It’s 5:21 AM on a Sunday and I’m sitting in Clark Kent’s office writing a blog post. You could file that under “B” for bullshit if you’d like, but getting up to write, enveloped by the day’s silence, is a joy for me.
Today’s topic isn’t a joy.
I always say too much. Or, at least I feel I do.
When the person you’re giving a ride home to or sitting across from you — that person you kinda know but don’t know well — when you can feel them doing that wide-eyed “nod” that tells you they have nothing to add to what you’re saying and you’re probably saying too much but for some godforsaken reason YOUR MOUTH JUST KEEPS MOVING.
Like, you ate an entire volume of the Encyclopedia Brittanica for dinner the night before and you’re just hucking up chucks of pages into the air, uncomfortable in the silence and spaces in between.
And it’s not like I keep talking because I’m an expert or some authority on life or the assorted and sundry bullshit that’s flying through the air.
I keep talking because I want the other person to be okay.
To feel worthy and admired and respected and included and to know I’m grateful for their presence in my world AND THIS IS THE WORST POSSIBLE WAY I CAN DO THIS BUT MY MOUTH WILL NOT STOP.
Like, if someone offered me a million bucks on the condition that I said NO MORE THINGS, I would still fuck that up and say “thank you — I really appreciate this.”
Because anxiety. Social anxiety. The feeling of being judged by the person in front of me or working through an idea out loud until I get to the one funny or heartfelt thing I was going to say but didn’t know how to say until I’d gone through 8, 374 words to find the right ones.
I did this with my mom the whole week I was at her house, working like a whirling dervish to get her house comfortable after the flooding from Harvey. There were days I know my word vomit made her want to cry and I was just trying to help and what probably would have help her most in those moments is for me to shut the fuck up and go back to Home Depot.
I just wanted her to be okay because I was there and it’s kinda my job and pleasure to make sure she’s okay for all the years she’s made sure I was okay.
By the way, she just turned 70 yesterday and I don’t know how that’s possible because she’s the 35-year-old woman who made me appreciate a bargain, know how to find one, and figure out how to do things for myself before I ever learned how to “call a guy” to have it done for me. She’s special. Hell, she didn’t kill me for the 18 years I lived in her house which pretty makes her the patron saint of Teen Angst.
I just wanted (want) her to be okay.
I gave a workshop instructor a ride home to our side of town yesterday and I was fascinated — COMPLETELY MESMERIZED and mind blown by how the preschool she teaches at follows the Reggio Emilia approach to child development. Like, go read up on that and tell me if that’s not holy shit level of awesome and tells you everything wrong with how we strip creativity and “play” away from kids with each passing year in the typical school system. So I vomited all over her — praise. Appreciation. Queries. Intrigue. My heartfelt beliefs that as adults we are so terrified to be wrong and how invigorating it must feel to be in a room all day with kids (and their parents!) who are investigators and who have the freedom to figure things out by trial and error and put their most creative minds to work.
She likely climbed out of my car exhausted and is terrified I’ll be back in class for a 2nd day today.
But I said too much.
And it’s all about how I more comfortable in a keyboard-and-screen environment where I can work through words with the gift of a backspace button and life’s backspace button is an apology and those only work about half the time. We seem to mean them only half of those half the times.
It’s messy to be overspoken and on a path to finding the economy of words as a professional writer and amateur human.
And by 44, I feel as if I should be a professional human by now. But I’m far from it.
I mean, shit. I should know how to have a conversation with a stranger and give a compliment.
I should know how to stop talking without shoving a slice of pizza in my mouth.
I should know the look on my mom’s face when she’s done with me talking.
I should know.
I should know how to be in the in-between and not feel like I have to fill the void.
But social anxiety is an asshole and it makes you feel — even in the spaces where you are the most confident — that you are not enough.
So that’s my battle du jour: talking to much when I haven’t talked to you on this blog since March when my Hippo kicked it and I felt like I would never win again.
I’ve had a lot of spaces in between since then. I’m just learning, as an amateur human, how to live in them — both alone and with other people.
Because I just want us all to be okay and celebrated and loved and lifted up like the motherfucking glorious creatures we each are.
So maybe I’ll say that next time, when I feel like I’m saying too much:
You are a glorious motherfucker and I’m delighted your soul and power are on this planet.
Because I am glad. And I just want us all to be okay — in our messes and lives as amateur humans, figuring shit out as we go because no one wrote an instruction manual on how to get from who we are to who we want to be. I mean, IKEA probably did, but who the fuck can follow those instructions and I’m always one piece short. Not to mention that allen wrench. Where the actual fuck does that tiny allen wrench go when we’re done assembling our bëd?
That is all I have to say for today. And it’s probably been too much.