Write in someone else’s voice
Write a confession
Write about fear
Hello again, Dan, hello. Yes, you recognize this voice, don’t you. I can tell by your moaning. Yeah, it’s me – your old friend – the fear of growing old alone, loveless. But we both know I’m more than just a fear; I’m the truth. All that’s left is for you to accept me. Why fight the truth, Dan?
Why fight me when I’m what you’ve always wanted? You’ve had any number of chances to go the other way. You’ve had many relationships which were working. You’ve come so close to tying the knot. Yet always, in the end, you let her slip through your fingers, didn’t you? Just didn’t hold on.
Remember the ones you’ve loved and who wanted to love you forever? Did that combination make you jealous because you wanted to love yourself forever instead? You do love yourself, don’t you Dan? Or do you? It takes genuine love of self to enable true love of another. Maybe you don’t think you’re worthy of another’s love. And maybe you are right – maybe you’re not worthy.
Why does the line from that country song reverberate so strongly with you? You know the one I mean. Where the song is from the perspective of a bitter, lonesome old man, and he says triumphantly, “There’s no one here to bother me!” That’s it, isn’t it Dan? You just can’t be bothered to love anyone as they deserve to be loved? And you don’t like to be bothered. You need serious me-time. You’re selfish with your time and energy. You’re just selfish, that’s all. So what? Most people are.
Quit your moaning, Dan. Man up. Accept the fact that you are going to grow old alone. Take comfort, if you must, in your memories of love. You won’t be making any more of them. Instead, you’ll be listening to that country song on repeat. “There’s no one here to… There’s no one here to… There’s no one here to…”
Pick a fight
Now listen here, fear. I know you well enough. I’ve known you a long while, and you always sing the same song. You say you’re the truth. You say you’re inevitable. You say it’s my own fault. You say I’ve missed my chance. You say I’m selfish and need too much me-time. You say I love myself too much, and, in the same breath, you say I don’t love myself enough.
Isn’t that just like you, to try and have it both ways? Make up your mind there, fear. But you won’t. You can’t. Because all you can do is roil and roar, spitting out whatever seems to hurt me, whatever seems to work in confusing my mind, dimming my light, dampening my spirits. Your operations are predictable and petty. I see right through you. And I see the truth.
It is obvious to me that the reason I like that line so well, from the country song, is because I see what the bitter old man does not: that his reaction is the epitome of ‘sour grapes’ thinking. I love the dramatic irony involved. It tickles me. And it makes me think of knowing better. Which I do. You’ll never catch me thinking I’m better off totally alone forever. I know that what I want in the long run is companionship, and I know I am worthy of that, that I can and do reciprocate love and affection.
Hell, I even love you, my dear fear, for showing me what I want. And for making me stand up and declare it. I love you to death, old friend, because as I love you, you diminish. Look how inconsequential you’ve grown! You do your best to loom large and loud and all-consuming as a storm filling my life, and you wind up cute. A cute miniature thundercloud, flashing mini-lightning and booming mini-thunder over the palm of my hand. I close my fingers, stifle you, and you disperse.
The five writing suggestions in italics above come from the My 500 Words challenge. I’ve not felt terribly inspired by the prompts this past week, until this morning when I lined up the ones I’ve missed into a group and considered them as one. Combined, they inspired this piece, which is something of an eye-opener for me…
Amazing how writing can show us what we think and how we feel, when otherwise those thoughts and emotions might go unacknowledged, wouldn’t you say?