Today the Daily Post featured my recent poem, Chaos, in a post about poetry for uncertain times. I was honored because the poems that sat alongside mine were beautiful, and because the editor who assembled them is one of the best curators of the internet I’ve ever stumbled across.
I was also incredibly critical. This is nothing new.
I won an award for writing when I was a child. The teacher insisted on reading it to the class and I hid under my chair until she was done.
At the BlogHer conference, they printed my words on a six-foot-tall board, and every time someone stood close enough to read it, I stood in front of it, blocking their view.
Had I been a child still, I would have knocked it to the ground, or pushed it against a wall, but I wear wrinkles now. My body has served too much time to give even a moment to the whims of my mortification. My mind is dedicated, though. It can hold a state of embarrassed shock for days.
The truth is, the story for which I won an award, back when I was a kid, was a terrible story. The truth is my post which was selected as one of the 2016 BlogHer Voices of the Year was important, but poorly told. The truth is, the truth is, the truth is…
The spotlight burns me. I never seem to tan.
The spotlight dehydrates me. I’m at risk for spotlight-stroke, every single time it hunts me down.
It makes little sense why I would then decide to have a blog– a catalog of vanity, a veritable lightning rod for incoming spotlights.
It makes little sense why people keep turning the light my way, and I don’t say that to argue the point, to fish for compliments in the overflowing sea of your kindness. I say it because it feels true, and scary. It is something that terrifies me, and so it is something I write, in hopes that my writing may lead me to a better truth.
Four and a half feet of me is still seven years old,
hiding under a desk,
waiting for you to hear the words I wrote,
knowing that the spotlight is on them,
and so the spotlight is on me as well because I live so heavily in everything I write.
I live in every story I tell, and I take the energy from its center.
I am a vampire, trying to see myself in a reflection I painted. I am a vampire, and the spotlight is my sun.