I knew that I held my feelings close to my chest, but I didn’t realize just how closely until I seriously thought not once but twice about deleting yesterday’s blog entry.
This is an anonymous blog overall, mind you. A grand total of half-a-dozen people know who writes it. Yet I still gave a lot of thought to erasing that post. Even leaving the byline blank, it still almost seemed like too much.
It hasn’t always been the case that I was so closed off about my feelings for people – in fact, for most of my life it wasn’t. Take 1999, for example, when I wrote a series of letters telling certain people what I really thought of them.
No, I mean that in a good way.
Here’s how it went down: I had an incredibly vivid dream that I was dying in a hospital bed. My strength was fading, and I suddenly realized that I wanted to tell the people I loved how I truly felt about them. How much I cared for them, how much they meant to me. So I started writing letters to them, but as I said, my strength was fading, and soon even writing a short letter was becoming too difficult. As my vision and the dream faded, I was embroiled in frustration that I would never get to give those last messages to people.
Then I woke up. And when I woke, realizing I’d only been dreaming, I was overwhelmed with relief that I actually could write those letters to people.
So I did. I called them my Deathbed Confessions: What would I tell the people I loved if I knew that this was the last thing I could ever say to them?
I told them, with what now seems like terrifying honesty. I concluded each letter that what I told them would always be true, so if they were ever feeling bad, they could pull the letter out and re-read it, no matter how many years ago I’d written it, and know that it was still true.
Every now and then somebody I wrote one of those letters to will find it and tell me how much it still means to them.
I didn’t write as many as I’d planned to. That fall I packed up and moved a few hundred miles away, and my Deathbed Confessions ended up falling by the wayside. For whatever reason – I don’t remember why now, if there even was a reason – I never did resume them.
I’ve been wondering again if I should. I would like to, at least to a small handful of people. The people who would get that message that I wrote in yesterday’s entry.
But again…terrifying honesty and all that. There are a few people who I will say the words to if I can speak those words to their faces. And I have done this recently, but just once and with incredible difficulty. The only way I managed to do it was knowing that what I needed to say was something they needed to hear.
Never mind the fact that I’m a writer, something about putting them down on paper makes my determination stumble. That emotional armor again, which apparently has a problem with me expressing these things in some kind of permanent form, regardless of the truth of it all.
I’m not sure when I’ll reach the point where I could write these Deathbed Confessions again. But just the fact that I’m considering it at all as more than a bittersweet moment of reminiscing is a big jump ahead from where I was a few months (and years) ago.