There’s this moment that happens.
The moment when you’re on an airplane and everything is fine and then all of a sudden –
The “fasten seatbelt” sign goes on and you realize,
Oh shit I should’ve stayed home. This is going to suck. The Captain is going to get on and be like ‘we’re good, guys’ but I am going to hear the panic in his voice and know that this is IT–
Maybe that’s just me. Anyway.
I could’ve swore I heard that DING when I woke up this morning. Fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a rough one.
It started out well enough. I wasn’t late to work. I managed to pull off a statement necklace and simple striped shirt which made me kind of look like a fashionable Tim Burton character. It was mildy chilly outside.
Then I got to my desk and saw a note from my boss indicating that I had done something wrong. Something I needed to fix.
I shook it off. I joked about it to myself. No big deal. Ha ha, Wednesday. Very funny.
Then? A rejection in my inbox. Again – just a query rejection. Nothing about my pages. I tried to shake that off. That one was harder.
Because there’s been this awful thing nagging at the back of my mind, and it’s been there for quite a while, working its way through my chest like an infected splinter I keep thinking I can ignore. Except I’m pretty sure if I don’t start looking at it I’m going to go f***ing septic.
It started when I was little (Doesn’t it all? Half the time I think childhoods are for digging out this horrible mess of razor wire and then adulthoods are where you put on some sub-par gloves and start trying to untangle it). I was a pretty weird kid. I had inch-thick glasses, a constant conviction that someone in my life was probably a vampire, and a deep love of animals of the stray and mangy variety.
There was one thing I could do, though. I could sing.
I don’t remember when it started, but I do remember singing Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back to Me barefoot on the dining room table in my nightgown.
(If realizing I belted out “THERE WERE NIGHTS OF ENDLESS PLEASURE” in front of my father at eight years old doesn’t embarrass the crap out of me, nothing will).
It was my thing. In middle school, I had very few friends. I wore a green raincoat every single day (thanks, OCD) and tried to navigate friendships without telling them too much of why I had to wear my hair a certain way and had to stop by the bathroom during every passing period. I was a weirdo. I mean, I consider myself a nice person but even I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be friends with me. But singing – singing leveled the playing field. When I had a solo at a concert, I wasn’t a freak. On the contrary… I had a few moments of popularity. I couldn’t function like a basic human most of the time, but I knew I could belt out some Les Mis.
I got in to the Los Angeles County High School of the Arts on a singing scholarship (but didn’t end up going. Long story. Okay not that long – it seemed like a hellhole). I became an Opera minor in college and was even preparing to go study with the music department in Germany.
Then, somewhere along the line I realized I effing hated it. I hated the back-biting and the competing and the stupid nude tights and thick stage lipstick. So. I quit.
How liberating! How freeing! No more being trapped in a building constantly abuzz with la-la-la-LA-La-la-laaaaaaa warm ups wafting through the air like the little fists assaulting my eardrums.
No more giggling when I had to sing something in French that sounded like “Le Boner” and getting stern looks from instructors.
No more… no more being special.
No more backstage passes. No more people parting for me because I was the star of the show. No more knowing that I had something I could do.
Here’s the thing. I thought I’d handled it quite well. Years passed and, with the exception of a very painful throat condition that arose from halting the voice exercises I’d done for twelve years in the span of a month, I was fine. Barely any fallout, I figured.
A dear friend of mine asked me a question this weekend, and I thought I could answer it. She asked me if I thought I was enough.
I always say yes. Who doesn’t say yes? What Christian, for that matter, could say no to that?
Of course, I said.
This is where today came in. Because I realized I so don’t.
I don’t think I’m enough, and it’s exhausting.
The worst part of having a baby was that afterwards, I was REALLY big (like seventy extra pounds big). I hated that I couldn’t wear heels and feel pretty because I was so used to feeling special. I liked going to family functions and being able to tell people I was in grad school and married and studying abroad and signing with an agent and writing a book and whatever else kind of bullshit I said to try and throw dirt over the real problem. I liked singing because I was – literally, because of the stage – above other people.
I’ve thought about this a lot, but not really, you know what I mean?
There’s been this snake in my headspace, coiled and hissing and I’ve just had this vague heh I should probably deal with that at some point kind of attitude.
It came to a head today.
Today, when there was nothing wrong, really. But when I kept refreshing my email on my phone because I need someone to tell me yes. I need someone to tell me that I am special. I have effing blisters on my finger from refreshing my phone so often. That’s where I’m at.
And nothing came. No emails, no “yes”. Normally, I can handle that. It’s part of the game, and it’s actually part of the game that I enjoy. I love not knowing if today could be the day that changes my life.
But today, I couldn’t handle it. The splinter started moving, dragging poison behind it and the snake started hissing and the dirt on top of all my shit blew away and I was so effing angry. I was angry that I needed the validation and angry it wasn’t coming.
And then –
And then my boss asked me to sort pictures of roadkill.
I wish I was kidding. The girl who saves worms from the sidewalk during rainstorms had to sort closeups of dead, mashed skunks into a “miscellaneous” file.
On the way home, I cried.
And I prayed that I would stop needing to prove myself to someone. The someone I wanted to get angry at because who the hell made me like this?! It was somewhere around the third stoplight that I realized the someone is and always has been me.
I’m trying to prove myself to me, and I have no idea why.
Like I have no idea why I’m writing this. Maybe I’ll post it, maybe I won’t. Maybe an oversharer like me will never get over the impulse that’s like
HEY I JUST HIT A VEIN I SHOULD TELL EVERYONE.
Or maybe I just want prayers, and I want to add my voice to the people out there who are trying to be authentic. I have a pretty gorgeous profile picture, I can afford to be ugly in here, right?
See, that was a joke. But kind of not.