I was at the local breakfast hangout in Clayton, North Carolina; that’s either Jones Cafe or McDonald's depending on quality verses how little time you have. I was at the latter. When I walked in that morning (fresh from having dropped my son off at Mother’s Morning Out, my brain full of all the things I could get done without being tugged, hugged and called on), I passed a table of women girding themselves for the days shopping spree. I recognized one and waved in passing. The restroom was calling.
Two of the women from the table came in to freshen up before heading off to an exhilarating day (their words, not mine), of shopping. One asked the other, “Who was that lady you waved to?” The other lady proceeded to give her estimation of me, unknowing that I was listening behind the safety of a stall door. She gave quite a descriptive that made me feel as if I were unfamiliar with myself. “Oh she thinks she’s really something, but she’s just a housewife.” She ended with whose wife I was with other adjectives of demeaning description and concluded with, “She likes to think that she’s a writer.”
What would you do? I thought about it for a nanosecond, which seemed more like an eternity; time always seems to slow down in moments of uncertainty and unkindness. Oh, I’ve faced much worse than the few disparaging words of another, but in that moment I was faced with the hurt only a full grown “Mean Girl” can deliver. Should I stay in the stall and let them walk out? Do I go out with both barrels swinging? Do I swallow the thoughtlessness and carry on?
I walked out, head held as high as I could muster and said hello to both of the women. I smiled, and I told them that I heard every word they said, and that it was fine, with one correction. “I am a writer regardless of what you may think of my writing.” I washed my hands, stepped around them and said I hoped they had a great morning. I was shaking as I walked out to the car, breakfast forgotten, and drove home to clean. Cleaning is a sort of therapy that helps me quiet hurt, gives me time to think, and boy does my home look fabamundo when the job is done. Don’t tell me I should clean for cleaning’s sake, it’s the most boring job on the planet as far as I’m concerned, but when I’m angry or hurt, look out cleaning products ‘cause here I come.
Still, cleaning doesn’t really cut it. Long before I was married and had children, I knew that the part of me that was true, was the part that wrote. It didn’t matter if it was music, lyrics or verse. Writing fills my cup. Between that and singing, I always felt whole. While I live and love for my family, my children, and their future, what keeps me alive is writing. Am I good? Dunno. Do I want to be? Sure. If I’m told I’m lousy at it will I stop? Nope, not in a million years.
Everyone has something, or at least I hope they do. Whether it’s family, career, healing, fighting for justice, decorating, cooking, painting, photography, or one of a million more other loves, something fills all of our cups. To create something that is wholly one’s own, whether recognized by others or not, is a gift to be used. It is a blessing. I could not be Mary unless I had one of two types of keyboards, or a guitar nearby. I may not be good, but I love what I do. I suppose what really got to me was that these women, who didn’t really know me, had honed in on the one thing that sends me. Sounds melodramatic I’m sure, but none-the-less true. It’s too bad that some have to strike out at others to feel good about themselves, so I say a little prayer. “May the Lord bless them and help them find a way to themselves...and may the Lord keep them far away me. Amen.”