Certain Dark Things

“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”  ~Pablo Neruda

I live in grand ol southern Georgia—complete with the debutantes and junior leaguers, the society women who talk with that low drawl and still smoke in the bathrooms…except now those bathrooms are in country clubs or bars on “girls night out” instead of school. Although I’m from Ohio, I’ve grown up down here and from the very beginning I knew I wasn’t like everyone else.

Sure. Everyone says that right? Well, maybe where you’re from or where you now live, there is diversity. Here…not so much. And so, my dark sense of humor and clumsy, eccentric ways, are not appreciated as much as they are tolerated. You see, being an “author” has its privileges. One of them…now that I’ve officially signed a book deal anyway…is that I’m sort of like a new accessory. Everyone wants an artist to take to social events or have over for dinner parties…or accompany them to fundraisers. Are you wondering where all of this is coming from yet?

For three years running I’ve sent a friend request to a girl I went to school with years ago. We were never close friends, but we were close enough and I wanted to see what she was up to. The first two times she didn’t accept, I figured it was a fluke. By the third time I knew she was ignoring me on purpose and she isn’t one of these people who only “friends” relatives or bosom buddies. About two weeks ago I log on…and low and behold, I have a friend request from her. *gasp* I can’t begin to tell you how badly I wanted to ignore it, but my therapist says I should work on my temper, so I accepted…actually, I’m kidding about the whole therapist thing…no one will have me as a patient. But, I digress…

The world in general has changed around me; everyone has an opinion now and feels empowered and qualified to give it to me; everyone is critical of my every move “because they care” and I get to hear about it, all the time; No one trusts me to know what I’m doing…yet no one will deny that its what has gotten me this far. It’s an interesting paradox. Let me clarify, it’s an irritating and obnoxious paradox. No, this isn’t about any one person, it’s about a great many, well meaning, persons. Why am I wasting a perfectly good blog post on it? Because it can, and likely will if your circumstances are even remotely like mine, happen to you. Would have rocked had someone warned me…

It’s a double edged sword. I have to interact with other people or the book will go nowhere. I have to face the critics and the pain in the ass folks who suddenly know me and the path that is marked for me, better than I do. It comes with good moments, like yesterday when a blessed soul “stumbled upon” this blog and posted it, along with my author page and my publisher’s website. And it comes with bad moments when I feel like all I hear is negativity from absolutely everyone I talk to, about anything and everything that has to do with my writing and my career.

 The truth is, nothing has changed and perhaps I thought it would. I had just as many naysayers before…they’re just different people now. Someone switched the pieces on my chess board, but I’m still playing the same game.

Relatives are discovering my dark side. I think most of them knew. Some of them will be in for a shock…some of them will be like most of the junior leaguers I know (no, not all of them–hush) and they’ll smile politely, hand over those coveted invites for the sheer ability to say  that they’ve done so, and then talk about me behind my back to others who would share their view. But, let’s be honest here, those of you who think that you can’t relate to me…what dark things are there in the quiet of your soul at the end of the day, when you’re lying in bed thinking back over your life? What unspeakable horrors have crossed your mind? We aren’t so different, you and I.

This is just more fuel for a fire that will mold me into a better writer, a better human being, and maybe even a better friend/lover/relative. Still, there are certain dark things that I’ve kept all to myself—saved aside as private consolation for days such as this…

The reason I chose this picture…for example…

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One response

  1. At this point, I think my biggest dark thing is self doubt. I keep telling myself I’m prepared for when my book is published to hear all the negativity that will go with it. (we’ll see how prepared when I get there though. I often think I’m prepared when I’m not really.) But like you, my relatives will see that dark side of me that none of them know about. If my husband ever reads it, then he’ll see that dark side of me which he doesn’t believe can exist. It’s nice for me now, because I’m talking to people who can understand. A year ago I couldn’t find anyone out there like me at all… people who smiled politely when I told them I was a writer/artist. You could see in thier eyes that they didn’t believe it. Now when I talk about my craft, finally I’m getting attention, because I’m putting myself out there in a way I never have before. My writing may not have gotten attention yet, my art is. For some reason, having that hard copy of a book which I’ve illustrated and holding it in my hand, showing it to others makes them believe. “Oh, you did that?” Yeah, I did, even though last year you called me a dreamer who’d never make it… We’ll I have 2 books illustrated, 2 more coming out this year, and possibly more on the plate. Within a few years, I maybe published… now who’s the dreamer?? I say, if you’re going to do, do it BIG! You’ve got tallent and passion J.S usually the bad comes with the good. Lots of people can’t see what others like you can see. Take the advice you need, don’t worry about the rest. (And to be honest, you’re a bigger person than me. If someone had done that to me with the friend request, I don’t know if I could have friended them… though admitably, that’s something we’ll all have to come to terms with eventually.)

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