Or: A number of surprising realizations and a typewriter.

Okay. Kind of left you trailing last time … let me catch you up.

If you will recall, I’m getting my stitches taken out (part one) by someone fabulously incompetent.

Or hilariously incompetent …

At least, that appears to be the opinion of my various symbolic allies and helper mice* that I have called on to help me stay grounded and centered.

*Not actually mice.

Because my allies and helper mice are falling apart. Hysterical laughter. Convulsions. Everyone is on the floor.

Even my most hard-core spiritual teacher who never laughs ever is totally snickering behind his hand. And his eyes are crinkling and he’s so completely about to lose it.

I ask what’s so funny, and that just makes them laugh even harder.

Apparently, I’m the funny part.

[What I have to explain here is that I don’t have the clearest reading on who my helper mice and allies are. My teacher is always there. Hiro is there a lot. My grandmother, sometimes.

There are ones that I recognize and ones that I don’t. And sometimes it’s just a big fog. So I’m just going to give them numbers so you know when someone new is speaking.]

Me: No, seriously. I get that this situation is completely absurd — I do, really — but why is it so funny for you guys?
Helper mouse #1: Giggling. You come up with the funniest things to happen to you! Every time! Every time the funny!
Me: No, I don’t. And don’t put this crap on me.
Helper mouse #2: Oh, honey! I’m sorry. She didn’t mean it like that. We’re not laughing at you.
Me: You’re not?
Helper mouse #1: No, of course not. It’s just … the drama. You love the drama. And you love it to be funny. And then you get these total characters around you.
Me: No, I don’t.
Helper mouse #3: Wiping tears away. It’s not you, exactly. It’s your writer self. The part of you who is a writer. You like to share the stuff that happens to you.

I think about this.

Writer Me.

Me: I’m confused, I guess. Are you saying that I exaggerate what happens to me?
Helper mouse #4: Oh, not at all. That’s kind of why it’s so funny!

Paroxysms of laughter from the helper mice. Question marks from me.

Helper mouse #2: What he means is that the funny part is that you don’t need to exaggerate. Your life is just filled with funny.
Helper mouse #3: And then you have this phenomenal auditory memory and you can record conversations verbatim … and Writer You just loves it.

All the helper mice nod in agreement. More question marks from me.

Helper mouse #3: I mean, look at her.

Everyone looks up. And then they laugh and laugh and laugh.

I look up too.

And there, a few feet above me, is Writer Me.

She’s tiny.

Like, Tinkerbell tiny.

Her hair is up in a messy bun held together by a pencil. And she’s typing furiously away at an old-fashioned typewriter and laughing her head off.

And that’s when the realizations started …

Some of them were really obvious. Some were really subtle.

Some were painful and some were sweet.

But they were coming fast and furious.**

**Which, admittedly, is my own fault because I’d been messing around with Shiva Nata the day before and that’s just kind of what happens.

Realization #1: I know that typewriter.

I know that typewriter.

That’s the typewriter that my friend who is dead gave me for my twenty-fifth birthday to remind me that I am a writer.

I have no idea where it is or what happened to it.

Realization #2: Tiny Writer Me is familiar too.

Of course.

She looks different than I’d imagined her, with her retro cat eye glasses and slim skirt.

But yeah, she’s me. And she’s the writer self that I pretend doesn’t exist.

Not that I haven’t thought about her. About what might have happened if I hadn’t moved to Israel at seventeen.

I spent years imagining this parallel life. While I was getting in screaming fights with drunks at various dive bars where I worked in south Tel Aviv. While I was teaching yoga in Berlin.

I’d imagine the me who stayed. Who committed to her writing. Who ended up in New York or Chicago. Who wrote pieces for the New Yorker and did odd little indie projects and collaborations.

And then I gave her up.

Realization #3: I’m completely wrong about Realization #2.

Uh uh.

I realize that this imaginary writer person I am always half-mourning does not exist … and that Writer Me is actually always wherever I am.

It’s like, I had always thought that Writer Me was my unfulfilled self.

The me-that-would-have-been. The grand, tragic story.

But it turns out that Writer Me is with me all the time — about two feet above my head, as it turns out — inventing hilarious things to write about.

And slapping her knee and guffawing, if you can imagine someone doing that in this totally dainty way.

Realization #4: My allies and helper mice deeply appreciate something about me that I am not even aware of.

I realize that they’re laughing with joy and merriment.

And now I know why they’re laughing.

It’s because to them it’s obvious that I want things to be funny.

In fact, they think that I intentionally (or subconsciously?) gravitate towards ridiculous situations because Writer Me enjoys them.

They’re amused and entertained by my marvelous, tumultuous, goofy-ass life. And they are here, in part, to help me enjoy it more. To appreciate it more.

Of course, if I ask them for more calm and grounding and quiet, they can do that too. But if I’m not asking? They’re pretty much just going to sit back and enjoy the show.

Because it’s basically the best situation comedy in the world.

Realization #5: Writer Me pushes me into bizarre situations so that I will be forced to write about them.

She knows that I avoid her. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to put up with me not writing.

In fact, I suddenly understand with perfect clarity that if I spend more time with Writer Me, she won’t have to invent such crazy scenarios to make me write about them.

It’s as though she’s almost forcing me to write.

And then she said that. To me!

“You know what your problem is? You don’t want to own me. You won’t even admit that I’m this huge part of you. You don’t even call yourself a writer.

You call it “blogging” and pretend it’s just this thing you do for your business. You hide from the world.

Well, guess what. I make sure your life is so interesting that you can’t not tell people about it. In words. That you write. That people read. So there.”

And then she stuck her tongue out at me.

And went back to typing furiously and snickering.


Realization #6: I don’t have to make everything so complicated all the time.

Because yeah …

Maybe things can be funny and sweet without always having to be so hard and so bitter.

Maybe I can let things happen with more ease.

Maybe Writer Me and I can work together on some projects.

Maybe she can help me keep writing and keep seeing the funny … but without it all having to be so ridiculously chaotic all the time.

And maybe there are more realizations that are going to clear stuff up around this and I don’t have to figure it all out right this second.

So I’ve been practicing asking for what I want to receive in the comments — if you feel like leaving one, you totally don’t have to, of course!

Here’s what I want:

  • Reactions. Reassurance. Things from your own life that this reminds you of. Realizations of your own if anything is coming up.
  • If you have a Writer You or a Dancer You or a Scientist You or whatever who shows up on occasion, I would love to know what they look like! Or sound like …

Here’s what I would rather not have:

  • Judgment/observations about how crazy I am. Or about how obvious and predictable this all is. Or, you know, casual backseat psychoanalysis.
  • Shoulds.

My commitment.
I am committed to giving time and thought to absorbing everything that people say, and I will interact with their ideas and with my own stuff as compassionately and honestly as is possible for me.

Thanks for doing this with me! I am totally hesitating over the publish button on this one, but what the hell.

The Fluent Self