Wildflowers Unscripted Writing Challenge Day 10: A defining life moment
I’m supposed to write about my college graduation. I’m supposed to write about the moment I packed up my life and hit 95 to move to Massachusetts. I’m supposed to write about the summer I lost one of my best friends. That is how we qualify defining life moments. These grand or horrendous moments that appear in rare instances. So, maybe you won’t think the conversation I had with my sister over dinner this past weekend is a defining life moment, but I will beg to differ.
We sat at Macaroni Grill and as I cut into my tomato and mozzarella salad, I started to verbally unravel. Sitting in front of my sister is pretty much the same as sitting in front of a mirror. She knows me far better than I would like to admit and sometimes, better than I know myself. And, after I verbally unraveled, she said something to me that went a little like this:
“I get it. You blog. You’re Ty Unscripted. You’re ‘yo, son’ this and son that. But I think you try too hard to play it cool and be a guy’s girl. You have to admit that you are also emotional and vulnerable. That is a part of you that you need to acknowledge.”
They were the kind of sentences that caused me to sit there and nod my head silently while I chewed. I couldn’t say much first. It’s hard to say much when someone spits out a truth that you have tried for a long time to ignore.
Listen. I’ve written about being okay with your emotions. But, for me to actually be okay with the range of my emotions is another thing entirely. I think the term “emotional” gets a bad rep. The word gives you a very Angela-Bassett-torching-her-husband’s-car-in-Waiting-To-Exhale vibe. It isn’t much of a secret that we live in a world that values strength over vulnerability. Logic over emotion. We respect people who can leave their personal lives at the door when it comes to work.
We learn in relationships that (most) men appreciate women who do not cry or nag too much. We admire those who can disjoint their feelings from their libidos; it makes them seem much more in control of their lives in the maze of dating. We strive to be sarcastic and cool in an effort to avoid being attached and affected. And, maybe we act that way because at the ripe age of twenty-something, life has already hardened us. We’ve already learned to keep a joke in our back pockets if anyone tries to clown us first. We know how to poke fun at our own insecurities better than anyone else. We would rather remain detached than risk the shatter fest of a broken heart. We are already so fucking jaded.
But, my bluff has been called and it’s time to be more honest with myself.
Yes, sometimes I have a sharp tongue. Yes, I can be incredibly no-nonsense and about my shit. I do firmly believe in Kelly Cutrone’s mantra of “If you have to cry, go outside.” I crack jokes and yes, sometimes I really don’t care about things. Sometimes I am living for the moment and I’m having a good time. But, that doesn’t mean I can discredit the many other layers I have. Those layers of vulnerability. Those pieces of myself that truly do get attached to the people in my life. The bits of me that listen to people’s stories and take them in as my own. There are the parts of me that sit up at night staring at my ceiling remembering one detail a person told me. The parts of me that stand up in the shower replaying conversations. There are the parts of me that care fully, wholeheartedly, almost to a fault.
I break. I crack. I hurt. I feel. I cry. I do all of these things much more than I would like to admit. Perhaps until now.
Because, I’m human. And, maybe that is sometimes hard to admit, too. I like to don my superwoman cape and pretend I can carry the world on my back and take over it at the same time. But, I can’t keep doing that. I have to stop and breathe. When I feel something, I have to face it head-on. I can’t brush it under the table or deem myself too cool to acknowledge it. Because, denying any way that you feel is the quickest way to self-destruct. You implode. Everything festers and then it comes spilling out in this incoherent and unpredicable way.
My friends sometimes joke that obviously I’m emotional; I write. But, there’s some truth in that. You don’t become the kind of person who pours your life out on a blog or stands on stage and recites spoken word without being an emotional and vulnerable creature. You just don’t. You can’t not give a fuck and then try to be an artist. No one will believe you. People believe in art when it is real and authentic, a direct bullet straight from the heart to the audience.
There are a few lines in a poem I’ve recently written that say, We are insecurities and messes and many mistakes. Delicate beings in need of reconstruction, you and I we easily break. We try to take our scars and shield them with a mask. But please label us fragile; we are only glass.
Please label me fragile. I am only glass. And for the first time in a long time, I am accepting that.