27 September 2000
00:30... 01:30... 02:30...04:30... 05:00... 06:30... 07:00
Last night, I couldn't meet those eyes the color of sky and water... I was too afraid.
No one knew that but me, though. Not even Ma. I'm way too good at appearing cool.
The other day, I was shooting my mouth off-- figuratively, I mean, since it was in
an email-- about how good I am with words. I actually had the brass to say that I did with words what my taijiquan instructor does with chi-- and that's quite a statement, if you know my instructor. Unfortunately for me, I then went on to demonstrate that what I'm really good at is protecting myself with words.
Even more unfortunately, the email was to my taijiquan instructor.
Consider English as a Martial Art. I have a Black Belt. Twelfth Degree or better. I've had it so long, the belt has worn to white again. Call me Master.
I haven't loved many things in this life. And the ones I've loved the most, I've kept the quietest about. Asked a direct question about my deepest feelings, I whip up a smokescreen of clever words that make my true feelings seem like a funny joke. I weave a shield of word chi that hides everything, that repels everyone who comes too close to me. With my rapier-like wit, I make a joke of everything and everyone and send them packing.
It works very well. My defense is impenetrable. No one ever knows what I really feel. But everyone laughs. Everyone likes me. I'm the class clown. "Occupation: Foole," as George Carlin put it.
But so well defended, I am alone.
I can't go on like this. I can't live hiding myself behind the words anymore. I don't want to be alone anymore. And if I don't learn to say what I feel, if I don't learn to be brave and face my fears and let people inside my defenses, I'm going to lose (if I haven't already) something, someone, I care about very much...
If I didn't care, if my heart were not engaged, it would be easy. I could write. I could talk. Easily. Wittily. Stylishly--
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. That's probably true. Words are dangerous, as I know, having cut myself badly on email recently. And probably having cut someone I care about into the bargain... me and my sharp "wit." *sigh*
All my skill with words-- and I didn't exaggerate that-- goes for naught. In this, my black belt isn't any help at all. It's only good for defense, for I am no true Master. A true Master knows when to fight and when to yield. (He's "soong," I bet.)
If I can't write, what can I do?
Eyes the color of sky and water stop my tongue.
And a Round Tuit ("For all those tasks you said you'd do as soon as you got a...") (left on his hat on the table when he wasn't looking because I was too chicken to hand it to him, as I should have done) is hardly an apology.
It would be so much easier if someone would just shoot me. (His hat bore the legend "Fort Devens Rifle & Gun Club." Is there hope?)
Ah, well. Since when is anything worthwhile ever easy?
So, how's that for bleeding all over the carpet? Denny isn't the only one with a Dramatic Streak, you know.
As I say, it was the email that got me into trouble. And lost me my place as favorite student. I was exiled to the outer reaches last night. It does bother me some, too. I like tai chi-- nay, I love tai chi. I like the teacher I've found, too, and not just as a teacher. But we've been at cross purposes in email from the first time one of us hit "reply." Maybe it's my peculiar sense of humor. Or maybe it's the pique I feel precisely because I can't seem to communicate clearly with this man I like so much...
I mean, how can you not like a guy with eyes the color of sky and water, who's got great chi, and a great laugh-- and don't apologize for turning your back on us, sir, it, er, seems to be your best side-- and who knows about that little therapy game "talk to the sock" and gets a kick out of it? (In "talk to the sock" the two people who are having a problem communicating each take off one of their socks and put them on their hands. The socks then "talk" to each other. It works-- and is funny as all get out sometimes, too.)
Anyway, I had received what sounded to me like an undeservedly curt reply to my last email (two sentences that vibrated with profound misunderstanding in response to my narrative of my problems of September 20th, and a civil inquiry as to his well being), and no reply at all to an email of the previous week. In an understandable fit of pique, I hit "reply," and loosed my word chi. I sent it flying. And I covered all the topics that were bugging me.
Right after I sent it, I found there was a really nice email that Brown or Rocketmail (a pox on both their postoffice servers!) hadn't forwarded to me. It was dated three days previously-- the day after that last horrible class-- asking me, very nicely, how my shoulder was, et cetera. But it was too late. My kamikaze sense of humor had already struck. I hate email.
What I'd really like to know is, was it the crack about liking his website so much that I would really like to meet the very aware, caring, enthusiastic, (read: "communicative"] person who "owned" it, or was it the suggestion that his sock should call my sock and they should do lunch, that really ticked him off?
Maybe I'll never know. There haven't been any emails. (I sure ain't going to send any!) And there haven't been any messages for my sock.
I still have to work on not being so shy in person. But don't hold your breath. I like this one so much, it scares me dumb.