Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's Locked Up in Your Head?

If it wasn't protecting some family's old mausoleum in the graveyard, I'd be looking for a way to pick it. Okay, so I wouldn't really do it, don't even have a clue how to do it, but I most certainly would wonder about it! Seriously, I wonder how long it's been since anyone pushed those doors back, sneezed at the mustiness inside, and greeted their ancestors' remains with a faint "hello"?
What parts of the life of a family remain hidden behind those doors? Are all the generations gone, leaving behind no one to care about whether or not that door can be opened? Are there children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who live too far away to even know that lock is frozen? Are there people who could try to unlock it but choose not to do it?
What is locked up behind those doors?

Pondering these locks and their rustiness, I make the leap to pondering all the things we lock up inside our heads, hoping the locks rust shut, hoping the concrete doors are too heavy to heave with our shoulders. Obviously, that sort of pondering could get very dark, very quickly... but that's not exactly where I'm going with this train of thought. I'm thinking in terms of the parts of us that could be good, except we're too afraid of them to let them come into the light of day.

How many times do we bar parts of ourselves from being seen by others? How many times do we close up our dreams and longings and aspirations so that no one else can see them? Is it because we are afraid we won't be able to live up to the potential we have in ourselves?

I think so.
I know so.

We don't have to tell each other about all of those potentials, but when we do, we often find success is not as improbable as we think. Amazingly, the people who know and love us are often able to see straight through our concrete doors, with no need to pick the lock. What we think we have secured so well is not as hidden as we'd like to believe.

It seems that with all this talk of "concrete," I should give you a concrete example of something locked up in my head, instead of dancing around abstracts, right? Well, I'm not so sure I can really do it. There are great potentials hidden in me, just like there are in you, that will never even peek through a crack in the door because I am scared to throw myself into life without a safety net. From what I have seen in other people, though, the better you are at throwing yourself into the abyss without worrying about where you'll land, the more you can achieve in life.

And because I know that is true, I tell you about one potential (and it's conjoined fear) that lurks in my head, waiting for me to get the courage to unlock it. It's about writing. Gaaaaaaaawd, I love words, always have and always will. I remember writing Composition 101 essays at the breakfast table in college (this was long before assignments were ever expected to be anything but handwritten). . . my comp class was an 8 or 8:30 a.m. one. The inspiration would hide from me all night, and then finally make a splendid leap onto the paper in the morning. Higher classes required longer papers and more preparation, of course, but it was basically the same story. Once I found the inspiration, the words flowed well. Nowadays, I write Facebook status lines, and sometimes they are eloquent little blurbs and descriptions (and sometimes not). I write short blog entries like this one. When the flow hits me, I love it! It's why I write again (and again and again and again) in hopes of finding it one more time. So, that's the potential.

Here's the fear: exactly what do you make of writing like that? how do I ever turn it into a book? is there anywhere to take it, when it's basically limited to short venues? there are tons of inspirational writers, why aspire to be one more? how do I ever make an essay into something more than an essay? is there any point to it?

And that's where I am on that particular monster lurking in my head. Funny thing is, at least one of you has seen it without having a key to the rusted lock! I am so grateful for that, and I intend to pass along the kindness as often as I can. Writing this is one way. At least I hope it speaks to someone somewhere along the line and encourages them to let us see what's locked up inside their head. Chances are, we've already seen it in you and can't wait for the opportunity to cheer you on toward your dreams!



TesoriTrovati said...

Hmmm....what is behind my concrete door? I think it is similar to yours. Words fascinate me. I was an English teacher in a former life. I don't have to think to put words together that move and motivate people. It is what I love to do. And to combine that with other loves of mine? Passion in the form of telling your unique story... that would be divine!

I think it is true. No matter how locked up tight we believe ourselves and our secret truths to be, there are always those who see right through our rust. Finding the key is something that you can do, with other's encouragement, but when you find it, watch out! For that is when the gates open and out will flow the most magical things.

Thank you for inspiring me.

Enjoy the day!

rosebud101 said...

Ang, you know I love your writing! It's not only what you say, it's how you say it. I'm so happy to see you writing again! You are an inspiration and a person who makes me think. Keep up the good work!

angelinabeadalina said...

Erin, you write beautifully, and it looks like your writing touches many people!
Mallory, you write beautifully, too, *and* your encouragement touches so many of us... and I thank you so much for that :)

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

What a COOL lock (the first one) I LOVE that photo... I have always loved your writing/story telling... your humor and good nature shines thru the written word. It is an ability I don't think I share, but I do try to write the stories that I hope some day my grand children and great grand children will enjoy and give them a window into who their great grandmother was and what she was like.... my grand mother was a journal keeper (I found that out last Christmas when my mother shared some of her journals with me)... I hope you have an actual paper journal... or print out these posts and save them in a notebook... some day your heirs will LOVE reading your words.

angelinabeadalina said...

Elaine, that is going to be a much treasured gift you are giving your grandchildren! I envy you having your grandmother's journal to enjoy. I'd love to have that peek into either of my grandmothers' lives.

Deb said...

What a fabulous post Ang! Your writing has always inspired me, & I have always adored how thought provoking it is - often causing me to take a look at myself in a different way.

I am so pleased that you have started to write again :)