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September Surrender: Day 23

What I’m Letting Go: Supervising Scripts

My parents used to work at an insurance company. Together they were the film and video division. They would make all those “safe driving” videos for buses and limos. Mom would write and produce, dad would direct and edit. They worked from home before it was cool. They were a team. So I was a little surprised when my dad told me to throw out all the old scripts I found while clearing out the third bedroom.

“But Mom wrote them,” I said. He told me it doesn’t matter. She won’t remember, and the relationship with the company ended so poorly, he simply wants no record of it. It bothered me, as it felt kind of cold. These were my mom’s words. She wrote them all down when she was still able to say things. You don’t want to even glance at them? He didn’t want to. I didn’t go through them either. Instead, I stuck them on one of the shelves and figured I could go through them later. I just don’t feel like getting rid of my mom’s words right now, though the content has no significance to me. There are other letters she wrote me that are certainly in a safe place, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to let go of all her words yet.

My dad doesn’t feel this way. I have to accept that. I have to understand that for some, past words just have no more weight to them. I’ll get into why I struggle with this a little later, but for now, my mom’s words are just on the shelf. Who knows if I’ll ever even pick them up again. I’m the one doing all the organizing up in that third room. I get to decide what stays for now. Guess I inherited my mom’s sentimentality too.

What I’ve Discovered: Pump the Language Brakes

People are saying some insane things online to each other lately. Not that this is anything new. The internet has been one big plugged up kitchen sink for God knows how long. But it feels like online society has nowhere left to run anymore, causing people to go for broke and just say any old thought that barrels into their heads. Half the time, I wonder if they even know what they’re actually fighting for.

I’ve pulled back a lot on being a “bully” at New York City politicians on Twitter, but the fight is still on between New Yorkers it seems. There are those who want a progressive socialist paradise, and those who do not. There is no in-between. And those who are against this government teat-sucking utopia are facing an uphill battle as long as these lobbyist groups are in the pockets of our leaders. I fight on the side of freedom, no mind of who is there with me. But from my independent standpoint, I see far more shit-slinging than I do productivity.

When I was on the plane to Utah back in July, I saw a post on Twitter about the ongoing fight to restructure McGuinness Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I don’t live there. It’s not entirely my fight. But the push to change it coming from lobbying groups and politicians makes me believe a lot of underhanded weirdo shit is going on. I don’t trust these people want what’s best for the street, especially as more of the neighborhood residents push back on the idea. I saw a post from one of those “nonprofit” groups of a woman holding a sign that said she’s a Greenpoint mom fighting to change McGuinness Boulevard. From just a casual glance, I noticed she spelled the name of the street wrong, so I tweeted out as much. It was pretty well received as I thought it was just a funny observation. In New York, getting those kinds of words right is essential to showcase where you’re really from. But of course, days later, the post got picked up by one of those “problem” people, who is so in favor of letting the government unnecessarily transform the street that they’ll snark and scoff at those who dare voice their dissent, and suddenly I was a huge problem.

A lot of people were like, “She’s from Hell’s Kitchen, why does she care?” And in some ways, they’re right. Neighborhoods in this city don’t speak to each other that often. But it’s still all our city, and I’m standing with those I feel are in the right. One person screenshotted my recent tweet where I was on a horse named Whiskey, as some kind of “gotcha” to me, insinuating I’m not even from New York. When I saw that tweet, I replied back with, “I’m literally on vacation right now, you dipstick,” to which they replied back with, “Okay, carfucker.” And then, “You’re trash, literal garbage.”

Safe to say this person was promptly blocked after that. I just remember thinking how weird a thing that was to call a person. “Dipstick,” as juvenile as it is, doesn’t come close in cadence to “carfucker.” As in these people are so against four-wheeled transportation, they assume everyone who doesn’t want to turn the city into a biking free-for-all must wrap their lips round an exhaust pipe. It’s so strange how these words we choose to use have both no meaning and too much meaning all at once. It’s like calling someone “fascist” or “racist” over and over again, simply because there’s a disagreement on the table. These words have no meaning. One could argue nothing does when this extremist language is first to leave people’s mouths. It’s always a strange realization, especially for someone whose entire livelihood is based on the words they choose.

I’ve made it a point not to engage with these people anymore. It’s not worth my time nor my energy. They’re allowed to say their words regardless if they’re blocked by me or not. We’re all better off not listening to the noise anymore. Go with those who choose their words wisely rather than some top-of-mind dull insult. Otherwise y’all can go honk yourselves.

What I Hope to Find: Who You Gonna Call

I don’t remember every conversation I’ve ever had, not that I think anyone has, but there are certain phrases and sentences I remember. They’re things I think of every single day. Things I remember word for word. But, as I’ve said many times before, that’s all yesterday. It’s all behind me. So why do I let these strings of words weigh me down in present day?

There were times in my 20s after I broke up with my boyfriend that I’d try and pretend we were still friends after. I’d message him these long, funny observations, to which I just got an “lol” back. This happened a few times, one of which I can distinctly remember wanting to know why I was wasting all my words on him still. I just wanted to speak with him. To truly have a conversation again, like we used to when we were together. I wanted it for years but never got it. I remember one night he had me as I was driving home from my local station. This call only happened after I begged and pleaded to get him on the phone. He was stoned the entire time and smoking while on the phone. I just remember hearing some of the things coming out of his mouth and really getting turned off by them. I don’t feel like repeating it here, only that it wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy. Just a phrase I thought was way too “off” for my taste, yet I kept trying to “fix” him using only my words. It never happened, and I should have stopped trying long before I finally let go. It just feels bad knowing how much weight I put into everything he once said to me, wishing fruitlessly for those words to return to me.

There are other people’s words who live in my head now. Perhaps their real estate is in my heart, too. But those words are still there, even though I know truly I must leave them in the past. There’s nowhere else they need to live now. They’re just as yesterday as my ex-boyfriend’s words are. But I hope to one day hear the words that come at me with all the weight in the world. Words I know are real and true and do not leave me second guessing. Ones where I know I’m hearing it all come from something that is mine. As of now, it’s all eluded me, even if it was real at one time. It’s not here now. Time to find a new turn of phrase to make it all worth it.

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