• charlenevthomas

Essay: I understand

Free write, 500 words; featured on CompanyONE “Stories” blog

I don’t know you, but I understand.

I understand what it is to be different, the kind of different that the world doesn’t notice; the kind of different that’s overshadowed by a pretty face and the seeming normality of your friends and family, the mainstream-nature of the labels you wear and the shows that you watch. I know what it is to be more than what they expect of you, or what you even express, regardless of who “they” are for you.

I don’t know you, but I understand what it is to be in love with the way that a song makes you feel, or a book makes you think, or a word makes you wonder. How inanimate, unliving concepts can make you feel more alive than even people can, sometimes. I know what it is to think that your art loves you back.

I don’t know you, but I understand what it is to fight with your passion. To talk to it, obsesses over it, let it break you and crush you and say you hate it when you don’t. To take the abuse and the physical and emotional exhaustion like it’s a really, really bad boyfriend. And you’re aspiring for a starring role on Teen Mom.

I don’t know you, but I understand what it takes to take that deep breath and explain to someone who isn’t dating any kind of passion that, yes, you’re still committed to yours. And, no, you didn’t land that starring role yet. Or get accepted into that program you were trying out for. Or selected for that workshop that everyone else who’s really, really good at your passion was accepted to. I know what it is to smile through the admission, and be strong about it while you try and explain why it really is ok that your boyfriend didn’t get you anything for your anniversary. Again.

I don’t know you, but I understand what it is to wonder how good you really are. If you’re only good enough for your small pond or if the bigness you feel in your heart is real enough to listen to. I know what it is to read Dr. Seuss late at night, under the covers with wet eyes, smiling to yourself and knowing it’s true that, one day, you’ll start happening, too.

You don’t know me, but your courage is contagious. Your love is infectious. And what you can do in those shoes or with that pen or that ball or your voice or guitar is so damn beautiful.

Maybe we’ve passed one another. On the streets, at the mall, blending in. Maybe we needed each other, at the times when our friends and our family didn’t understand why we keep going back to the same old relationship. Well, I keep going back, too. And I promise you, your passion never once stopped loving you back. I promise you, when your moment comes, you’ll be so glad you didn’t sit around and suffocate in that pond.

I don’t you know, but I’m cheering for you.

I don’t know you, but I understand.

#creativewriting #inspirational #motivational

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