Last night I spoke in front of 40 plus men and women. A friend asked me to speak at a book club he attends. He wanted me to share part of my life story. The best and worst part of this was the timing of the invitation. I had little time to get nervous, and little time to prepare. There was no time to fret or write and rewrite. No time to try out new humor or second-guess myself. I had twenty minutes from the time I received the plea, to the time I stood up to speak. I admitted that I was still nervous even on such short notice but I would have been remiss if I had denied myself the opportunity to humiliate, I mean humble, myself in sharing my story.
I warned them that I am ADD and I often found myself taking rabbit trails here and there, ending up in places I had never intended visiting. As I spoke, I realized that if I shared from my heart and tried to stay in some semblence chronological order, I would be fine. I looked at the crowd. Most of them were engaged. Some nodded fervently when they could relate. Some smiled. Some, well, some looked pained. I like to think they were relating to my pain rather than pained by the talk itself. The former is probably more truth than the latter.
I covered most of my story as it related to a particular experience of my life. I covered the loss I had experienced and the gifts as well. I told them how my life had changed and how most of the time I am grateful for that change. I was honest. I was real. I was trying to figure out how to wrap it up. I started to repeat myself. I said the same things different ways. And then it occured to me, there is no way to wrap this up because I’m still in the process of this story.
So often I end my blogs with a pretty bow but there was no pretty bow this time. I had to let it go. I had to stop right where I was and leave it at that. There was no clever way to end my story. No funny story to use as a closing. I simply said that every day is a gift and as long as I am open to receive it, I will continue to reap the benefits to living an honest life.
So forgive me for the times I write on this blog about things that are hard and then wrap them up with cheap words. I strive to write from my heart and sometimes I find an ending that fits. But sometimes I struggle to find the endings that fit so I create some less-than version of my story, which should simply be left in limbo. As I grow as a writer, I hope I will become more comfortable with the stories of my life and others’ lives that I can exist in the questions rather than the answers. And that I can live with the sloppy, messy places rather than all of the meticulous and pruned places I so often seek at the cost of my integrity.