Truly (but not madly or deeply)

First, let me just say I'm fine. Really. Happy, confused, the normal Julia that you all know (or some of you, some of you are total strangers. To those strangers — Hi, I'm fine.)

However, I've gotten this habit of not looking at myself. Let me explain.

My friends joke that what ever happens in Europe, stays in Europe, but I don't want that to be true. And parts of me have changed here. First, I don't feel excessively responsible. Obviously in my job I do — but even that I've gotten to where I trust my student assistants to show up, etc. But the part of me that worried about everyone all at once is kind of gone. It has to do with the knowledge that I'm at least 9 hours away. And though I don't feel alienated emotionally from you all; I do realize there is a time gap. And I want to try and emulate that feeling of not trying to control or be hyper-responsible when I get back.

Second, and this is a biggie, I don't live in my head. I go out and interact with the world. There are cycles in my life that go from introvert to extrovert and I'm in an extrovert mode. To the point where I just go in places and start talking to people. It is kind of bizarre, but also necessary. Pluck one person out of their habits, friends and family — throw them in a foreign country and see if they don't try to crawl out of the intense silence of solitude and start living in the human race. A guy stopped me on the street the other day to let me know he and his wife finally had their baby. He was speaking Italian and I only know him from the sandwich shop, but I got the idea. I think that's it. The world opens up its secrets more if you are in it. Joy, birth, cruelty, despair, doubt, love, infidelity, confusion — well all of it. I hear about, witness, and experience. It's intoxicating. Bravo world for living.

Which leads me to a third. I'm opening up. (Don't laugh Shelby.) I am. The fact I sit here and write this blog should be proof enough. Sure, I still edit and pull curtains all of the time. In no way are you getting the entire picture. No one should. But I try to share and reveal and will continue doing so. Unprecedented in my other life. Even in my outgoing phases, I've only soaked up others' lives — no need to let anyone know me other than a small few (think of counting on one hand). Yes, the truly crappy stuff will still be restricted to a small audience. The rest — hopefully light stuff, now general admission.

So why not look at myself? I don't know. I think it has something to do with chameleons, fear, happiness, insecurity, and living. And transition. Always transition. Photography is for capturing an image and moment. Mirrors should just be there to steal a glance at the here and now.

6 responses to “Truly (but not madly or deeply)

  1. Did you look at yourself before? You are probably afraid of seeing your skeltal frame. Eat something! A lot of gelato! All kidding aside, I think we can look at this as one of Italy’s greatest gifts to you–pulling you out of your own self. Bravo.

  2. The mirror will reflect your beautiful face, your words reflect your beautiful mind and soul. One summer I arranged a playmate (red haired Nichols girl, I forgot her first name). First grade was over, but you had no neighborhood friends. Playday arrived. I pull back your curtains and say: Time to meet your playmate! You sat in your four poster bed, book in lap, ignored me. When I touched your book, little black eyes darted a look and then you said: “Mother when will you learn that silence (or maybe it was solitude) is golden”. Begrudgingly you were polite to the little girl, but you limited your “shared time” ; and spent most of that summer with a book by your bedroom bay window or on the porch swing. Thanks Italy! Julia pulled back her own curtains. She shares!

  3. That is the funniest Julia as a child story I have ever heard! What did Sandra do with too such introverted children!

  4. I remember those “solitude is golden” periods (now they are just infrequent moments in the bed after dinner, dishes, and “Hush Baby” book)… Books are so much safer and interesting than most people, aren’t they? I am trying to think if I have any friends who don’t like to read… No, I don’t think so. But I do at least talk to strangers now and occassionally they are interesting too 🙂 Eat some gelato for me, Sista!

  5. Hi Teach To use your words Be gently with me its My frist time. This bolg thing I enjoy your writing very much.Iam not much with paper and pen i like to look in to the eyes of the person i am talking with. When you return to the States I would like very much if you come to The Scenic City and we will walk by My River and cross over one of my Bridges. And we talk Beautiful Lady You Sound a lot like another Beautiful Lady I knew A long time ago. So be happy and enjoy The Moment . It may not come this way again. LOVE Toole

  6. Tootie! So nice to hear from you. Yes, I’ll enjoy “The Moment” while it is here. Actually, that is a goal in life. You enjoy the Scenic City and mountain air for me. And try to keep Mom in check (my dad is laughing at that right now).

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