Maintaining this blog is a lot like walking on a tightrope. First of all, there’s the weight of the entire self hanging on a balance, literally, like it always does. Then there’s the tiny slither of string, that which keeps most of us away from the ground, up in the air. I’d posit calling it “hope” but then again that may be limiting for hope is hardly just a piece of string which we traverse. –Walking on a tightrope is both tense and intense. You are at once electrified by the height but also cautioned against succumbing to it. So you walk–carefully, slowly, surely–onward to the other side which is never in sight until you’re actually there.
Then there are the spectators. You have little control over them because by the time they find you, you’re already walking the rope. Most of them are kind, kindred spirits who sit a while and occasionally cheer you on–they’re there when you slide toward the center of the rope–life having distributed its weight evenly on both sides causing you to wonder whether or not it may be best to just jump off on the safety net and let this project go. I love these people. They stay to chat offering no advice, no judgement–just quiet company. Sometimes they whisper to the air and from where I am walking I hear tiny voices that say, “I’m on a tightrope too. There just aren’t that many spectators.”
Then there are the opinionated gawkers who stare as much as they jeer. They question everything down to the letter observing that this space is public but not respecting my place in it. They have an opinion about my having an opinion–as if they knew me well enough to judge. Our words, no matter how descriptive, never quite sum us up but I suppose if you had judgment in mind even before you crept into this, you wouldn’t be astute enough to understand. So these spectators start making bets, wondering how long I can stand to walk this line, waiting for either my spirit or the rope to give in. They wait for the fall because to them life is entertainment and it’s especially exciting when others fall for them to see. They’ll have something to recall at lousy dinners. The food might be good but it’ll no doubt be expensive and you’ll have lost your appetite listening to their vile jokes–the poison that ages them, weakens them and gives them terminal diseases. Yet life retorts ironically and doesn’t claim them–because they too ought to live, lifelessly. You’ll meet them often at parties, socials–kissing you just out of necessity or maybe opportunity? You’ll recognize them by the dullness of their eyes, the emergence of veins so green and poisoned with viciousness that you’ll just have to laugh–life can be so cruel and yet so fair. You’ll know them and no matter how nice they are to you, you’ll know that they lurk not just in reality but also in this online space. They’re the statistic that often can’t be accounted for because, like most of their kind, they lack spines to tell you outright what they think. They would rather ask your friends, worry your parents, disrupt your life.
Somewhere up there I lost my fidelity to the image of the lady walking the tightrope. Whoops! The digression is on account of All Soul’s Day–which reminds me that there’s little time to share with the living but also that sometimes horrid individuals just can’t get to the grave any sooner. Horrors aside, I feel I need to state a few things to set the record straight. Since the Varsitarian piece emerged I’ve been getting asked if my family reads what I have to say. Others don’t even ask anymore but immediately leap to conclusions. I have no issues about that but I do feel annoyed when their baseless claims spark fires where there are barely any embers. They just do this to hurt others but they can’t be blamed for what they are, right?
So, for the record, unlike those readers of mine who keep lots of skeletons in their closets, I have to state that I bare mine and leave them out to dry because of one thing and one thing only: integrity. When I agonized in the past about what it meant to write and do so with a clear voice, I resolved that I could only do it if I were to tell the truth and tell it well. This meant foregoing privacy options because if I had the veil of anonymity and cowardice to hide behind–my stories would feel less real. Less like life and more like fantasy, which most people, understandably, would prefer. But see, I am not most people and I would not take such offense over a stupid comment if it had just been shared privately among friends or told directly to me. That takes balls. That I can respect. But when the comment is hurled at someone I love, whom I have been honest with all of my life, as if to insinuate that I haven’t been, well, I don’t know how to feel beyond seeing red and having a hearty laugh at the expense of the unfortunate, spineless few.
I’m also hurting because I know their intentions aren’t pure. But I’ll write anyway. I find purpose in writing because it’s only here–in this space I’ve created–that I come to terms with my demons and walk others through the motions. It’s transparent, accountable, responsible. “Why can’t I do that privately?” I’m asked. I can and I do at times when I’m too lazy to type–but really, why is this any of your business, right? Stop clogging my feed, stop reading what I have to say–most of all, do not put words in my mouth because they hurt those I love and when you hurt them, all I think about are sharp letters I want to hurl at you until you are no more. I want to inflict paper-cuts that you don’t feel at first but know by the intensity of the pain they transmit.
This has just been a writing exercise on anger. I now return to walking the line. What I haven’t told you is that when you’re high enough anyway and your feet find stable footing, spectators are the least of your concern. I always feel too giddy, too alive at this height and over the thrill–and that, my friends, is why I’ll never stop writing even when you stop reading.