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Yes, song lyrics as a title again. Probably not the most creative I could be, but I’m choosing them regardless. They’re not even from one of my favorite songs on the album, Swallowed by the New by Glen Phillips. But favorite or not, this lyric gets me every time. I think it’s because the imagery is so apt. Fear is a knot. Sometimes it’s a knot in your stomach, and sometimes it’s a knot in your throat (or worse, feels like it’s wrapped around it). If I started writing about one thing that scared me each day, would I ever run out of topics? Honestly, I’d like to think so, but I’m not sure. Some of my fears are basic and all-too-common: fear of loss (my husband, my kids, my family and friends) or of not being good enough (as a wife, mother, friend or writer), for example. Some are more complex and buried so deep I’d be too ashamed to list them here. Fear and shame are bedfellows, an unholy couple that gain energy from each other, fucking in the middle of the night and keeping me awake. It happens, I swear.

I’m less fearful than I used to be, thankfully, but that doesn’t mean I’m cured. I have good days where I’m busy or feeling pretty good about life in general, and fear at that point is pretty much on the periphery and I forget how knotted up I can get, until the bad days come. I’m not having one right now, if that’s what you’re wondering. Not consciously, anyway. But those lyrics got inside my head and made me consider the areas in which I’m still knotted up, and there are more than a few. I’ve been lucky enough to find a few people who I trust enough to help me untangle the knots. My husband is one, certainly, and I know how big a gift that is, to have found him. I’ve shown him the knots, and he loves me anyway, deeply. It’s an amazing thing. I have friends I trust as well. In those cases I tend to be more careful, giving each a select knot. The tangles of my brain tend to overwhelm people. I’ve experienced this, so I’m more cautious now. Life lessons. Also, I’m not always good at letting people in. Or rather, I’m better at it in theory than in practice. It’s possible you need to get beyond the knots to forge the deeper connections, and that’s hard to do, especially face to face.

So I write, because that’s what writers do, I suppose. We expose ourselves on the page or post in a way that borders on emotional exhibitionism, but face to face we are often quite private, even hard to get to know. I’ve had a couple of occasions where someone mentions my blog to me in person, and I stare at them in horror, as if they’ve suddenly pulled a pair of my oldest underwear out of the drawer, the ones with holes that I haven’t been able to bring myself to throw out but would be horrified to have someone see. You mentioned my writing, in front of me?!? Are you mad? (I love the word “mad,” as the English use it. It’s a much better word than “crazy,” don’t you think?)

Anyway, while I may be flattered when people mention my blog to me (and I am), the larger part of me wants to turn and run. I don’t run from much these days, in the literal sense, at least. But talking about my writing is a Very Scary Thing. I’ve avoided doing so even in the places I’ve felt safest, because this is one area in which I am so not okay with potentially being judged not good enough. Also there’s the fact that I tend to spill the messier parts of my head in here. You might think that because I’m willing to write about them, that I’m willing to talk about them as well, but you’d be wrong. “But that doesn’t make sense,” you might say. No, it doesn’t, but you’ll have to live with it. I do, and it’s harder for me, I promise.

I need this outlet – need to be able to purge my thoughts here. Writing helps me process. I should do it more regularly, honestly, but I tend to be motivated in waves. I have found that if I’ve written about something enough (and by “enough” I mean incessantly on a level you can’t even begin to imagine, with sincere apologies to those who’ve been on the receiving end), it becomes easier to talk about, out loud. The path to reach that point is often long, but worth the journey. Probably. So the bottom line is, it’s getting better, but there are many knots left to untangle. I’m not sure if being witness to the untangling process is much fun for others, but here I am.

In related news, my daughter has my exact hair texture, which is fine and ridiculously easily tangled. Between the two of us, we go through tons of detangler, which is a survival tool rather than a luxury item for us both. Note: my hair is short, coming only to the bottom of my ears. It STILL tangles furiously. I comb my daughter’s hair only after spraying it with detangler and rubbing in leave-in conditioner, and I still get the occasional yelp from her. I am careful, though, and patient. I get it – working through knots hurts. But the reward is great: sleek, shiny hair that you can flip about with pride. We’re both getting there, one way or the other.