There was a point at which I used to look at every person in a room and think, Am I better than them? Do I exceed them in every single aspect? It was tiresome, and it was this malicious fuel--self doubt-- that kept me going for the wrong reasons, sometimes. I lined up bodies like beads and I compared every one against the other. I judged people on rubrics. People are not rubrics. They just do not fit into any silhouette you draw. I know that now.
Then and again, I have always been like I am now, I think, in this one aspect: I am the first to tense when labeled or judged. It is part of the reason I have stopped being part of any designated religion, or even atheism or agnosticism. I want to believe freely without gathering everything I love into a basket. I realized at some point that I would hate myself I weren't me, and so I am better now. Still sometimes, I compare. I try to fit into a brilliant image of myself that I have created rather than feeling how wonderful laughter is in the very body I am in. My cause for hesitation is the fear that I might appear a fool.
I must confess that sometimes I do not tell you things only because I fear that you might judge me in some way or the other. I need to stop that. I really do.
I think it was two or three weeks ago-- two days after I returned from Paris-- that I found out that a friend of mine died. I don't think I can use the word passed away, or any other euphemism; it was so abrupt that I'm only able to accept that he is dead in this sort of monotone, not understand the gravity and finality of it. I haven't seen him very much for the last two years, this friend, and I'm still reeling. My friend was a filmmaker and a photographer, and one of the most passionate and gifted people I've known. I admit that I sometimes fantasized knowing the winner of an Oscar and feeling the pride by association. I've had a flashback of sorts for the last week, a rewind of every single thing I remember about him. I've been in a five-minute short that he once made.
I met up with his parents and sister the next week-- I took them food and we talked and laughed and shook our heads but did not cry. I still haven't cried. At some point during the conversation, I asked bluntly if there would be a memorial or anything of the sort, and his mother looked up at me and said, no, I'm just so tired. I'm done crying.
I cannot cry at all.
Last week I texted another friend of mine who'd known him as well. She said something along the lines of crap, I bawled for 2 hours and I keep going OMG what again and again. I hesitated, then texted back: I haven't cried at all. She replied, You're so strong.
Is that strength? Is that strength at all?
I do not cry in front of people as a general rule. I try to tell myself that it is okay to cry, that crying is just breathing, the kind of breathing that is a frenzy of air. Now I wonder if I will ever be brave enough to stop controlling images and let go. I don't know what free means.
Sometimes I have a post board full of drafts and drafts and drafts that go all the way back to the October of 2009. I do not have the heart to delete any.
In other news, I found a treasure this week. Her name is Kelly. We've contacted each other via her blog twice, so I can only say that we've barely met. But, her blog is absolutely lovely. Here it is. [Link: www.ordinaryartblog.com , incase you can't click through.]
Right, and if you go my Tumblr [url: www.juliaventise.tumblr.com], you can find a nice place to start on who I am in the most basic sense, in case you have no idea.
(post title derived from where this left off. Erin is so, so amazing.)