I often sing showtunes in my head or out loud depending on my mood. So many songs can sum up life events perfectly that I could probably explain my entire life in showtunes.
Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m losing touch with myself. I feel like I’m in a very stagnant place and I often don’t feel like myself. This situation, like most life situations, makes me think of a showtune; “Who Am I?” from Les Mis. One of the things I always thought was so interesting about this song was at the end,when Jean Valjean decides to reveal who is really is, he yells out his prisoner number “24601”. I always think that line is interesting because he’s using a terrible time in his life to identify who he is. Yes, Javert knew him as 24601 but he sings it out so triumphantly. Perhaps it’s because his time as a prisoner helped define who he is. It led to him hiding his identity and then realizing that he had to be true to who he is and exclaim it for all to hear, in song of course.
Sometimes I feel like I created a life for myself based on things I was hiding from and things I felt were expected from me. I think back to when I was 22, when I had the most self-confidence I’ve ever had.
I was messy, impulsive, and wild, and I certainly didn’t have everything all figured out but I didn’t pretend that I did. I didn’t try to be something I’m not. A few months ago I was walking through the city in a suit and I caught my reflection in a window. It actually stopped me in my tracks because I thought back to the time I profoundly told my mom that I would never work in a cubicle and wear a suit to work. I was 11. Sorry younger self, I failed you.
I have this enormous need to be true to myself and to put my time and energy into things that matter, at least to me. Writing is something that has always been important to me because I believe it can help people, including the author. I stopped writing about the harder things because I wanted to forget about those times in my life. I realize now that those are things that matter the most because they made me who I am and gave me ideas about who I want to me. Those are things I need to write down because they’re what people need to read. There are things I prefer to forget and things I try to cover up, but those are things I like to read from others. I love seeing writers pour themselves into their writing because it means something and it’s relatable, which is why we write. Maybe it’s time to stop being polite and start getting real (yes this is a Real World reference), and write the “real” stuff. No one wants to read about a perfect life, they want to see the mangled, disjointed, and insane road that got to that life.