It’s strange to go back through my old posts (as I’m reading and editing and password-protecting and unlocking) and see how smart-mouthed and sassy and out-there I used to be. Like reading the innermost personal thoughts of an almost-stranger. That girl you went to school with in fourth grade, and then suddenly bumped into, years later and miles away, in a completely different city. You remember a few details about her, like the way she usually dressed, or a particular dorky laugh that she had. Talking to her gives you back a few more memories. And then, the brief exchange layers new memories on to those old ones, but you can’t quite grasp the whole picture of who she is versus who she was.
Maybe it’s getting older. Solidifying into my own quirks. Maybe age is an exponential curve: you slough off the unnecessary habits and bits and pieces of your youth, and the resulting freed-up resources get channeled more deeply into the remaining bits of who you are.
In case you couldn’t tell, this is a multiple-cups-of-coffee kind of morning. I’m hazy; it was a very late night. Speaking of getting older, I’ve ratcheted back my coffee consumption (the one habit I truly believed I’d never want/need to break) to just two cups, most mornings. From a daily whole pot habit, this is a big thing. I’ve even gone entirely without coffee some mornings, drinking nothing but Irish Breakfast tea. Although it’s a toss-up as to which is really a bigger kick, the blackest of black teas or black coffee!
When I first started blogging, I was semi-muzzled about pieces of my life. WB, the exH: they were cryptic notes and character references in a blur of words and attitude. That was my choice; I was trying to tell my stories in a vacuum. I’ve learned, since, that’s pretty impossible to do. Context, especially in writing, is everything. These days, there’s practically nothing to say about WB, so that recurring subject has gone to whatever layer of the ether old stories retire. Rhett’s still around; he doesn’t blog anymore, being much too busy keeping our lives together in some kind of forward trajectory. Every so often, something will happen that makes him laugh and say, “It’s too bad I don’t blog anymore!” Those moments always give me a little nostalgic stab in the side. I could write them, I guess, but our voices are so different that I don’t think I could do them justice. I’m not allowed to write about the exH anymore. That’s okay, too. It’s like I’ve been forced to move on, beyond those daily conflicts of a post-divorce life. Maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe it wasn’t fair, but you know, it is what it is. Sometimes you take these abrupt left turns in life. And then the last of the old cast of characters, the ex-best-friend, the Florida spin-off. All gone, all part of another life now.
Sometimes it seems like my early adulthood was defined not so much by my own choices, but by the conflicts, trials, and tribulations between me and these other players. Like I was somehow cast as a supporting actress in my own screenplay. What an odd feeling, being an almost-spectator in one’s own life.
Writing, these past few mornings, with my coffee and my NPR and my dog sleeping next to/under my feet, has been a little like it was when I first moved back home. Familiar and completely different and a little strobe-effect-ish.
Online society is such a fast-forward, Darwinian process. The groups I belonged to, the people I associated with, the writers I checked out daily, so many of them are gone by the wayside. A lot of them seemed to just outgrow their pages. We aren’t Gen Y or millenials, who can’t imagine moving through a world without an online persona. Then, too, I’ve come to grips with a lot of the issues that kept me digging and looking for context of my own when I first started. I came to peace with my own identity in these pages. I learned more about myself through the lens of others, here, than I ever expected to. (Which reminds me, I need to validate and update allofthe bookmarks.)
This blog, now, is like the house I grew up in. It’s oddly bigger than I remembered, but there are hidden nooks and crannies that I don’t remember seeing or using as a kid. Hallways that connect differently than what I thought. Windows that are bigger, doorways that aren’t.
What a crazy world, where four years is an almost complete turnover of people and places and things.
It leaves me wondering what I possibly have left to write about, even as I’m drawn to the keyboard again today.
Maybe writing has always been my peephole out of the shell I inhabit so comfortably in my daily life. Maybe I was so connected to the world around me before because I wanted something to write about. And nothing happens in a vacuum.
Maybe I really just didn’t get enough sleep last night, and the coffee isn’t cutting through the haze yet. Who knows?