And the sky is gray.
It doesn’t take a keen artistic eye, or a love for 1960s pop ballads, to recognize signs in the heavens, or atmospheric conditions at the end of a November on the east coast. It’s not cold, it’s bleak. The sun rises almost two hours after I wake up, it sets in what feels like early afternoon, and I realize now what I must’ve sounded like when I still lived in California, and the morning cold was chased away by an afternoon Santa Ana blowing 40-plus miles an hour at 90-plus degrees, and my 60 years in the same place mind would think,
“I feel a chill in the air”.
And in my right this minute mind’s eye, I am staring at myself, and thinking,
“You’re an idiot”.
And I’m right.
I hope that, wherever you are as I write this, you are okay with how you’re talking to yourself. And by the way, before I get too much further into this, let me say that, I believe accuracy is a form kindness. I also believe that kindness is a good way to approach things, in the same way that a wall that needs paint needs a paintbrush, not a sledgehammer. That said, when painting, sometimes a wall needs a paint roller, not a fine-bristle edge brush.
And sometimes, it’s okay to be harsh with you, with words or names that we wouldn’t use on strangers. Just so, there are moments when, in self-talk, I call myself by the name that appears on my birth certificate, William. There are other moments, also in self-talk, when I call myself one of a multitude of kinder nicknames, given by me, to me, over years and years of getting to know myself, each nickname befitting whichever subtly-nuanced moment I am experiencing at the time.
And finally, there are moments when, in the most intimate of self-talk, I call myself names that I might never use on someone I loved, because it could be taken as harsh or hurting. Or on someone young, because their tender psyche is still in development, and terse descriptives would likely become imprinted upon them in a way that would injure, and cause them to limp through life, not run freely, as they should.
But I am no longer young, and I am no longer tender. Not in the sense that I am still a psyche in development, or someone who may, with his own words, say something that others have used, or have not already used, in anger, on myself.
Now I use these words on myself, with consent, and in full understanding of how they might sound in the ears of another, who might not understand that the years it took me to unlearn the hurt in these words from my self-talk vocabulary, have also taken the sting from them, because the power for me is not in these words.
The power is in my breaking the grip these words once had over me. In intimate words that once might have swung like a sledgehammer, with angry eyes and a clenched jaw, but now are as soft as a paintbrush, wet with colors that feel like love, accompanied by a smile, a shake of the head, a roll of the eyes.
Talk to you tomorrow.