There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~Maya Angelou
Back in the day, I had lots of drama to share with my five or so regular readers. It was young person drama to be sure, but I felt like it was my duty to provide it and to entertain those who’d come to be entertained. Granted, I was performing my show for a very small audience, but they were women of uncommon smarts and valor, and I could rely on them to be with me through thick and thin, and to always be ready with a listening ear and an occasional piece of terrific and hard-won wisdom.
Fifteen or sixteen years hence, and a few of them are still lurking about in my Facebook feed and even visiting here every once in a blue moon. (Y’all know who you are, of course.) For what it’s worth, I don’t think they show up for the dramatics anymore, and it makes me feel at least marginally better that I don’t have to put on a show for them.
Nevertheless, I have to admit that in recent years, I’m feeling like a bit of a disappointment to those who stop by expecting [at least a few] theatrics. Back when all of this online journaling stuff began for me, I went great guns. I brought it all out in the open–every embarrassing detail, every ill-advised decision, every break-up and make-up, every person around me who would doubtless have preferred to never be mentioned (even anonymously) in any online forum. As a twenty-something, I did some stupid shit. Admittedly, I still wasn’t done with the rampant dumbassery in my thirties, though I was a little less apt to share it on the internet. At forty, my patience with the drama in my life (whether it originated with me or others) finally began to wane, and where before I was loath to kick anybody out of my life for any reason, I began to kick poisonous people to the curb without a second thought or a single backward glance. I also jettisoned those who could not stop bringing to my life endless amounts of personal drama with no indication that there would ever be a reward. Although at the time I was much more reluctant and quiet about it, nowadays I really wish it had sounded like this: “sorry to be so out-of-the-blue rude, buddy, but mama ain’t got time (or energy) to waste on that shit A-NY-MORE.”
I’m not sorry that the drama is gone from my personal life (inasmuch as it can be when I share living space with two teenagers), but wow, it’s hard to come up with something to say on a daily basis without it. Honestly, it makes me wonder what all this journaling stuff is about for me. Is it born of some not-so-well-hidden egotistic (or solipsistic) impulse to talk and think only of myself all the time? On more than one occasion I’ve wondered if writing on the internet isn’t just my somewhat unique take on the endless selfies I see my teenagers snapping, posting, and streaking out to their friends and hundreds of acquaintances during every hour that they’re awake. (And while I’m touching on that subject..I honestly don’t think I’ve met that many people in my life. Certainly I haven’t interacted with them long enough to exchange social media contact information.) Maybe it’s the same thing. I mean, hasn’t conventional wisdom always held that the majority of people struggle with a subconscious (and lifelong) belief that the world revolves around them? I know that I have so far, though I make a concerted and daily effort to shift my focus elsewhere and to be kinder and more considerate of the lives of those around me. (Not that I’m over here Trumping it up with an itchy Twitter finger and nary a thought about others because wow, that guy has got ISSUES and I don’t think we’re even the same species.)
So what am I even saying? I don’t know. Maybe it’s that I miss the drama–if only because when it was here, I never had to wonder what the hell I was going to write about or what I should be writing about. Maybe it’s that I spend too much time in my own head. Maybe it’s that the trajectory of the country scares the shit out of me and that my reaction to that state of affairs scares me even more. Am I really the angry person who screams at the political pundits on my television every morning and calls Trump supporters a waste of space and oxygen? Wasn’t I trying to be kind and understanding?
Probably I’m too hard on myself and spend far too much time trying to be honest about who I am even though I’m the only one who’s curious about the answer. Maybe that’s the rub. Maybe that’s the thing that all of us who write on the internet are trying to get to: we want to write the truth for ourselves and for you. We want these years of excruciating labor to be over and we want all of it finally out there for you to see and appreciate and moon over. “There it is,” we expect you to say. “It’s so simple and beautiful and it was right there in front of us all along. Now we can move on with our lives and finally understand what the hell it’s all been about.” Also, “holy shit, that lady is effing brilliant.” =)