea what to do with him. I didn’t trust my own feelings, let alone his. I ran away. Later there was a dance just for the cast and I stayed home on purpose because I knew he would be there and want to dance and ask about me, which he did, but I couldn’t face him, those feelings. Soon I started to ignore him and ultimately he moved away. I wonder sometimes if I had been the girl who threw herself at everyone to make up for lack of a male presence in her life where I would have been. I know the answer. I would have been promiscuous and pregnant. The rebellious reckless streak in me would have come charging out and I would have jumped into that world too quickly. In quiet moments, I reflect that perhaps even though a part of me wishes for more experience, for that first kiss at twelve by a boy four years my senior, that the Lord was protecting me. Just like we make our big decisions based from a million little ones, that’s how I feel about my own love life or even lack of it.
And I don’t talk about this ever. I am ashamed. Like I am less then because I don’t have all the stories and the ones who pined for me. And the truth is, I wish for that. I, like any other girl out there, wish to make a man fall to his knees with longing. I wish I was more than I was, that I was so beautiful that I would have turned heads, that I was so desirable that I didn’t have to pretend to not be there so that I wouldn’t stand out in a boy’s mind and he would find me lacking. It was later I would find out the boys in high school who liked me, the new girl always never giving them an opening, they thought I was stuck up or not interested because those were the vibes I screamed out through every pore. And when you aren’t asked out or to dances or go pick out a pretty dress it closes a door on your femininity and then you have to tell yourself that you don’t care in order to survive. You call yourself a late bloomer and you have to become the best friend to every girl our there so that they don’t spend any time asking you what’s wrong with you because they and you are too busy focusing on them and their lives and how they are wanted. And then you’re protected from boys wondering what’s wrong with you because your just the friend of so and so and you’re just so dang supportive. And you don’t talk about boys at least not when it relates to yourself. And people stop asking you about it because they have their own love life issues. And that’s how you fly under the radar for so long and all the things that immature boys who mothers say really like you, but you understand the cruelty behind their words and that they have to punish all the girls they find different or unique, stick to your psyche like grey gum under a park bench. And you sit at that bench everyday. “Do you know how flat you are? She used to be cute last year, but look at her now…Do you want to dance…just kidding, who would dance with you?”
to be continued...