Monday, February 05, 2007

Dear Friend

Hello friend. Come in, have a seat. Let me take your coat, pour you a cup of coffee. Or would you prefer tea? It's still a bit early for a glass of wine but come back later and I'll open a nice bottle for us to share. Until then can I tempt you with a piece of blueberry lemon bread? It's homemade, I made it just for you. I hope you like it. I really do.

What's that? Thank you, that's very nice of you to say. I'll keep your compliments tucked away in that special place reserved for kind words and sentiments, the place I visit when I need a boost. What I won't tell you is that I spent the entire day before cleaning up the joint, vacuuming the pet hair, clearing away the cobwebs. I wiped away all the dirt and grime for you. Well, not all for you. I welcome the opportunity to gussy up for others, because if left to my own devices I'd let everything go to pot. No, it's no way to live, but it gets me by. For now. But let's not dwell on unpleasant things. Let's keep it light. Breezy. Happy. I do love to laugh, I hope you do too.

Can I tell you a joke? Let me tell you a story and I'll pepper it with quips and one-liners. Yes, sometimes I'll go there, teetering on the edge of that dark place, but I always come back. But I'll make your head snap. You might wonder why I got so serious all of a sudden. Sitting in front of me, I'll make you squirm. I'll make you uncomfortable. Let's go back to being silly. Yes, silly is easy. Keep it easy, light.

Dark is easy too, I'm afraid. Dark is very easy for me. But I've learned to keep it tucked away. No one likes to be reminded of the darkness. No one wants to think about that cloud that hangs above our heads or peaks from behind the open doorway. I try to remove its dark, pointy fingers from my shoulder. Sometimes I give in to it, the darkness, it's easier that way. I get worn down. I get very tired. I get very raw from its chafing grasp. I try to keep it under control. For you, my friend, for you and for my family I try to keep it under control.

Can I pour you some more coffee? Let me warm it up for you. Let me feed you. I'll jump through hoops, do a less than perfect cartwheel, a song and dance perhaps. All for you. Help me keep up this appearance. I'll feed off of your joy. If I make you laugh that will sustain me for awhile.

Have you met my child. She's beautiful, no? I never knew how easy it would be to hide behind her. I never knew how much I wanted to hide until I had her. Let's talk about her. About your child. Yes, let's talk about them. Let's deflect the attention from me, onto her, onto them, onto you. So, tell me about yourself. Can I take a peek into your inner workings? Can I see your vulnerability? It makes me strong.

It's time to go. I do hope you enjoyed your visit with me. I enjoyed having you, I really did. Now tell me, did I fool you? Did I convince you that I can keep it together. Once we get more comfortable I'll let you in on my secrets and I hope you'll let me in on yours. But not all of them. No. We must keep some things hidden. It's better for our relationship to be that way. If I believe that you're strong, even if you're not, and if you believe that I am too. I'll let you cry on my shoulder, it will make me feel stronger. Please don't expect me to cry on yours. I have strong shoulders and a weak heart. Let's not go there. Okay?

Please come again. If you do then I will know that I have fooled you. You'll like me, if you don't get to know me. If you do get to know me, the real me, I'll know you're a special person. And I won't have to obsessively clean up before you come. I'll let you see the ugly bits. But next time, you bring the wine.

55 comments:

Deanna (Domestic Chicky) said...

Thank you for the glimpse...and I will bring the wine anytime. This is a very memorable, and very relatable post for me...

Mrs. Schmitty said...

All I can say is WOW, how did you get in my head?

Dana said...

I'd love that wine, now, please. People are being such meanies at work and I'm too nice to yell at them. So I figure, I'll just come by your house at lunch and we'll drink away our troubles.

I'm really not a heavy drinker, I just look like one today.

:)

T. said...

Mrs Chicky, you just summed up, ever so elegantly, not only how I feel when people come to my home but to all the people in the blog world who stumble onto my site.

I worry that if I'm not quick and clever and charming and funny that I will end up driving everybody away with the darkness that hangs over my like my own personal storm cloud.

And using your kiddy as a deflection...Hello! Queen of that trick. And when that kid suddenly is gone and there is no more blanket to hide behind...it is the most vulnerable feeling in the world.

I got your back. And the good wine too.

Julie Pippert said...

I like wine, tea, frou-frou-coffee, blueberry lemon bread, honest cozes with friends, and dark and twisty never scares me a bit. It's like a lovely engraved invitation to be real. Never you mind my toe dipping in now and again, it's just a little testy habit of mine to see if lemons bother a person (it isn't always lemonade in my world). I'll talk often about my children,but I'll also often sneak in little one-liners to show how they are more frequently on top of me rather than the other way around. This is another test. You will either look at me as if I am CPS-fodder or you will sigh in relief and confess the same.

Go on, go serious. No worries.

You prefer red or white? Dry or sweet?

(P.S. I like company for cleaning motivation too.)

Rock the Cradle said...

Oh yes. Hell yes. A thousand times yes.

This is part of my life, too.

Come on over. I promise not to clean.

For wine, a nice Chianti, perhaps?

Avalon said...

Mrs C. ~~~ how do you know me so well? You have described me and my inner demons to perfection. Stunning.

cooler*doula said...

Ah.

Is there a Share the Love award for Searing Honesty?

I'll raise a glass, or two, to sharing the ugly stuff in less-than-perfect surrounds. May we ALL find several someones to do this with.

a

Tessa said...

The universal way of women Mrs. C. Many of us live there. Thanks for reminding us of that. Your dark, it doesn't scare me off... mine... yeah... a lil more frightening for me. :) I got some wine for you. A good German Wine, Sweet and a lil dry with a spicy subset of flavors. :) Gimme a hollar.

ewe are here said...

I completely understand the overwhelming desire to pretend to the outside world that nothing is wrong, all is well, nothing bad ever happens, I never need to ask for help, but you can by the way, look how perfectly happy I am.....

I do this a lot, too. So do a lot of people. But once in a while, once in a while, it feels good to share that all is not perfect... and I try to... because you find that others do understand. And not only that,they're relieved, because they've been there, too.

Hang in there.

Mrs. Chicken said...

Beautiful. Did you join me in the night, when I remember the hospital and when I worry about my marriage and when I fret that I am often ill for no reason I can discern?

This was so brave to write. I'm marking it for my March Perfect Post award ...

Chris said...

OMG...I could be all of you.
I can no longer hide behind the "kidlets" they are all "grown" up!Oh, and wine? Yes, I'll have some and no need to clean for me. This would definately qualify for a Perfect Post! Awesome piece of writing.

Chris said...

OMG...I could be all of you.
I can no longer hide behind the "kidlets" they are all "grown" up!Oh, and wine? Yes, I'll have some and no need to clean for me. This would definately qualify for a Perfect Post! Awesome piece of writing.

Lisa said...

LOVE the new haircut. So very cute and love the color too.

Also, you hit on something painful here. I will just say that I can relate.

Mamma said...

I used to call that front I put on "wearing my red dress." It's tiring to do that all the time.

Honestly though, if everything is so perfect with a person I don't really want to hang out with them. I don't trust it nor can I take the pressure.

Share yourself any time. All of it. It's so much more interesting.

SJ said...

Fantasitc post. I relate all to much. TOOO MUCH.

kfk said...

Uh, yeah, that was IT perfectly and precisely.

BethGo said...

This is really very good.

PunditMom said...

I never knew, either, how much I really wanted to hide, and how easy it could be, until R. came along. SOOO much easier to talk about her school, activities, etc., rather than anything real -- my worry is that I'm boring and that if I let people see the real me, they'll stop coming for the tea or the wine, even if it's a areall good bottle.

Thanks for this and for helping us feel it's OK to be afraid.

carrie said...

Oh, the best friendships are the ones where we can hang out in our pyjamas, with a messy house and not care if our kids run around with peanut butter all over their faces, and cry over our problems, aren't they?

Don't be afraid to be yourself.

Carrie

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

I don't usually ever let anyone see the ugly bits. That's why I have one real-life old friend. Plus my poor husband.

julia said...

It's so hard to come out from behind that facade we create, but I love it when people do. This was a great post. You really capture how so many people actually feel. I'm like this a lot, although lately, I've been too friggin' tired to hide behind anything and I've kind of been letting it all hang out for the world to see. I sometimes wonder who I've chased off.

PeanutButtersMum said...

Wow. I was going to say, "I could have written that myself," but apparently that's already been said! I enjoyed reading it!

Liam's Mom - Gina said...

I really feel like we connected. Thanks for the talk. Genius how you did that!

lildb said...

you're clever *and* funny *and* real.

let's run away together and be dark and sloppy. and bring the kids. and the husbands. and the computers, and the dogs, and the wine, and -- oh, holy hell. never mind about running away. let's just sit right here in our two-days-running jammies and tell each other stories on our laptops, and feel the love, even though it's being sent through a series of tubes, over many miles.

love.

dodo said...

I'll bring wine, coffee, juice and a mountain of muffins

Vikki said...

Humor has always been my best defense. Recently, I realized that laughing doesn't mean I'm really dealing with things. Damn...I hate insight.

Mimi said...

What a brave post! As I read through it and the comments, I felt uplifted. "I'm not alone."

Kristin said...

Thanks for inviting me in... it helps to know that we're not alone...

Beth said...

Amazing post. Just perfectly well written and well said. Thank you for making us all feel more normal.

nikki said...

wow, just wow. i wish i had something deeper to say, but i'm kind of speechless. it's nice to know i'm not alone as i thought i was.

Ericka said...

hit that nail on the head. i baked cookies, and i have wine. and i'll watch and smile while you reflect light all over the place. and i'll still be there when the shadows come out to play. it's okay. i baked a double batch. we'll have plenty.

Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said...

See? The antisocial route has its advantages - it's less tiring. And you can wear sweats. All.the.time.
:-)

jen said...

i like you. bumps and all.

you are safe here. we are safe here.

Her Bad Mother said...

I'll bring plenty of wine, and cake, and my vulnerabilities, all wrapped up in sly jokes and big words. We'll nod at each other's strength. But we'll know.

Pattie said...

You know, this was a wonderful post Mrs C.
Mainly because I think most of us, myself included, put on our social masks to others. I can relate so much to this.
But, I'll tell you what....open a bottle of wine for me, and I'll tell you whatever you want to know. Ugly truths and all!

binkytown said...

Mrs Chicky- thats not you is it?

Al B Sure.. Im tittering over here.

Jennifer said...

Wow.

Wow.

mo-wo said...

Like how many perfect posts are you after anyway.

Speechless. Blog. busted. wide-open.

manifique on the keyboard, baby.

Kristen said...

I agree- totally in my head as well. and the part about hiding behind your daughter? me to a T and I didn't realize that's what I was doing until I just read that. Thanks for opening my eyes a little as to why I haven't formed a whole lot of meaningful friendships down here yet!

Rachel Briggs said...

I can also relate to this - I just moved house, made some new friends - it's fascinating. How women posture and pose, and then slowly start to let the "real" bits show. How wonderful that is, when that happens, and suddenly you can turn up in your "comfy" jeans and not care if the housework needs doing...

Lillithmother said...

Thank you...

Thank you for being vulnerable for us other mothers/women/writers...

Thank you for being honest about not being honest in case we don't like your honesty. Did I say that ok? ;-)

If it's ok to you, I'd like to link this post...and share it with others.

Lil

Lillithmother said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kara said...

you.are.amazing.

kim said...

I think youre pretty awesome ... and you sure touched something in everyone with this post ..
I too would rather be the funny, caring one everyone comes to too, we hide so much of ourselves so well *sigh*

soleclaw said...

Bravo. Your use of words is perfect. I hide behind my little one all too well. I realized it when I read this post. I wish I dressed as well as my daughter...though it comes down to more than dress. I wish I could make myself a fine representative of what I want her to be, instead of the other way around. This, I fear, is something I'm going to have to work on, and fast.

Crunchy Carpets said...

We can all get together and laugh and chuckle and ache to say what is really going on our hearts.

Mommy off the Record said...

Wow. Loved reading this.

Cate said...

This was great. And sad. And really close to home.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Just found you through Bub & Pie. You are amazing and real. I think that I really needed to read this to remind me that I am not the only one. I needed to be reminded that if I take a chance and reach out, I will find that there are other women like me out there - not perfect, scarred and afraid - if we all let down our masks and help each other be real, then maybe one day it won't be so hard.

Kimberly said...

Wonderful, very true post. Loved it.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I missed this when you first posted. It's incredible and amazing. You can come over anytime, I'll have lots of wine, and I won't clean up beforehand -- you can see the real me, dust bunnies and laundry piles nonwithstanding.

Meena said...

Oh, that was beautiful Ms. Chicky. Really. Well deserved perfect post!!!

Very, very much relate.

Lawyer Mama said...

Beautiful post, Mrs. Chicky. I'm so sorry I missed it the first time around.

You've said exactly what I feel about my blog (or even my real life), but much more elequently than I ever could. Damn you! It is nice to know there are so many of us out there. What a wonderful perfect post.

Felicia said...

Definitely a Perfect Post...I remember the days of feeling like this.
Now I just invite people into the mayhem and suck up their displeasure. If they aren't displeased, they can come back....