I’ve written and rewritten this sentence 200 times.
No I haven’t.
That guy right there was a one-shot hit.
But I wanted to make this point:
You wouldn’t know either way.
The world would be none the wiser if, behind the scenes, that sentence had been working on itself for years – molting over and over – before presenting itself to you as the highly edited, best-it-has-ever-been-sentence that it is now.
And that’s nice for sentences and all.
But as humans, (or magical-non-humans-in-human-form) we don’t have that liberty.
And it is a liberty, in a sense, to be taken at face value. To be understood for exactly what you are in the present moment and nothing else.
But again, we are not sentences, we are humans. And humans have histories. Pasts that feature an ever-changing ‘I’. A protagonist who may be unrecognizable from one week to the next. And save abandoning everyone you know and starting afresh on a daily basis, there are people in your life who are bound to know an ‘old’ you.
With my recent move to a new city, I have been taking full advantage of this rewriting thing. People who have met me in the last week, for example, don’t know that there is a ‘me’ of the past who is less glittery.
I mean that literally… I’m glittery now.
Like Queen Elizabeth once sat at her vanity and painted rouge on her impossibly high cheekbones, each morning I sit at mine and smear golden, star-shaped glitter across my face like enchanted battle-paint. Why? Because that’s who I decided I wanted to be: A woman who brings a little shine into every day.
And just like that I rewrote myself.
And it’s not the first time, of course. I’ve done it in a million, trillion little ways throughout the course of my lifetime.
Like when I dyed my hair pink, pierced my nose or decided to stop wearing a bra all together. Or the morning I woke up and decided to write my life as the story of a woman who didn’t hate the way her mood could change from red to black, to purple to orange and sparkling gold every other minute. Instead I became the woman who was going to take that wild unpredictability and turn it into art.
I wrote myself as a musician one evening a few years ago just because it felt good. I’ve written myself into victimhood and back out again. (That is to say I rewrote myself as a conqueress.) I’ve rewritten myself to have confidence. I’ve rewritten myself to be a painter, a yogi, a handyman, a damn good lover, a rehabilitated shopaholic, a sometimes terrible flake.
I’m highly edited. The best I’ve ever been. And still wonderfully imperfect.
And while it would be a liberty to always be taken at face value – To be understood for exactly what we are in the present moment and nothing else -To never be put in a box based on past behaviors -To never have to explain to the people who knew an old version of us that this is who we are now – That this is who we have been all along, somehow – While that would be oh, so easy…well, then we would just be sentences. And truth be told, I’d take this clumsy, chaotic story over a perfect sentence any day of the week.
You know, since human beings have become conscious beings, we have been asking the same question: What is the meaning of all this shit?
But I’ve started to consider, what if there is none other than to have a shot at shaping a character that will have a role in the global story? What if we are just meant to take this time to write and rewrite a role for ourselves with only one goal in mind: Looking at the end result and thinking, “Hey, I did alright. And look at this fucking story.”
So whether there’s more, or that’s all there is to it, we’ve been given an opportunity that lends us as many chances as it does days. You don’t like how your character is coming across? Damnit, rewrite him/her. And do it again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.
And if the character still isn’t quite sparkly enough…
Just throw some glitter on there.