I deleted the back up copies of everything I have ever written. I could lie and say it was on purpose, but it wasn’t. As I went through and searched, trying to retrieve all my words, I realized they were now scattered across strands of the interwebs. In emails and blog posts. On scraps of long discarded paper and guest posts. A good tens of thousands of words I had kept in an unorganized mess on my laptop now spread like ashes.
It felt good when I came to the realization they were gone. Sure, I could spend hours exploring the internet, gathering lines and nostalgia. Maybe some day I will. Today will not be that day.
There is something calming about a blank slate. The half-finished essays had begun to pile up. That’s probably what writer’s block really is. A wall of broken sentences and fragmented thoughts. The path has been swept clean.
I had started to feel regurgitated. As if some broken record, consistency lamenting about loss and parenting. If I wasn’t echoing myself, I surely was echoing the other tumbleweeds rolling through my newsfeed.
I miss my mom.
Being a parent is life.
Being a parent is hard.
Being a parent is worth it.
I wasn’t hugged enough as a child.
Someone hugged me too much as a child.
The same sentences you could find constructed by dozens of other writers.
It is hard to write when you begin to feel bland and overstated. Doing anything when you feel unoriginal is difficult.
When I noticed everything was gone, the sadness didn’t linger. Sure, I had lost rough drafts and first starts, but I gained a beginning. Endings have always been difficult to me. How do you tie up a post when the words were written like cutting your wrists and holding them over the page?
I could never quite figure it out. It’s probably why I had so many unfinished posts.
A clean slate.
There have been many times in my life I yearned to press the delete button. Nights laying there, pit in my stomach, knowing I screwed something up again. Wanting to hit reset. To go back to the beginning. To do things differently.
I am stitched together by scars and stories, weaving an intricate and complicated life.
There are some stories you cannot press delete on. The ones that remain imprinted in irises. Hidden in plain sight, only to be read by those intuitive enough to search a gaze for a soul. My eyes have always held a bit of sadness in their dark brown coloring. That isn’t to say I am one sad story, just to say my story is populated by sad plot points.
One of my favorite pastimes is staring in someone’s eyes. Weird, how much eye contact can tell about a person. Maybe it is why some of us are always afraid to hold a gaze.
Have you ever turned away? I have. I have cast my eyes downward or to the side to avoid being betrayed by the raw, emotional, story screaming to be told in a glance.
There have been moments I held the gaze of someone, allowing them in and, in that moment, becoming more vulnerable than ever before.
I think that is the true definition of allowing someone to see you for who you really are.
I don’t pretend to have any preconceived notions of who I am. On a good day I am a balanced and calm father. On bad days I am a spiraling mess content to be petty and out of touch with reality. The days come and go with such scary frequency I stay up at night hoping I am a good enough person to save myself from self-destruction I tend to wrought when I combust.
I am constantly seeking attention and approval in hopes if I can tally enough people caring about me, maybe it will mean I am worthy of love.
There I go, regurgitating again. The same thing you can find across fifty other writer’s sites. Including my own.
One thing I ask people, probably too much, is how they would describe me. A good part of it is being unsure how I would describe myself. Not the surface crap either. I am a parent, a friend, a lover, blah blah blah.
An old soul.
I still don’t understand what it means, but I hear it a lot.
I yearn to find my makeup. The traits people would use to describe me.
I feel people confuse me with a trail mix sometimes.
Maybe I am nothing more than a mess of unorganized stories and flitting thoughts. Maybe it is impossible to accurately outline a person, as they are a million different moments and actions spreading across the spectrum we know as good and bad. I could live with that I suppose.
I have always had trouble with endings. Sometimes, it feels as though the story is ongoing and ever changing. Because these words are so much more than strung together lines in a story. This is a person. This is a life.
This is who I am.
Briton Underwood, better known as Punk Rock Papa, is a parent above all else. When he gets sick of being at their beck and call, he likes to escape to his page or site. He writes about any and everything he wants, but mainly about his twin boys or his newest addition- another boy. He also would like the world to know he has a beautiful wife, because the couch isn’t that comfy.