If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

30 August 2006

Less Expensive than Therapy

Greetings and Salutations, fine reader!

FAIR WARNING: If you've dropped by looking for charming/witty/lighthearted Viaggiatore, she’s not in today. Feel free to leave a message or call back again later. Maybe tomorrow she’ll be back to regale you with the recent stories of the
violent allergic reaction to the spider bite and the Italian medical system and/or her favorite kitchen utensil (a Tuscan man), and perhaps even the long-overdue story of the Opera Roadtrip, the season of Sagras, and how she’s hoping “abandoned is the new chic” because that’s pretty much what the garden looks like.

Aaaaah, I know, I hear you. You came looking for the crazy paper hat-wearing, do-just-about-anything-on-a-dare Viaggiatore? The one with the infectious laugh (if only because it's so damn loud)? The one who has no fear of making a total ass of herself in a foreign language? No, sorry, she really isn’t in today. (This would be your cue to stop reading. Really. Please, please, please don't say I didn't warn you.)

But am I sorry? Well, yes. Actually, I am. Because I would really, really, really like to feel like that girl today. And maybe tomorrow, I will. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to find my equilibrium again. To look in the mirror, take a deep breath, square off with myself and punch back, as The Mom (wisely) says. But today, I’ve got a wee bit of an internal reconstruction project going on and it, I must admit, is sucking the very life out of me. The sunglasses are on for a reason: the eyes are the windows to the soul, and mine has been in a bit of a torture spiral for a while now.

Since the beginning of our friendship, my blog-daddy, The Sean Show, (who once upon a time I called The Sensitive Rebel) has always amazed me, provoked me, challenged me. He is now truly inspiring me. Don’t get me wrong, he’s hands-down one of the most completely fucked up people I’ve ever met. And yet … he knows it. That’s the inspiring part.

Universal truth: the girl in the room who knows that she’s beautiful is the one no one likes. Because they can’t relate to her, will never feel comfortable with her.

The fucked up guy who knows exactly how fucked up he is, and better – is articulate and raw and completely candid, honest, open with you even when it’s messy and embarrassing? Now that's a guy we can relate to. One we’d sit down and have a beer or six with. Who, by his very presence in your life, actually makes you feel more whole, more connected to the world, … because he can put into words what ultimately we all are feeling in some way. It’s the human condition. And by knowing him, you are less alone.

“It’s been mentioned that I might be hitting some variation of the mid-life crisis. It’s certainly possible despite my best attempts to avoid being a cliche. I prefer to think I’m just expressing a disenchantment with so much of what’s sold to us, and I’m trying to discover a new way of living that’ll make me happy. This is what Jack Kerouac and Carson McCullers expressed so well, the hunger for something more relevant and honest and the reverse of crippling loneliness, and I am simply falling short in both the description and the goal.”

The Sean Show is fond of using the expression that “we’re all acting.” Playing the part that we’re supposed to play in each segment of our lives:

“It’s all an act. All of us, all of this. We’re all acting, doing our best while knowing full well it’ll never be enough. I’m trying as hard as I can to keep up the charade, not because I want to buy into denying that I’m miserable, but so that I’m not smearing my bullshit all over the people I love. Yeah, they’re putting up facades as well. But sometimes all we have is the acting and each other, so I suppose it’ll have to work. You know you’re so very fucked when you’re best described by whiny self-indulgent emo songs.”

Cue “The Place You Have Come to Fear the Most. (Dashboard Confessional).

This is one time, this is one time
that you can't fake it hard enough to please
everyone or anyone at all, or anyone at all.
And the grave that you refuse to leave
the refuge that you've built to flee
the places you have come to fear the most.
it's the place that you have come to fear the most

Indeed, we are all ultimately just playing the parts we’ve found ourselves cast in for the sliver of time we’ve got on this planet. The daughter. The mother. The sister. The can-keep-all-the-plates-spinning-with-one-hand-employee. The funny one. The creative one. The artist. The smart one. The dancer. The athlete. The husband. The responsible one. The adventurous one. The spiritual one. The edgy and fearless one. The kind and generous one.

And then, sometimes, you realize that maybe you want to be recast.
Maybe you have to be recast, even if it wouldn't be your choice to be, if you are to move to the next level, to discover the Paul Harvey-esque ‘rest of the story’ that is intended for your life.

But there are old demons standing in the way, and
you’re not sure how to get from here to there.
There is no map for this journey.
You fear that you might not play the new role as well as you’re playing the one/two/five that you already know by heart.

And so you keep putting one foot in front of the other, acting the parts.
And one day you’re not even convincing yourself anymore.

The place that you have come to fear the most.
The place where you have to open up.
To take on the demons.
To jump off the ledge,
having faith that the net will appear.

When you know that you must take action to change, but you aren’t sure you can find the courage to stop pacing the cage. To overcome the inertia to propel yourself - past the stellar monument of loneliness - over the edge into the unknown. (Damn if that whole "if not now, when" thing doesn't keep coming back to haunt me!)

Oh, Sean, you’re right. I’m so very fucked. And I’m so very scared.

“I am a little terrified of royally fucking up, but I’m more terrified of actually being happy. My lack of self-confidence is downright criminal.”

I am, at the very least, in very very good company.

That is all.

All this introspection has made me a bit peckish.
Downright hungry, even, which I will deem A Good Sign.
Damn, where's a 24-hour Waffle House when I need one!?!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to tell you that you think too much, but I know from personal experience how impossible it is to stop doing that. It's equally pointless (and offensive) to tell another person to stop doing it. You're in an end-of-summer metaphysical rut. If only Godiva made a dark-chocolate Prozac.....

Re. bats: they are delightful creatures, but I can understand why they scare the bejesus out of you. A friend in CT is a certified "Bat Rehabilitator". In fact, you look an awful lot like her. If you want, I'd be happy to lend you my cat, Matilda. She is awesome at catching bats, and she also kills them with regularity, after wringing every ounce of play value out of them.

Get back in the saddle!!

Alison in Civita Castellana

9:57 AM  
Blogger Umbrian said...

Are you telling me that I only know a fabricated Viaggatore?
OK, so you are born and there's some stuff in there you won't change. The rest is all building a person. If you were a fox, or even a bat, you wouldn't have much luck at trying for some variety, but humans get a lot of leeway. Maybe a self-declared nutcase isn't the best guidepost?
Alison's cat is delicious. So is Alison. Have either over for a chat.
Try chocolate for Alison, bats for the cat. Then pack up for the horse show.

10:28 AM  
Blogger I'm Just a Girl said...

This reminds me of my Reflections post, which you were my only response to. You "get it." Are we just floating along aimlessly like sludge on a lillypad, or is there something greater in store? If so, are we supposed to seek it out (i.e. your bold endeavor to Tuscany) or just keep wearing our currently designated acting shoes and watch for it through foggy glasses? I don't like what I see many times because I'm not sure what is "supposed" to be looking back. Did I already choose the path not taken or is it still waiting for me? I feel so unexcited and I fear, apathetic.

We lead polar lives my friend, but I think we have are having the same earlier-than-mid-life crisis. Blog on, girl...and I hope you found a Waffle House ;)

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deeply honest. You can hear them now, "NOOOOOO! Please you must be the person I NEED you to be. The person I am used to and rely on."

People don't like to hear that the puzzle of your personaility are shifting a little because it rocks their world too.

If it makes you feel any better, in my family I am the snobby princess with too many opinions. In my work world, I am the easy going enabler that will take what is dished out. Truthfully, I am neither one.

Glad you said it. For all of us.
Love you,

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinda sorta love you huge.

And not just coz you actually READ my blog.

Chin up, princess. You're always my special girl.



7:39 AM  

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