Thursday, October 28, 2010
Why is it...?
Through Myself Darkly
When you reflect my doubts,
I wish you would turn the mirror
of my self-hatred away,
instead, let me see in the looking glass
of your eyes, what it is in me
that you love and cherish,
despite, or maybe even because of,
my many blemishes.
I am my own worst enemy. If anyone is going to destroy me, it will be me, myself, and I. Some good things have happened to me lately in regard to my writing. And I'm going to list them here, despite all the angry voices in my head telling me that doing so is bad, wrong, self-centered, and maybe worst of all, futile. So here's some public bloodletting.
In no particular or chronologic order, and with commentary:
~ Last month I gave a poetry reading. I was one of four poets on the program. By luck of last name, I went last. It went well. I guess. People said nice things. See, there's this thing inside me that gets angry whenever I "brag." I have a hunch that it comes from places back in my childhood, and they're not all sun-shiny and pretty.
~ I sent someone my self-published chapbook (right now I'm not sure why), and she said "These are fabulous, Robin! I love their simplicity and their depth." I've never met her, I have no reason to believe she'd be "just saying that." Where does that voice come from? "Just saying that."
~ While writing this, just now, a friend wrote back to me, in response to some of my typical self-tortured musings; "I don't know what you need to do, and at this point in my life, I wouldn't presume to even suggest a course of action (since I'd almost certainly be wrong), but there probably is something that you should be doing. For all I know it might be misunderstanding friends, getting upset, and then finding out that your friends love and respect you after all, despite any doubts and self-recriminations on your part. If that's true, you are doing exactly the right thing (and who is to say you're not?). Sometimes I wonder why I have such good friends.
~ Yesterday, Emerald had something very nice to say about one of my poems. I was kinda flabbergasted. Why? Oh, I can be gracious about accepting praise, on the outside, but inside something wants to deflate any sense of "wow, I did that!" (or I wrote that). Interesting. Yeah, a bit of self-therapy here.
~ I was asked to co-feature with Jeremy Edwards at the Erotic Literary Salon in Philadelphia on Nov. 16. He announced it on his blog. I knew I was wanting to hear him read from his new book and I thought it would be fun to get on the open mike list. That's all. And while I'm thrilled I finally get to read some poems I don't have the nerve to read locally, I also feel bad that I will be taking time away from what would have been just Jeremy's feature.
~ In November I have another reading that I'm doing. That makes two in one month. Why do I think that's "wrong?" I should be proud and excited and all that, right? And I am. That's the thing. The little-kid excitement is there right along with the grown-up admonition to "get over it."
A couple of times recently people have mentioned that they haven't seen me wear my Fuck Shame necklace lately. And yeah, they're right. Because lately I think I've let the shame get an upper hand. Maybe because of all the changes I'm going through, I've been doing a lot of self-examination, and I don't always like what I see. I'm selfish and self-centered much of the time. At least it seems that way to me. And so the spiral begins.
I do this. All the time. This bungeeing, this spiraling. I think I've mentioned it before when I did something that I still sometimes am surprised I did. Should I be proud of that? Ashamed? Neutral? All of the above? I don't know.
Last weekend I was looking at some pictures with a friend, pictures that are up on Facebook. In one, taken a couple of years ago, there are two friends who are no longer with us. And it is because of the tangle of emotions I have around their absence that I keep going, despite everything in me that says "stop writing and be a regular person."
Early this morning in an email to someone who I misunderstood, I wrote "We all write because we like picking scabs. That's all it is. Some of us are better at it than others, that's all." And in the course of the morning, through many tears, I realized, that is my truth. I pick scabs. Because somehow I believe that if I can get deep enough, I can somehow get to new, unblemished skin.