I am at a loss for words on how to begin this post. The title is here, and I don’t know where to start.
“How do you eat an elephant?” my friend used to say with a pause that implied ‘there is more coming and it’s not really a question but more of a learning lesson’ kind of way. After the pause she would reveal with resounding assurance, “One bite at a time.”
Now certainly I’ve never eaten an elephant, or even wanted to, nor am I familiar with any cultures that do. I believe what she was getting at was how to accomplish big things that seemed overwhelming. Holding elephants in great regard and that analogy being slightly disturbing, I instead prefer a reference to the 1970 film Santa Claus is Coming to Town in which Kris Kringle sings the song “One Foot in Front of the Other” to help the Winter Warlock change his nasty ways and become a nice person.
Although this implies I’m nasty trying to become nice so that doesn’t really fit either.
The point is this: something is changing. It started rather abruptly (see previous post Sifting Through Silence) when my voice gave out and I was literally forced to cease nearly all conversation to sit with and reflect on some personal feelings which had resurfaced rather unexpectedly merely days before. Feelings that I thought were conveniently shelved for a rainy day (read: on my time) and when I thought it would be best to bring them out. Back out. Coming out, part two, which is what this whole thing resembles.
“You’re hedging,” I said to someone on an outreach call this evening. “What are you afraid of saying?”
“I might be hedging,” she said. “But you don’t disclose. In theory, it’s really the same thing.”
She had me there.
I don’t disclose under the guise of being private. Keeping things to myself is respectful, I justify. What it so wrong with being selective? I don’t have to tell everyone everything, do I? I mean what would be so interesting in that?
But as a writer . . . let’s be clear . . . a memoirist, I have signed on to do just that. The whole point of me being here, in this life, is to be of maximum service. This is why I am now sober, abstinent, and solvent. This is why, I believe, I am still here. And these past several weeks in this excruciating stint of more than usual quiet, I have realized that by withholding certain truths about myself it is not only dishonest, it is stopping me from being of service to you, and in the world.
Tonight I’m going to change that.
There is one part of my life I have not written about in these blog stories. Partially this is because it hasn’t been that relevant as it’s taken a back seat to more pressing things like, oh shall we say a brain injury and active addiction. But also in part because I have been afraid. As vulnerable as I would imagine (by personifying) a hermit crab would be when it is last in line for the shell exchange (see previous post Shifting Shells). Anxious, nervous even, that I will be left without at home. Ostracized and kicked out of the colony I so desperately need to stay alive. (And yes, I do know that is not a hermit crab in the photo. It was too endearing to resist.)
A few days ago (see previous post The Whisper of Wrongs) I spoke to how I buried it just to stay alive. Old fears sure die hard, don’t they?
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers,” I heard on a meeting last week.
I am a lesbian.
Now go get some rest. I’m just getting started.
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.