I had dinner with some “friends” on Tuesday. I love them dearly but in conversation they decided to tell me about myself. I wasn't offended but it did help me come to a few realizations.
I have a bubble in certain environments that I like to keep intact; it makes me feel safe. I told them about how uncomfortable I felt when my neighbor’s friend hit on me as I left my apartment. I was locking my door, my safe place, my room of my own. He passes behind me and turns to face me as I turn the key to lock up. I didn't want talk about what he said; I wanted to talk about how I felt. “That was creepy.” I said. “I suppose in a different setting I might entertain the idea or attempt to hold a conversation. But, but I was just trying to leave to the store and outside my door, to my apartment, my home… That made me feel unsafe. It’s weird ya know?” They laughed. “No we don’t know. Listen to her, most girls would smile and say ‘hey’ if that happened and she calls the guy creepy.” My friend said. I stayed silent.
I tried to tell them about a play I was reading for class. We were going to discuss Beckett on Wednesday and I was very excited. Theater is my heart and always will be. In therapy my counselor told me that it’s better to share exciting news with those that have the capacity to understand it. Sometimes a great day can shift if you share with the wrong person. I think that’s why I’m sharing with you. My class discussion on Endgame was a little lackluster. I was disappointed. At least I didn't have to listen to Sparknotes spout off his bullet point list. He told some outside of class that it wasn't necessary to read any of the material and he used Sparknotes to save time. That’s depressing.
Our conversation shifted. They started talking about setting me up on a blind date. I said nothing. It was a little strange to hear them defend their stand on the topic when I hadn't stated an opinion. It kind of felt like the point when you’re about to say something and people cut you off. They continue their one sided conversation answering unasked questions. I didn't know how to tell them that they were way off base. I said nothing. They were talking at me as if I had an answer or an excuse for all they had to say. I said nothing. “And before you say anything, we’re not trying to be mean, but you’re kind of a know-it-all.” Said one friend. The other added, “Yeah you are.” I smiled and nodded.
I audited a theater class on Wednesday morning. It was lovely to sit and watch. My old teacher was very sweet and inviting. I asked two of her students to read through a scene I’d been working on. It was interesting to watch. She told me that I was more than welcome to bring any of the material I’d written and have them perform it if I liked. At the end of class she asked if I could write a monologue for her class to perform in a flag. I’m not sure if that’s an actual theater term. A flag monologue, from my understanding, is the same monologue performed by different actors, one right after the other. I said yes. The idea of someone bringing my words to life astounds me. I was a little intimidated but mostly excited.
Later in my English class we had our brief discussion on Beckett. I said something and began with “I think…” My inner voice was screaming, why did you say ‘I think’ when you know?!?!?! Half my class turned back and looked at me with an audible gasp. You are kind of a know-it-all sometimes. I didn’t take notes because they were useless to me. It seemed like a horrible oversimplification of the awesomeness that is Samuel Beckett.
Last semester in my theater class we performed a monologue called “The Brilliant Speech” in a flag. I’m not sure of the writer. I woke up this morning with pieces of it echoing in my head and I started crying.
Don’t you think we slow ourselves down for other people? Haven’t you ever thought that? What if we never slowed ourselves, never stopped ourselves, allowed resistance? Could you imagine the light, the velocity we might… I want to be brilliant at at least one thing. Don’t you want that too? Don’t you think you could be? I want to be amazing…(The Brilliant Speech)
I’ve wasted years slowing myself down for others. I said I think when I knew. I really like me right now. I feel like a shitty person because I’m going to separate myself from these “friends” for a while. I enjoy the company of the new people I’ve met this semester. It’s fascinating what happens when you open yourself up to the world around you. You’ll meet resistance from some but be welcomed openly by so many others.
I don’t know you that well. We say hello, goodbye and make small talk on occasion but I find you very impressive. I genuinely hope you never slow yourself, stop yourself. Don’t allow resistance. You are brilliant. I’m pretty sure you know that but just in case. You are amazing.