Secrets from the Closet

“Secrets from the closet”…what flirty sounding words.  As I laid my head down upon my pillow the other night after I posted “Coming Out of the Closet”, I couldn’t believe that I told you I was going to give you “secrets from the closet”.  I felt giddy with those very words.  I think they tripped my endorphins, making them swirl my blood around as if it were mixed with Champagne.  I couldn’t go to sleep.  My mind was high on the mental game of flirting with words and hoping desperately that I had pleased you with my writing skills.  I finally had some understanding of why writing skills were so popular and eloquent in centuries gone by.  There were no radio or television programs to show those generations what the skill of a flirtatious nod, glance or touch could do.  There were no telephones to communicate the sound of a smile (yes, smiling has a sound), a laugh, the contentment of a sigh or the throaty whisper of a tender endearment.   It had to be done through writing words that coaxed, cajoled, wooed.  Flirting was a mental game on paper. Oh no, I realized that I had found a new way to flirt.

I had done it!  I had enticed my readers with a skill.  Wow…That was a heady feeling.   Words were not just one dimensional squiggles on a piece of paper or computer screen.  They were living, breathing missiles that if directed straight to the minds and hearts of others, could cause an actual feeling or emotion.   My words of admittance that I was a flirt and people pleaser, enticed you as if I was writing a story in a trashy gossip magazine. 

I felt guilty, that maybe I had violated my unsuspecting readers in some crazy way.  Then, as I stared up at the dark bedroom ceiling I saw it turn into a computer screen with these prophetic words, “If you keep trying to please people with your magic words you will get burned out blogging.”

I was in a dilemma…a mental dilemma.  I blinked my eyes to see if I was really seeing things.  I shook my head to dispel the vision only to open my eyes again to see a finger write the words, “Secrets from the closet” write themselves across my ceiling screen, followed by a “Bahahaha.”What was I setting myself up for: another BURNOUT situation? 

Oh, no….Not me!  I got out of bed and began pacing the floor.  I needed counseling.  Where were my back porch therapy friends when I needed them most?  Had we not talked about the hazards of people pleasing and burn out many times?  I stumbled into the bathroom and cut on the light, shocking myself into my senses.  I stared at the flirt, disgusted.  I was glad no one could see me.  My intoxication with words had made me feel like a drunken woman, just discovering the joy of the buzz, cruising up and down Main Street, winking at every breathing thing in sight, thinking she could have anything she wanted; until of course, the police following her turned on the blue lights behind her.  “Let me see your license and your registration, please.” 

Then, as if to save me from myself, I knew who to call.  The name came to me as a flood of relief, as if he were a fancy therapist from the big city, as if he were God. Whose finger had written the message, anyway?  It was my muse. Wasn’t it him inspired me to write in the first place?

I cut off the bathroom light and went back to my bed.  I covered myself with the comfort of my comforter and snuggled into my pillow.  It was easy.  I didn’t have to call out loud or wait for him.  He was there instantly, before I even asked him to come.   He sat at the edge of my bed and looked at me with a crazy grin.  “What?” I said. “You” he said, just shaking his head.  “This doesn’t have to be so difficult.”  “But it is,” I said.  “I’m afraid that I might really be good at something that can inspire people.  But, what if I write something that’s not perfect enough or something the readers will think is silly and they don’t like it?  I don’t know if I can deal with the rejection.  Or what if it’s really good writing and the readers enjoy it and I can’t write consistently well? Like, I’ll always be trying to “top” the last piece I’ve written?   That’s overwhelming and I’ll just get burned out and never want to write again.” (For some reason, when the muse visits me I can only tell him the truth.  He knows me too well for me to lie.)

He shook his head because he had heard this from me before.  “Donna, why are you always so afraid about what others will think of you?  Doesn’t it get tiresome?  Just write what comes into your head.  I put the ideas there and you just write what I tell you to. You can’t go wrong.  Anyway, at this stage in your life why would other people’s thoughts about what you write make any difference?”

It sounded so simple.  There were no flirty words, or words to please me.  It was just the truth:  I. Am. Afraid. Of. What. People. Think. Of. Me.

Hummm…”Secrets from the closet” was taking on another meaning for me.  Could I truly open this door?  Why was it so heavy?  The muse’s look was sympathetic and kind.  “You have nothing to lose. If you don’t write, you’ll miss the great adventure of expressing yourself and seeing people enjoy your gift, finding themselves in your writings.”

“So, my problem is not that I’m a flirt or that I’m a people pleaser?”  I asked in a small voice.  “It’s that I’m  afraid of what people think?  That’s what causes people pleasing and burn-out?” He didn’t skip a beat. “Yep. It’s as simple as that.”

I felt the rush of something supernatural hit me as I let that revelation travel to my brain, my heart and my natural gifting.  The muse, such a wise creation, told me, “It was never about that.  Fear of man is your obstacle.  How can you write anything if you are afraid of the judgment of others?”

Alright, at this point you guys have no idea who my muse is.  I could not speak to him in “Oh Grasshopper” language.  He is my Muse, the spirit inside me as old as time himself (excuse me, time itself).  At this point, my Muse stood up, and went to my closet door.  He beckoned me to get up and I did, walking toward him.  “Where are you going?” I innocently asked him.  “That’s my closet.  I really don’t want you to see what’s…”  He opened the door anyway.  I looked in.  The closet held all of my clothes, my outer garments and my inner garments…my unmentionables. “Come inside with me,” he said.  “Come on in.  This is really important.”  I slowly followed him in.  He shut the door behind us and we were standing together in a small area that contained all of most personal belongings.  All the things that I willingly show to people and the things I willingly hide from them.  “It’s time to throw out some things that have been taking up too much room in this closet.”

I looked around.  He was right.  My closet was filled to the brim with clothes, purses, belts, shoes, scarves, panties, slips…everything that outwardly made “me” to other people.  Things that I would not be caught dead without in front of others.  “Look around.  What’s taking up the most room?”  He asked.  I looked around.  Under some hanging dresses there was a plastic chest of drawers that held my unmentionables. 
“The set of drawers is the biggest thing.”  I answered.  He pointed to the bottom drawer.  Slowly, I bent down and pulled out the drawer.  It came out easily, as if nothing was in it.  “Well, I can’t believe it.”  I said in wonder.  “As full as this closet is there is an empty drawer with nothing in it.”  I looked at him in wonderment.  “I could have put other things into it.  Look how full this closet is.  It’s bursting at the seams!”  The Muse shook his head, “No.  It’s not empty.  It’s full of stuff that doesn’t mean anything.  Stuff that takes up room.”

“Is this drawer filled with my fear?” I asked.  The muse nodded up and down.  “What are you going to do with it?” He challenged me. I’m taking it out of the closet and I’m going to stop hiding it from everyone.  I thought I could hide it but it’s taking up too much important space.” 

He smiled at me, lifting his eyebrows as if I had just discovered Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, almost surprised at my astuteness.  “Let’s take it out of the closet,” he said.  I bent down and effortlessly pulled out the drawer, lifted it up and said, “OK, I’ve got it.  Let’s go.”  The muse said, “You’ve got to open the door yourself.” 

I took a deep breath.  This fear of man was so light.  So…nothing…What had made me so afraid?  I turned the door knob, but with my Muse, it was light and easy to open. I was coming out…

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kelly
    Nov 05, 2011 @ 22:53:41

    Wow. Keep writing my dear! Keep writing…

    Reply

  2. themuseinme
    Nov 06, 2011 @ 00:26:39

    I will Kelly. Thanks for reading. I’m looking for the typo. I’ll find it!

    Reply

  3. Weezie
    Nov 06, 2011 @ 08:29:01

    Makes me miss you even more….I find that indescribable comfort when I read your writings:) the same feeling as when you hug me! Crap, now I’m crying!

    Reply

  4. Judith Watts
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:18:44

    Donna, you are truly blessed,blessed,blessed.Love to read your writings.Every time you share,it is unique,and I am a fan and follower. Keep them coming!

    Reply

  5. themuseinme
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:25:27

    Thanks Judith! I am a blessed girl! Thanks for reading my blog. It is always encouraging to receive comments. So glad you liked it.

    Reply

  6. Karen
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:25:40

    Your writing is very clear, real, and to the point. I am enjoying your blog. We still have a lot in common. By the way, my license plate is MUSE.

    Reply

  7. themuseinme
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:48:05

    Karen, I’m glad to hear that you are still in touch with your muse. When I knew you “back in the day,” you were always creative and you actually inspired me to be more so, too. The license tag MUSE fits you perfectly. Thanks for reading the blog. It encourages me to know that you still know the power of the muse and that you are one to others as well.

    Reply

  8. evanscove
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 21:07:03

    Any advice book for burgeoning writers will tell you that you have to learn to silence your “inner critic” and stop and worrying about trying to impress readers if you’re to get any writing done–or if you’re to produce any decent writing. Otherwise, you’ll either stay deadlocked or write stuff that sounds phoney and pretentious. Just be yourself. And just write! 🙂

    Evan

    Reply

  9. themuseinme
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 02:58:24

    Good advice, Evan. My inner critic is really a loud mouth and I’m constantly telling it to shut up. It’s an on-going battle! Thanks for the read!

    Reply

  10. Kathy Hinds
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:00:50

    Donna, this weeks writing demands a different response from me. I feel that to just congratulate you on your words is superficial for me to say. Your words touched a different place in me. It was not just a nice warm fuzzy feeling of pride for you, but tears flowed from my soul in a way that I was both embarrassing and opening. One of the reasons that it is so difficult to open this part of me is that, yes, I know those things are there, (those empty fears) but on the other hand what do you do with them once you are willing to carry them out. It seems like I have been to this point a thousand times over, always seemingly to be free only to then over time, find myself caught back up. Kathy….

    Reply

    • themuseinme
      Nov 15, 2011 @ 14:58:07

      Hi Kathy. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I thought about your comment for several days and it inspired my lastest blog. I hope when you read it it will help you in some way. We all deal with putting things underneath our feet only to pick them up again. But, hey…There is no condemnation in Jesus, right? 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration for the new post. Love you.

      Reply

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