This Quitter accomplished something.
I wrote and posted 50 pieces of my writing.
I need to thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you. I’ve been scared and lonely and you read. Thanks. My heart is full of gratitude. While I write, I picture you reading and smiling and maybe, just maybe for those of you who are easy criers, you shed a tear. I picture you feeling my vulnerability going STRAIGHT to your heart. AND YOU ARE WITH ME. no judgement. Just me toos and hand squeezes. I appreciate you. What can I do to repay you?
In seventh grade or maybe it was sixth, I wanted to quit basketball. I was angry because Coach Jimbo Wood did not play me as much time as the other girls on the team.
Yeah, I know. I remember- I was scared of the ball and covered my eyes when someone threw me a light pass. My ineptness did not deter me. I believed Mr. Wood was unjust in not playing me equally with the other girls who did basketball type of stuff like catch the ball, dribble, shoot, or open their eyes.
I told my dad that I was going to quit. He tried to reason with me. He tried to encourage me. He tried to scold me. His last ditch attempt before forbidding me to quit was “Martee, if you quit now, you will always be a quitter.”
He said it with gravity. He imparted this life lesson so that I would understand the ways of the world.
I replied with all the maturity and authority I could given my undeveloped pre frontal cortex “I don’t care if I’m a quitter.”
But look at me now- I didn’t quit. I didn’t quit this blog. With all the doubt in my heart and mind, I have continued. And I am proud of myself. My dad would be proud, too.
And what if the opposite happened. What if I had never written this blog? Would anyone be the worse for wear except for me? I find joy and satisfaction and courage in writing and posting. I’ll keep writing and posting because my stubborness competes with my faintheartedness.
What if we all kept our mouths shut? What if we all buried our pain? What if we all swallowed our secrets? What if I could pretend as well as most everyone else? What if I could bullshit and smalltalk as well as those people? There is value in my oversharing. There is peace in bearing my soul. There is a giving in my vulnerability. I can’t be 100% sure that I am right but I am confident I speak the truth that I know.
People need to hear each other’s stories because there is hope in community. We hold each other up. I read this quote on that bastion of intellect- Instagram. It was on the page of @thegraygang “people wanna hear from those who beared the unbearable. Those who carried more than they can lift…Your vulnerability will rescue your heart. Your suffering will become a gift.” Tiffany shared this with some pain and tear streaked cheeks, and I want to believe this. I need to believe this. The gospel truth of social media revealed to me. Hallelujah.
But back to sports metaphors.
Have you ever watched little kids play soccer? Or basketball could work, too? And the little kid gets the ball and tears down the field or the court and shoots in the wrong basket without having a clue? The child is running with victory. Chariots of Fire is playing in their mental soundtrack. Or maybe Who let the dogs out. And they feel like a winner for a short glorious moment even though their team is pleading and yelling and jumping and collapsing in disappointment onto the prickly turf or glossy hard woods. Parents and coaches are shouting curse words, spilling their Starbucks and a few men throw their ball caps. But the kid has victory in their reach. They blindly go for it. And the glory disappears in a flash like the after game gatorades and Oreos. Gone. Embarrassment. Shame. In place of triumph.
I keep ending up that kid. I share with an experienced divorced woman a tale of tragic texting or a weekend gone terribly wrong. And I expect a pat on the back. A few expletives and a threat of a throat punch to the one who did me wrong but instead just as I go up for my lay up, I am about to hear the swoosh of net and I hear the word “boundaries.” My lay up doesn’t even hit the backboard. I slip on that slick gym floor and sprain my ankle and bust a hip. I hear the women of knowledge and worldliness in my ear like the roar of a crowd in Mercedes Stadium and I have deja vu. I heard them over and over but I keep running to the wrong end zone.
( Do you like how I put all the sports together and whichever arena I want?)
I am starting to know how little I know. This is when the growing starts. Possibly but maybe I’m out of bounds.
I read this book by Joan Didion about when her husband died. The year of Magical Thinking. She kept retelling the story. Conversation after conversation. Day after day. Page after page. Chapter after chapter. The same story- the same moment of when her husband died. We do this. Right? Trying to make sense of our lives. Reviewing the details. Rehearsing the ending, hoping it is just a dress rehearsal. And then going right back to the start maybe adding a detail that your forgot in the cloud of tragedy and tears. Wishing that next time you wake up it will be untrue. That life will be back to the old ways. But the old ways are forever gone. What you were wearing. Who you had talked to on the phone. What you had for breakfast. The song on the radio. The angle of the sun through the window. Saying the same thing and ending up with the same outcome. This is normal. This is grief or healing or both and neither.
I’m not ready to re-read my 50 posts and see how many times I repeated myself. How many times, I cursed my foolishness. How many times I cried to Patty Griffin songs
or screamed Lucinda Williams
or swam in Lyle Lovett’s melodies.
Don’t go to the source of pain for healing. Seems so obvious.
I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep listening to songwriters singing their hearts out. (Linda Ronstadt is playing right now.) I’ll take more photos. I’ll stick my foot in my mouth. I’ll get more vulnerability hangovers. I’ll grin and blush when you say you read my last post and you hug me tight.
Repayment plan—– Coffee on a Sunday morning? I owe you more than that. First person to comment or share (who isn’t related to me), I’ll make you one of my famous throw pillows featuring a granny needlepoint from Goodwill mixed with crazy fabric. I love you. Peace out. Good night.