2018

A Different Light

I’m editing. I’m editing this webpage. I’m editing possessions. I’m editing a book.

I removed the previous post about “The Wizard of OZ” because it didn’t set the proper tone for what I’m relating it to, and that is the novel I’m editing, “The Edges of the Rain.” I am very much a Yellow Brick road gal, still, only my understanding of it isn’t quite the same now. Many of the themes present in “The Wizard of Oz”, are heavily embedded in this novel of mine. It’s some seven years since writing the first draft. It is a serious book dealing with a descent into madness. As I began to edit, I realized, fully, how far I’ve come since then. I tend to think that we are here, in this world, to learn, if we can. (And to love all we can.) I’ve made a lot of mistakes during the course of this lifetime. There are these strange things, circumstances, events, moments, that get us sometimes. An example I’ve cited is that, more than a decade ago now, I once used a mid-meltdown photo of Britney Spears as a profile picture, thinking, at the time, I was just being cheeky ( edit, clarification: being cheeky about the amount of stress I felt like I was under, not about her having any issues) and who was I anyway? I was just the average person in the burbs, and, had been a fan of some of Britney Spears’ music. But, who are any of us? Some time after that I had my own breakdown. What I realized was that even though I was no one to Ms. Spears and the likelihood of my trying to be funny seemingly had no direct effect on her ever, as in, not like someone told her I did that and she was set to tears over it, I realized that what it does is lower the overall tone of how we treat other people. I’ve tried to make that point in various other ways since then, sometimes using sarcasm, and realized, no one seemed to get that what I was saying was that it isn’t cool. So, now, I’ve stated my opinion of it plainly. I’d be lying if I said that I’d never been critical of anyone or anything. I’d be foolish if I told you what it is that has sometimes caused me to be that way with or about anyone as it is generally my nature to let people be so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or anyone else. Even then sometimes I recognize it as none of my business. Prior to my breakdown, let’s just say in my previous existence, one of the things I used to do to keep myself in check was, if I saw someone who was obviously out of sorts in some way, was to ask myself what would have to happen to a person to be where that person is at, going through what they’re going through? Because I’ve been down, I have been through some things. Somewhere around the time of being cheeky about Ms. Spears, I was losing that perspective, and I know why, what caused that, and it’s enough that I know it. People used to constantly be telling me to “lighten up.” I deeply regret having ever betrayed some of the things I believe in. It’s all learning.

Editing this novel has proved to be galvanizing as much of it is based on actual experience though it is most certainly fiction. It’s making me thankful for my life, for my sanity. Sometimes I’ve thought that I didn’t go insane, so much as I went completely sane in an insane world. I’m glad of getting to look at it all with a new perspective, hopefully mature. In so many ways it has brought me back to myself. In so many ways, this book, for me, has been about finding my way, my guts, as a writer, and perhaps nothing else. Though, that is unlikely. To learn is to grow, to be about the evolution of the existence of your being, and, I believe, everything is part of that process. Others may think or believe otherwise and they are free to do so. We are not all on the same road.

One of the things I’ve learned is that the people I’ve loved the most are those whom are so confidently at ease with themselves that they instantly put others at ease. If there’s a guy railing against bacon, how bacon is evil and no one should ever eat bacon because he hates it, and no one should ever listen to music from the 1950’s because that all sucks and why don’t you join the modern age, and hey, you shouldn’t read those books because they’re all garbage, here, read these books that are real literature, because it’s all bad in his, or her, exalted opinion of his opinions, that’s a person I’d just as soon not have much to do with. If there’s a guy that’s calm, confident, relaxed with himself, who thinks it’s cool that you have a room dedicated to your favorite film memorabilia, are addicted to root beer floats, and can’t watch enough Kung Fu, even though he doesn’t like that show, give me that person. The confident person is generally going to be kinder, because they’re not threatened by your differences, less likely to try to make themselves feel better by making you, or anyone else, feel bad. Some people are never happy, because deep down they’re unhappy with themselves. Sometimes people become so hurt, they become terrified of joy, terrified of the uncertainty, the seemingly fleeting nature of happiness, and so they cling to their hurt, to their anger, misery, and pain, and trudge like monsters through the delights of others wreaking havoc as if to prove and validate their own hurt and misery, their own experience. And I know how hard it can be to let go of those things. Such people are constantly looking for someone to feed off of, for someone to reassure them that their opinions about bacon are correct. They don’t want you to be yourself, they want you to be a reflection of their ideas and opinions of all that is bad or good or correct. What I’ve learned from such people, ultimately, if I didn’t shrink completely away, was that I wasn’t going to learn anything from them. (And that’s been disappointing sometimes, because I haven’t necessarily disliked all such individuals, only realized they weren’t people I was meant to know anymore than I did at whatever time it was.) There’s never been any room for me to grow in the presence of such. It’s a lesson it’s taken me a lifetime to learn at some emotional expense. Give me the people who are truly at ease with themselves, they make the best teachers, they make the best lovers, they make the best friends. They let people be and become themselves, so they can find their own confidence. (I think confident people help create other confident people, inspire others to be confident.) They help you when you fall, more importantly, they don’t push you down in the first place.

Even at that though, like I said, we’re all on different roads, learning from one another. Maybe what I learned is, give me the confident people at ease with themselves, the ones who aren’t telling me how to be,  because that’s who I want to be like, the people who make you feel like it’s okay to be who you are, and to still be learning.

TS