Waving Through a Window

This summer, there have been times that it’s felt like the whole universe has been conspiring to get me back here, to my dusty old blog. There have been some moments it’s felt as if the Blog Gods have grabbed me by the shoulders and given me a good shake before asking, “Amy, wtf are you doing?”

The truth is that I’ve felt stymied for a while–creatively, professionally, economically. I’ve reasoned that I should find places that pay money for my writing instead of giving it away for free here. But then I lack the motivation and chutzpah to pitch any of my work. I compare myself with other writers I read and admire and think that my writing could never measure up to what they produce so–it seems–effortlessly. If you looked at my Documents folder, you’d see dozens of unfinished essays, which is def a metaphor for my modus operandi.

Then there are all the other voices in my head. All of those mouthy bastards. Some of the internal monologues come through distinctly in my voice — the snipes of self-loathing and indecision — but there are other voices festering in there as well. Family members from whom I’m estranged. People I used to be married to. The mother of my good friend. A writing mentor.

I hear those voices and I cringe any time I read something that I’ve written. It’s like, “What am I thinking? Who cares? Will they care?”

Sometimes, all those voices seem to be standing in the way of me telling my story, which is all it really is, my take on things that happen in an ordinary life. But really, I’m starting to think it’s just me unable to get out of my own head.

Recently, I’ve gone back and read some of the things I’ve posted here over the last 5 years and am sometimes shocked that I went as far as I did in some pieces. That I shared as much as I did. But at the time, I had zero issues with occasional oversharing. It felt kind of cathartic.

I’d like to get back to that.

It’s what connected me to every person who’s read something of mine and said, “Me, too.” Not in a #metoo, Harvey Weinstein/Matt Lauer, kinda way, but more in the, “Totally,” vein. As in, “I totally get it.”

The kids and I got to go see “Dear Evan Hansen” last summer, which is something I highly suggest you refinance your house to do. It’s epic. Anyway, there’s a song the main character sings in the beginning, called “Waving Through a Window,” and it’s about how all any of us wants is to be seen. To be heard. To be loved. It’s what connects us all at our core. You can watch him perform it here to get a sense of just how moving the song can be (here I pause to watch for the 100th time).

When I first thought about writing personal essays, or maybe a bigger memoir, I felt hampered by the fact that my story was just so ordinary. My divorce, in the scheme of things, was pretty run-of-the-mill. I mean, we had some exciting moments, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t like my ex had a second family stashed somewhere in New Jersey or had gambled all our money away. We just didn’t get what we needed from each other, and no amount of couples therapy or red wine was ever going to fix that fact.

(Teachable moment: Kids, don’t get married when you’re 24.)

I remember saying this to a college friend early on in my separation, how my story was a dime-a-dozen. We were sitting around after dinner in her Brooklyn Heights apartment with friends, sipping grappa, which I was about to find out was not only very strong but could lead to blackouts. I told her what was holding me back and she shook her head and told me that my thinking was all wrong.

“People read to feel connected,” she told me. “They want to know that they’re not alone.”

Of course, it would be another few years before I put that logic to the test here on my blog, when I quickly found that both men and women, folks my age and way younger and older — some with kids and some without — would tell me they could see pieces of themselves in my stories. Snapshots from their own lives.

I was sitting around a long picnic table having dinner with friends this summer in Montauk, all the way out at the very end of Long Island, where glass box beach houses sit atop a bluff overlooking the Atlantic and there are long stretches of beach with more rocks than people, when one of the women in our group starting talking about my blog.

“You were so fucking brave,” she said of the things I wrote, and I felt kind of proud because this woman was no shrinking violet. I also noticed she’d been speaking in the past-tense.

Earlier in the summer, I met some women at a local bar that sits along the Shrewsbury River and offers a front row to a spectacular sunset most nights. It’s all pinks and purples stretched across the sky and slowly dipping into the water.

We stood in a circle with our drinks in clear plastic cups and someone that I knew introduced me to the gal she had come with. “I don’t want to come off as crazy,” this new girl quickly said, “but I love your blog. I even wrote you fan mail a few years ago.”

And this woman in neither divorced nor as old as I am. Just another human struggling on this planet to make sense of things.

Finally, just last night, I was at a mixer for my baby’s high school football team at a local bar where we stood outside on a deck and clung to our icy vodka drinks to help us not melt in the oppressive New Jersey heat. I ran into a gal I went to high school, with whose son is now in high school playing football, and she always has something nice to say about whatever crazy thing I’ve written here over the years.

“I’m not getting your posts any more,” she immediately told me. “Do I need to sign up again?”

I told her that no, I’d just been lame lately, and she said she missed reading my stuff.

“You’re in luck,” I told her, “because I am posting something tomorrow.”

You know how Oprah is all, “Pay attention to the whispers of the universe”? That eventually, the universe will start shouting at you if you don’t?

I’m pretty sure that’s what these most recent incidents were. The universe shaking me by the shoulders and telling me to write. Anything. Just write.

So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Are you waving through a window, too? I totally see you. Sign up to get my posts right in your inbox in the erratic fashion I’ve accepted, after 52 years, is just the way I operate. We can wave to each other (I’ll try to remember to comb my hair and put on a bra).

29 thoughts on “Waving Through a Window

  1. I saw this posted online and it’s so true. “Remember the deepest desire of the human heart is to belong….to be welcomed….to know you are seen and are worthy of kindness.” Keep up the good work Amy.
    Even though I don’t always post back to you, I really enjoy what you write as I am sure so many others do also.

    • Lynn … so nice to see your name here and I appreciate knowing that my writing strikes a chord! I love that quote and it pretty much sums everything up, doesn’t it? Be well and stay cool!! xo

  2. Have always loved your honest spirit and the connection it creates to fellow women! Stopped everything to reconnect with this recent post- Thank you and Much Metta- loving kindness-

    • Leslie, many thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to read my post. And, because I really try to start my days with a guided loving kindness meditation, your blessing touched my heart. xo

  3. So glad to see this pop up in my email today. And as reassurance that your recitations on your ‘ordinary’ life resonates. please know that this definitely struck a chord in me. I am a musician (local to your area) who neeeeds to write and keeps slacking off blaming the ins and outs of my daily obligations. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hi Laura, and thanks for sharing that. Yes, it sometimes seems like there’s not enough time to do things like write or meditate, because all the dumb little things get in the way. Like Facebook. I’m really going to try to make writing a priority. Let’s see what happens. Let me know how your writing is coming along!

  4. So happy you’re back!!!
    I like forward to your recap of the parallel lives we lead.
    Just in time for my “Summer Sadness”!

    • Hillary! So glad I’m not the only one in this wobbly boat!! Hope you’re as happy as I am that we’re waving good bye to summer and getting on with things!! xo

  5. I am so glad you decided to write again. I truly missed your blogs, and wondered how you were. I even thought of knocking on your house door, after all I’ve always wanted to see it since we both owned the same housing Rustic Terrace in Little Silver. But maybe in the Fall I might visit you, lots of things have happened since we stopped chitchatting. Oh well, let’s hope we can reconnect. Take care & keep on writing! Hugs from Paddy

  6. Hi Amy,
    I missed your stories, words of wisdom, rants and most of all your wit and humor, etc. Glad your back!

  7. Thanks, Amy! Once again, I can so relate!!! Nice to hear from you again!!
    Oh, and, cooncidentally, I am on Cape Cod for a couple of days and forgot a hairbrush and decided, after I changed out of my bathing suit and rinsed off the salt from the beach, not to put on a bra! Just didn’t feel like it! So, we can wave to each other, but don’t feel you have to brush your hair or put on a bra for me!

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