Higher ground

My stomach hurts in the same way it did in third grade when I forgot to do my homework and got saddled with a week’s worth of after-school detention.

I never should have been punished for something I had little control over and, yet, I felt shame.

Yesterday should have been a good day. I screened my video for Nintendo. And did a Q&A afterwards. It went really well. I should have felt like I was floating on air. But instead I felt icky. “Icky” because it is such a primal feeling that I can’t dress it up in fancy words or metaphors. I couldn’t name the feeling though. I couldn’t ground it in experience. I just felt overexposed as I looked at the blog numbers and saw how many people came here to look around.

The video and its message are about overcoming obstacles. It’s inherently a message of positivity. But if that is what people are going to expect from me all the time, it’s impossible for me to deliver. My positivity is a natural outcropping of soul searching. I can only get to higher ground if I examine all of the feelings. I do that here and on Instagram in a more veiled way and Facebook of course.

I just can’t be honest in front of an audience I feel will come for the profound breakthroughs and none of the breakdowns.

So what did I do last night? How did I deal with my overexposure? My skin tingling with AM radio waves of anxiety whose signal strengthened after nightfall? I tried to prove to myself that I don’t have to care about anybody. Maybe if I don’t care enough, if I shut down the vulnerability and honesty, I don’t have to feel anything at all.

This is what disposable guys have been about for me in the past. Only they were human beings if I really think about it. And I might not have treated them as such. I might have used them the way others have used me and maybe even a little more because I knew better and they didn’t.

Talk about forces of creation and destruction in one go. I can build people up and tear them down. I don’t recognize how easily. Not even after it’s been told to me so many times it’s become cliche. Oppositional forces that feel like whiplash to others.

Whatever this new phase of my life is, I have to settle into it. That tingly anxiety will eventually stretch my skin to incorporate the new and, in a year, I’ll look back and count the tiger stripes I’ve accumulated. But I can’t take the havoc with me into the future. I have to integrate my new level of responsibility to myself and others in a way that is kind to everyone. Vulnerable enough that I can access the marrow, not so vulnerable that vultures pick at my opened entrails.

And with the boys, ever a bit of sweetness. I’m losing the vintage bitterness as I age, but the complexity that has grown inside this vessel can be too forward. I need to temper it so as to remain palatable.

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