Lately, anyone who can get me to finish what I’ve started has my full attention.
It might also be obvious—at least I hope it is—that I get joy from writing. Despite the fact that tucked inside that joy is a tag. Much like the grating kind that is often stitched into the neck of a shirt.
Okay. Side note – Why do they do that? I can’t be the only one who thinks it an unnecessary form of torture. No matter how painstaking my snips, I have inadvertently cut holes in 80% of my wardrobe while trying to remove every last pokey bit.
Unnecessary, perhaps. But clearly effective in capturing my attention.
And writing is that for me too. I never forget it’s there. It scratches at my skin. Claws at my neck. Breathes, I’m here and you will not be rid of me that easily. Writing is up in my face as boldly and relentlessly as that damn razor-threaded spikey tag. It won’t let me clean. Or organize. Or putter contently the way I used to.
It sticks to me while I attempt to be as satisfied as I once was, arranging a closet or making the beds. “You’re not thriving,” it hisses behind me. “None of this stuff will last.” Its tone is chiding, as it references my efforts to keep the house clean. The words, you are not making a difference, branding my neck red and raw. Leaving holes in what once was the solid fabric of my life.
So yes, writing itself is a distraction for me. It even makes reading tough. I start a book and can only think, you should be trying to write. Look at this author. They did it. Why can’t you?
I have a lot of ¼ (not even ½) read books on my shelves because of this. And I know this is wrong. It is the opposite of what an aspiring writer should do. If you want to be kickass, one of the most important things you should be doing, besides writing, is reading. Lots.
Thankfully being unable to finish them for the last year or so hasn’t squelched my enthusiasm for buying books.
A short while ago, I picked up Not That Kind of Girl. Purchased in a University bookstore, no less. Which now makes me feel kinda kindred with the author. Like, I “got” her before I even read the book.
And yes. I did read it. Cover to cover.
It’s a compilation of essays. Journal entries. Perfected blog posts. Micro stories. (She may cringe at those last three depictions) And in them, Lena Dunham chronicles the notable times and moments in her life to date.
Entertaining. Painful. Hilarious. Tragic. Raw. Moments.
She masterfully pegs subjects to the line most of us tend to keep buried at the bottom of the pile. With a hilarity that can only be understood as, broken but mending.
Things like, an aggressive sexual encounter in university. One she tried to laugh off initially, but later, had to admit was pretty much a rape. You don’t usually, after all, cry regularly over an encounter that is not.
She talks about drugs. Prescription. Illegal. And her use of both. Her family. Growing up. Relationships. Interactions. STD’s. Sexuality. And sexual orientation.
Disorders. Eating. Mental. Personality. And physical. Her weight. Her fame. And her low self-esteem. Despite the fact that she has achieved massive success making use of all of these.
I know there are a lot of people who will wonder why anyone would ever need or want to share such delicate thoughts. To tell the world they are imperfect. That their life to date has been far from the Shangri-La it may have seemed. “Air dirty laundry,” so to speak.
But, even though I sprout from a tight-lipped culture, I do not find myself wondering.
Not one of us will get out of here alive, so why be a façade? What’s the point? Like Lena, I believe there’s a bigger picture to be disclosed. We’re not here to impress. To come across like we’re living “the dream” day after day.
Positivity is a gift for sure. To ourselves. And to our circle. But so is sharing what’s real.
When a life ends, we scramble for answers. We tend to ask, what was it all for? And if the only answer we come up with is, to create the illusion that life was seamless, well, that’s a sad injustice to those that struggled, isn’t it?
They were more than that. No matter what it was, good or bad, they had something to teach.
Lena Dunham is the itchy tag of her generation. She refuses to be cut out and forgotten. She leaves a hole. Retaliates the smokescreen.
That’s why she wrote this book.
So we don’t feel alone. So we know someone else out there feels like we do. So we can see that there’s “crazy” in us all. And that it’s okay.
And, that it’s also not all that crazy.
That we’ll be alright. Somehow. That mistakes are standard. That it’s fine to make them. To be where we are.
And to stay there until we’re ready to move on.
That’s why we’re living. That’s why we connect. That’s why we ask what it was all for.
Lena Dunham is letting us in. She’s just not waiting until she’s gone.
I appreciate that.