Friday, February 5, 2010

Red Lentils

They’re on the counter, in one of those clear plastic bags the bulk items come in. They come in the clear plastic bags because that’s what we put them in when we buy them. Or, when charming husband buys them, as in this case.

I don’t know what to do with red lentils, but apparently he does. He, however, is gone for two days. I suppose I’ll save them until he gets back, then he can do something with them.

I have bigger fish to fry.

Except I’m not frying any fish at all, not at the moment, though I do plan on having fish for dinner. Cod, to be exact, though I won’t be frying it.

All of this is to say that I’m avoiding the issue at hand. Could you tell? Was it obvious? There are things waiting to be done, and here I am, blathering on about lentils and fish as if they’re somehow relevant, when I’m only using them as placeholders until I get to where I want to be.

Have you ever tried using a lentil as a placeholder? I don’t recommend it.

I’m thinking of developing new communication techniques, something along the lines of, “I want to say this and so I’m saying it now, even if it sounds stupid,” because otherwise people don’t quite get my drift. I think I’m pretty obvious, but I could be wrong.

When I ask for support, I want people to say, “Of course! I’ll support you!” I’m not asking for financial support, I’m really quite capable of providing my own financial support, especially since I have a husband who doesn’t mind me asking for large sums of money.

Not that he has large sums of money to give me, but he doesn’t mind me asking. He just laughs when I do.

I mean the kind of support where I say, “I need this and this from you,” meaning, just tell me you’re on my side and you think I can do this, and you, in response, say, “Of course! You’ll be fabulous.” Or even, “Well, okay, but it might suck, you’re not as good a writer as you think you are,” but at least I’ll know you were listening.

Maybe you heard my red lentil story, which was short and to the point. In case you forgot, here it is: “I have red lentils. Until they came home from the store the other day I didn’t know they existed, so now I don’t know what to do with them. I’ll leave them for charming husband.” It’s short, direct, to the point, and has a happy ending. Maybe that was enough for you.

But here’s the real story: I have a project that I’m really scared of getting wrong, and it’s a big project. Maybe I can’t do it. Maybe I’m not good enough. I don’t know. Maybe you think I get plenty of support elsewhere, though where that might be, I don’t know. Maybe from the people who think that since I seem to know what I’m doing, I must be just fine. Obviously.

I’m not.

Can’t you see that?

I suppose not. After all, you have your own things going on in your life. And me, I’m doing fine over here. Just get back to me when you have a moment. Or don’t. I’ll make my way on my own.

Sometimes all someone needs is a word or two of encouragement. It would mean so much to us, but getting it is like pulling teeth, which is another term I avoid using. I’ve never pulled a tooth, but I know that I don’t give mine up easily, so pulling one is a difficult process. “But you already know I support you!” you might say, or “But you already know how I feel about it!”

Do I?

Do you, for that matter?

Do I really look like I’m in control of the situation? Am I really all calm and assured? Perhaps I should go into acting then. I must be quite good at it. Inside, I’m my very own clear plastic bag of red lentils, all separate and mobile, and if you drop the bag the lentils will spill all over the floor, and it’ll take quite a bit of work to put them back together. They’re not a cohesive whole, not until you cook them, and neither is my book – it’s a lot of little pieces dying to break away from the pack and go their own separate way. It’s getting from the raw lentil stage to the completed book stage that scares me, and it ought to scare you too. (If you were writing one, not my book. You have enough issues without worrying about my book.)

There. I feel better already. Still not sure if I can do this project properly, but if no one’s going to tell me I can’t, I’ll just assume I can. I’ll keep going, and those who know about it will encourage me, and those who haven’t heard me won’t, and the encouragement I get will help, because there are those who will let me talk about my fears and hesitation and listen, and I will be very grateful to them.  

And those who don’t hear me ask for help? I’ll get over it. Anyway, that’s not you, is it? 

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