Like I said in last week’s post, a lot has been happening.
I’ve been looking for a way into it all so that I can share it with you … and it’s just not a topic for one post.
It’s going to be a longer project.
One seemingly small event can trigger so much more.
I was happily going along, scheduling video interviews and planning blog posts … when I was hit with a severe repetitive stress injury (RSI) in my writing hand.
It hurt to use my computer mouse. It hurt to use my laptop keyboard. It hurt when I slept, enough to wake me up in the middle of the night.
So I put the brakes on all work and all plans that required a computer.
And then I rested.
Strange and unexpected things can happen in the mind of one inclined to experience S.A.D. in February, never mind the added ‘bonus’ of forced rest from the very thing that offers connection and distraction during such dark days.
I started thinking … a lot!
Do you ever struggle to unpack the massive amount of “stuff” in your head?
All that thinking and reading has left me with so much to share that I can’t find a way to get the words out.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been searching for a way, hoping that it would all coalesce.
I wrote a sentence … I deleted a sentence.
So, I gave up the struggle and out came the beginnings of an allegory …
“The Rebel – Part I”
She had no choice.
Her parents packed up the house and moved, and she had to travel their journey. All that was familiar was gone.
The friends she left behind were still on Facebook and Tumblr, and there was always texting. God only knows how kids survived moving before the Internet, she thought to herself. She shivered.
Trouble was, in spite of her efforts, she couldn’t shake the darkness. Sharing characters on a screen just wasn’t enough.
She was lonely.
Add to that, her new school was everything her old one wasn’t. She struggled to find her way around foreign cliques with social codes she couldn’t break. After her first month, panic set in and she couldn’t breathe. What could she do? How was she ever going to survive?
She took a deep breath and started to strategize. She watched. She listened.
And then she made her first choice. Out of all the nooks and crannies in that monster of a campus, she chose her place — the one from which she would continue to learn and into which she hoped to ingratiate herself, plant her roots, blend, and finally belong.
The people there seemed happy enough, and she wanted to be happy with them.
At first, she stood at the edges, watching and listening with deeper focus and intent. They had a language and she practiced it, slowly at first. A word here, a word there … discovering what had impact and what caught people’s attention.
She slowly learned through trial and error, and those who lingered at the edges of the group took notice.
After a week of practice, she started to realized how easy it really was: she just had to make them believe she had something of value, something they wanted. It didn’t matter if it was real or true; they just had to believe she had it.
As the days went by, the circle that was once closed opened upon her approach.
She exchanged more words at the edges and people started to share. Some even reached out and touched her arm or her shoulder.
It felt good.
They taught her how to dress, how to talk and how to think. She no longer had to figure it out by herself.
Most importantly, they told her where to find it all and so, with credit card in hand, she went shopping.
Once she looked like them and sounded like them, she penetrated the circle ever deeper with ease. The edges lost relevance.
She didn’t stand out anymore.
She was no longer different.
It was such a relief.
That’s when the first cool guy took notice. He sidled up beside her and offered her a light. She took it, smiled, and looked down at her feet as she tried to keep her heart in her chest. He was so tall, so cute … and those blue eyes! Could he really like someone like her?
But he liked what he saw, and he was happy to give her what he had in exchange for what he wanted. He was her first ally from the inside.
He took her hand and guided her the rest of the way in and, when they got there, she dared to looked up and around her.
They stared back.
They all noted her presence, and a few of them nodded in acknowledgment. They were guarded. Yes, they were the ones with the power, but each of them knew that it was a fine balance. They didn’t talk about it or dwell on it; they just knew instinctively how to protect it.
Rules. They had lists and detailed how-tos, all painstakingly carved into their social map, and they had to be assured that this new girl would follow.
The thing is, it never crossed her mind to dismiss a single one of those rules. Why would it? She wanted to belong, and to succeed.
Until one day, she stopped wanting.
But, after months of following the map, she was lost without it.
That’s when her own journey began.
What was intended as a way into a standard blog post, emerged as “The Rebel”.
And then I started doubting. I woke up this morning and decided it wasn’t shareable.
That’s what I usually do with writing that’s different. I edit the life out of it, and then use it to springboard into something more “appropriate”—in this case, a blog post fitting all the standard rules for blog posts.
But I hit the “Publish” button instead.
Welcome to something new and, as yet, undefined.
I’ve never thrived under the rule of the status quo … when ever I’ve tried, it leads to my undoing.
There’s a time to learn how others do what they do, and then there’s a time to do what you do, your way.
To create. Not imitate.
I read a quote a couple of weeks ago that pretty much sums it up:
“When people say, ‘You really, really must’ do something, it means you don’t really have to. No one ever says, ‘You really, really must deliver the baby during labor.’ When it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said.” ~ Tina Fey, Bossypants
So the question is, what’s really true for you when it comes to blogging, writing, platform building, … this writing life?
Have you ever wanted to rebel against the ‘musts’, the ‘shoulds’, the lists and the ‘how-tos’?