I went to the liquor store after work today. I wanted to buy something for my sister and I to have for my brother’s college family weekend in Connecticut. (You know, necessities.)
I always find myself observing everyone around me whenever I go to the liquor store. If I see an old person who looks slightly helpless, I wonder if they had just lost their spouse who used to do the shopping. If I see someone standing over the white wine selection with a furrowed brow, I wonder what part of their day drove them to try something new.
It’s silly, it’s probably all in my head, but it’s why I take 10 minutes in the store when I say I will take five.
Today, I was standing behind a man wearing blue scrubs. He had a 4-pack of hard ciders in his hands. He smiled at me with what seemed to be his last bit of energy for the day and I wondered why he was there. Did he have a hard day, and needed something to take the edge off? Or maybe he had a good one, and he felt like a little bit of a cheers were in order.
I hoped for the latter.
When I got to the front of the line and set down the craft beer variety pack I had picked out, the cashier asked to see my ID. He studied it carefully, glancing between the picture I routinely despise and my actual face.
My license still says “UNDER 21” along the top because I got it renewed in Massachusetts when I was 20 so that it would be ready in Delaware on my 21st birthday. (Again, necessities.) Sometimes that makes me look a little suspicious, so whoever is ringing me up usually takes extra precautions to make sure I didn’t hand them a fake.
Sure enough, he ran my ID through the little scanner and waited until the green light flickered. During this time, my face had fallen into a bit of a worried state. Even though I know my ID is valid, it still makes me squirm as if I were doing something wrong.
“You have to get this fixed,” said the man, as he finished the transaction.
“Yeah, I really should,” I agreed. “I got my license renewed before I turned 21 and have never bothered to change it.”
“Well, you should really get it fixed.”
When I left the store, all I wanted to do was write. I wanted to write about how I have some sort of Resting Confused Face that people seem always seem to detect. I wanted to write about how I am always too quick to explain myself to people, even strangers.
Then I thought back to the man in the blue scrubs and I thought, “eh, it doesn’t matter.”
And that is why it has been so hard for me to write lately. Everything ends with the same resounding feeling that it just… doesn’t matter.
I sit behind my keyboard, and I let the words pour out, but these days writing is more of a private catharsis than anything. I don’t know why, exactly, but something about sharing my thoughts feels off when there is so much going on in the world.
And this isn’t going to get political, although it damn well could. It’s just that everyday it’s something new to worry about, to feel sick to your stomach over, or to feel guilty about ignoring. With each passing thing that happens, I feel less inclined to say what I want to.
But that is not the mind set to have. Your words matter, my words matter, everyone’s words matter. I didn’t go to school to write only to be too afraid to share my work, and I sure as hell don’t want to say silent while You Know Who sends tweet after tweet from his toilet.
(Whoops, it got political.)
So, this is more or less a promise to myself that I won’t refrain from saying what I truly want to. More of a promise to share what I want to without worrying about how it may be perceived.
Because sometimes, I’ve realized, the only person who can give you a good kick in the ass is yourself.