I began trying to create this post in my mind, sculpting it and weaving the words as skilfully as possible to get my point across, when I came unstuck. Pain. In my thumb. Right in the soft pad of it, and as I turned it over into the light, noting the interlocked swirl of my fingerprint and the chewed bit at the side (don’t judge!), I discovered, to my consternation, some kind of a splinter embedded there. It was none too shallow, either, and as I scratched at the sore, soft lump of it, trying to find where the splinter had entered, and began to squeeze – pinching with my (glitter sparkled) fingernails – to see whether I could get it out without needing to dig around, the thoughts transformed from mist into solid clouds and settled in my mind – you will never know me.
But maybe that’s okay.
I began thinking about this post first because of Gigi – it’s really all her fault – she of the crazy tree and the viking weaponry and a most beautiful way with words, which comes through whether she’s writing or speaking to you. But she told the world that she would be transparent (whilst simultaneously and with the help of judicious cutting, remaining something of a mystery) and that she planned not to hide. She told truths.
I make no such promises. Ever. In fact, I want to reassure you of precisely the opposite – I *won’t* tell you everything! Not a single person in my life has the full measure of me, though there are many who know piecemeal, and few who know much. But in direct contrast to what may appear here – because, after all, I *am* one of those bloggers who (to use Laura’s phrase again (but only because I love it so much)) pretty much writes with the cachet ‘Here’s a piece of my soul; please like me!’ – I won’t ever reveal all. Even if I’ll happily talk you through a moment with a splinter…
Because although it looks like you can get to know me here – learn my deep, dark secrets; the thoughts of my heart; the whimsy of my mind and the intensity of my imagination – those things are really only facets, glittering like jewels in the sun, perhaps, but facets nonetheless. And as beautiful as they are, they will never be the full picture. So much more lurks behind them, yet as others have said before; you will never know me.
I *will* reveal myself – I’m not saying I’ll tell lies. It’s just you won’t ever get the full picture. You don’t get to see me tired, hungry, grumpy, grouchy, snarking about small things, or rolling my eyes when my attention is demanded and I don’t want to give it. You don’t get to see how uncharitable I can be. Or how mean. Or how sweet. You can see shades of them, perhaps, through my writing here – and possibly more if we’re friends on social media.
I’m always aware that you’re watching. I’m always aware that you’re looking on and wondering, and I won’t let that guard drop. Not for the collective.
But friendship is something else, and if we both decide we want to take the time, I’m usually happy to go beyond the blogger/reader thing, and start letting you be a nodding acquaintance. Someone I say ‘hello’ to, as we pass each other in the hall. Beyond that, who knows? Depends if we ‘click’. And to be honest, it’s a lot like that in my offline life as well – I let people in slowly, in little bits, whilst still doing the whole ‘soul-bearing’ thing, because the two are separate. In my mind, at least, the deep and meaningful is *not* where it’s at, and my thoughts are (quite frankly) anyone’s.
But to *know* me – that’s different. And that’s where it begins – mutually, too, because if I want to get to know YOU, that’s also a thing – I’ve even written on this before; about how it matters to know the mannerisms, the tones of voice, favourite books, preferred footwear and most ideal place to visit. Did you know that?
Friendship is one thing, and love quite another.
Love is in the minutae. In the knowing all the in-betweens and the dumb stuff which doesn’t sparkle or glow, or make a difference – the mundane, boring stuff like whether or not I like to whistle while I’m waiting in a queue; how I sound when I laugh; whether or not I’d write your name on my hand in a hardwired heart; and what makes me look away from you because I can’t bring myself to meet your eye. Those are the places where I know love lies, because I begin to feel safe enough to let my guard down a little. But still, it takes time and deep, shared connection – adversities faced together (yea, even online – because for some of my Lifeboat people, that’s been a HUGE thing – I have truly been rescued from some of the worst moments of my life by friends in far-away-places, as well as those who have been able to hold onto me in person) and small moments, just passing time.
And it’s easier to qualify in actions than words, in the end, because ‘love’ is a verb, as far as I’m concerned. It’s in late night texts or pillow talk, or words written by hand because they matter. It’s in signs held and faces shown and songs sung. It’s in knowing tears and fears and being a place of refuge. And of those things I am *intensely* jealous and will not put on display.
But I also don’t say it. Usually because I don’t entirely trust it (and I’ve written that before, too) – but more that I still don’t feel worthy of it, or that my sentiment isn’t just cumbersome to you. By all means, use the “love, love, LOVE” of enthusiasm or endorsement – I love, love, LOVE it when that happens because it means I had a positive impact on you.
But you can’t say you love me until you know the small stuff. And yes, to me that’s precious and exclusive, and not on offer to everyone. Because it matters. I don’t love lightly, but when I do, I love loyally and meaningfully – I am genuine through to my very middlest middle about it.
Even if I can’t say it.