“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
I have a story. It’s not all happy. It’s not a love story with unicorns and rainbows. But it’s mine.
One of my least favorite things to hear in life is that “everything is part of God’s master plan.” Someone dies? Part of God’s plan. Someone gets hurt? Part of God’s plan. My hatred of this phrase is years deep. It isn’t that I don’t believe in God; I do believe that God exists. I just wonder sometimes; if, indeed, “everything is part of God’s master plan,” wouldn’t that just mean God is cruelly shifting around all of the chess pieces of life? I can’t abide by that idea. I don’t believe that God plans for evil things to happen. I don’t believe that anyone does. We can’t plan for bad things to happen. But we can plan how we handle them when they do come. Because they will come.
How have I handled them? Well, I have been a player.
No, not that kind.
What I mean is, I have played along with life. I have done a large majority of the things I have done because I believed that I was supposed to do them. Freedom of thought and choice is a relatively new concept for me. I didn’t start an undergrad degree out of high school because I thought I was supposed to work. I got married at twenty-one because I thought I was supposed to be a wife. I was a quiet, obedient wife because the church told me to be. When my son died, I played the strong spouse, because that was what I taught myself was right. And whenever I got hurt, I stayed silent, because I thought that was the right thing to do. I played along with life. I was a player.
I write because I want to tell my stories. And not just for the act of telling them. I write because I believe that they could be helpful to someone else. (Yes, I stole that line from my therapist.) I think that if you have a story, and it could be helpful to someone, then it should be shared. I write because, at my deepest parts, I want to share. I write because I don’t want to play anymore. I don’t want to be silent, just because that’s “the right thing.” I don’t even know that it is the right thing. But I don’t know what to do now, and I’m torn. Sharing even a tiny bit has changed the way that people see me. I don’t want that. I want people to care. I want them to still care at the end of the road.
For this reason, I don’t know that I will ever finish my book. I want to, but it scares me. I don’t know that I will ever be able to fill in the blanks, or tell the rest of the story. I don’t know that I will be able to drop the curtain all of the way. There is a wall in place that I do not know how to cross, and even as well as I know a lot of my friends now, I don’t know that they would all still be there on the other side of it. I don’t know how I could finish it, put my name on it, put it out there, and then trust that people will still be there, that their views of me will not change.
People have always expected more of me. All the world’s a stage, and I have played all of the things I am supposed to on it. I have spoken when I’m supposed to; I have shut up when I’m supposed to. There are some things in life that are “God’s master plan” that we are not supposed to talk about. We don’t talk about children dying. We don’t talk about spousal treatment within the church. We don’t talk about divorce, or what comes after. All that comes after.
I think that it’s important to be heard. It’s important to take that step, to receive that validation. But, beyond writing, I don’t know how to let people hear me. I know how to disappear; that is one skill that I have honed over the years. But I don’t know how to step forward on some things. I don’t know how to speak.
If I had one wish, and I believe that I deserve one, it would be to have more confidence. To be certain enough that I could write whatever I want and not worry what other people will think. To know that they will love me anyway.
To finish my story.
There are so many blanks, so many things there, that I fear the story, my story, will never be finished. But I also feel that I can’t move on until it is. I have the guts to be okay. But after that?
So. There it is. How’s that for honesty?