They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
These days my life, I feel it has no purpose
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface
~ Arcade Fire, Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
And here I am again, I’m going to try to have a normal blog, again. If anyone asks why now after all of these years of going dark and mostly silent, I’m going to say it’s because of Schmutzie. I am obsessed with her blog, I love her even though I have never met her, or talked to her, or anything really. That’s the weird thing about blogs that people who don’t have blogs don’t understand – you are a voyeur of sorts, yes, but it’s not for naught. We see into people, we know people differently. Whether the people we are seeing are true to themselves and to others, I wonder now whether it matters at all.
Who am I, anyway? And who the hell are you?
It’s easy to say: “Hi, my name is Cheney.” I do it all the time. I do it at work on the phone about ten times a day, and the people I call, most of them probably know me as that weird bubbly girl who is always laughing when it’s inappropriate, as if there shouldn’t be any humor in bookkeeping. (There probably shouldn’t be.) I have my work friends who I’ve never met – Karen in Minnesota who I swap emails and pictures of our kids with, Tara in Missouri who always tries to get me to buy a tricycle even though I keep tell her that my daughter is at bike age now, and Bonnie in Illinois who tells me really, really intimate details about her family – I mean, things she probably doesn’t even tell her real friends.
Then of course, I have my secret life, you know.
But you don’t know, because I haven’t told and no one has ever asked or noticed. It’s what’s true though: I write. I write, I write, I write, I am a writer and I can’t stop. Whether I have things published, whether I show things to my friends or family, that’s neither here nor there. The words pile up day by day on different blogs and fiction serials and as guest posts on writing websites… I’m all over the place, under another name. I have fans. I have a following.
And telling people that? That would just be weird, wouldn’t it? That would just lead people to ask more questions and seek it all out and want to know more, but I keep my mouth shut, my lips sealed, my secret safe.
Trust me, I am not the only one you know with a secret life.
I’ve been hiding right in front of you this whole time. If you know me at all, you’ve probably gotten the feeling from time to time that even when I am sitting in a room full of people, I’m not all there. You might have gotten the impression that if I had the choice, at least 75% of the time you see me I’d rather be at home alone, shut up in my room with books. You’d be right about that.
It’s really hard for me lately, to be around groups of people. Alisha’s wedding was an absolute blast, and I do like a good party from time to time, but I’ve lost almost all interest in hanging out with groups of friends on a regular, weekly basis. I mean, I’m having a really hard time with it. Not just a hard time showing up – obviously I’m a big girl and I make my own choices on where to go and what to do, but inwardly I am always fighting with myself. Do I really want to go here? Do I really want to see these people? Are they my friends, really? And more often than not lately I’ve felt that the best thing to do is just to do what I want to do, which is stay home with the books and the words. It’s easier than inwardly kicking my own ass for doing something that I really didn’t want to do, it’s easier than trying to convince myself and also everyone around me, that I really care about these people and the things I do with them.
See, this is hard.
I’ll be twenty-nine in about three months. Approaching 30 has made me uncomfortable in many ways that I’ll have to elaborate on in other posts, but one of the worst things about getting older is realizing that I am a really, really weak person in some regards. It’s seeing that I am getting older, I am losing time, I am losing the life that I have left and I am not in control of that time because I listen to other people more than I listen to myself. It’s my worst quality (in my opinion) and the one that I most want to change about myself: that I let what other people think of me dictate too many of my actions.
I have reinvented myself on the internet more times than I can count at this point. On Tumblr I am a girl who likes zombies and Barack Obama and is obsessed with politics and the death penalty debate – all of these things about me are true. On Blogspot and Twitter I am a writer under a different name who posts short horror fiction and writes a web serial that has hundreds of followers. Sometimes I think this is my most true self, the dark writer side of me. The one who likes so much to scare and be scared and share words and stroies. I’m good at being that girl. I feel like people like me more when I am in her shoes. HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE READ MY WORDS – but not one of those people is a “real life” friend as I call them. You might know me as a co-worker, or a sister, or a daughter, a mother, a friend. But I am many things to many different people and the older I get the harder it is to keep those parts of myself seperate, and the harder it is to bring them all together and finally open up my arms and my mouth and my heart and say:
“Hello, my name is Cheney.”
This is me. This is who I am.