I just want you to know. Have you seen American Hustle? There’s one scene, one line that hits me every time. Like a steel swinging cable. It catches me completely off guard.
Christian Bale’s character is in the dry cleaning spinny thing with Amy Adam’s character and he’s doing a voice-over: “I felt like we had a secret, just the two of us. You know, like that thing when you just wanna be with the one person the whole time and you feel like the two of you understands something that nobody else gets.”
And the crazy fucking thing is that when he describes that feeling, I get it. That resonates with me. I know exactly what he means. It’s not even me projecting, me imagining in my mind what that would be like. It’s something tangible I can see and feel. And I find myself pulling away from the rest of the world, because I prefer to exist in the space where that hope lives. I’ve always struggled with this. With my desire to be selfish, to trust myself, to listen to my gut and do what’s best for me, and my desire to be a good person, to do good unto others, to make others happy, to help them with their balancing act.
Because, how do I say this? I’m good at people. When I was a kid, I found a suitcase of my mom’s and it was full of old letters from college and high school. Letters from friends, letters from lovers, letters from family. And I remember feeling like I had stumbled on the greatest treasure. I sat in her closet for hours and read through them. Carefully unfolding them and deciphering the writing of these people that loved her. But she found me out, and the letters went away, and I was crushed. My mom felt like I was invading her privacy, which technically, yes, sure. What mom appreciates her 5 year old daughter reading through documentation of her twenties. I couldn’t make her understand that I just wanted to see more of her. Who are you? Who are you when you’re not being my mom? It was incredible, imagining my mother as someone else. The person that I didn’t see across the dinner table. And I’ve always wanted that–to know the stories of others. To completely immerse myself in someone else’s story to see all the shapes and angles and lighting and gross corners. It’s greedy, strange, and slightly creepy of me. I can’t help it. So anyway, what this means is that I can be a blank slate. I will let you cover me with you. You’re a pool and I just jump in. What this means is that it’s easy for me to be who you want. Cause I’m studying you, I see you, and I know what will work best with you. I’m a chameleon. It’s easy for me to blend in so much that I forget myself. What was the original shade I came in here with? The problem with this is that we’re not sharing anything, really. I’m taking. It’s not an equitable relationship. You’re not blending to match me, see? And that’s what I’ve decided to want. To want to blend with someone to match together. Not to match whatever they already are. Cause I’ve been doing that, and it always ends somewhat unpleasantly. But I think the challenge is then finding someone who won’t let me blend all in. Someone who will hold me at arm’s length and remind me of my bad habit. Check myself.
(I found myself.)
I think growing up is realizing that you can’t do both. You have to choose, one or the other, him or me. Sometimes you choose you and sometimes you choose them and it requires impeccable timing. Which is it gonna be today? It’s kind of like horse betting. I pick this horse, and I hope it does me well today. And that makes me think of “The Pursuit Race” by Hemingway and the man who loves sheets. I love sheets.
'Good,' said William Campbell. 'Because really I don't
know anything at all. I was just talking.' He pulled the sheet
up over his face again. 'I love it under a sheet,' he said.
Billy Campbell caressed the sheet with his lips and his
tongue. 'Dear sheet,' he said. 'I can kiss this sheet and see
right through it at the same time.
He shut his eyes and opened them, moving the eye-lashes
against the sheet. 'I just love sheets,' he said.
He looked at Mr. Turner.
'Listen, you think I'm drunk.'
'You are drunk.'
'No, I'm not.'
William Campbell held the sheet around his head.
'Dear sheet,' he said. He breathed against it gently.
'Pretty sheet. You love me, don't you, sheet?
'Oh, yes. And if you love sheets.' He breathed on the sheet
and stroked his nose against it. I don't know about
sheets,' he said. 'I just started to love this sheet.'