When I was a kid, I used to pretend I was being interviewed by somebody. Usually Oprah Winfrey. I read celebrity magazine interviews and marveled at the gravity of their experiences. As a reader, I was captivated by their words, the seriousness of their sharing. It was the 90’s so Drew Barrymore was recovering from her wild childhood, supermodels were exploring acting and Jennifer Love Hewitt was down-to-earth personified. I memorized key phrases like ‘no regrets’ ‘creating happiness’ and ‘stronger now than ever before’. Everything they said felt like truth published.
At 38, I am proudly embarrassed to admit that I still have these private interviews with myself. On dog walks, in the car, in my bathroom mirror. I listen as this omniscient voice gives mature recognition to my opinions or actions. Of course I challenge the conventional role of mother/wife/woman I speak from a slight angle. The camera loves me. I hold the audience in the palm of her hand. I recreate the way these celebrities nail the right intonation, convey the severity of their conviction, and hold my willing audience captive, ready to clap their support. I craved, practiced and emulated.
Over the years this secret practice has become a coping mechanism. If I can’t be quietly interviewed, I try to write. Always needing an audience to validate and witness. A way to process my experiences and feel heard. Whispered quietly while walking the streets or mouthed silently in the shower, these internal interviews allow me space to feel personal conviction and marvel at my experiences, celebrity status be damned.
And thank god I have one voice in my head that takes my shit so seriously. Somebody has to stand up for me, and back my choices, back my life and nod at my severity. It has become a voice that helps me process my life.
The confident voice. The voice that gives eloquence to my fears, my mistakes, my wickedness. She stands behind them, she isn’t afraid of rejection. Having the same need to be seen as celebrities, my writing is posted for the sole purpose of going viral. The audience is key, otherwise the exercise doesn’t work. I have wrestled with this shameful truth, and have come to sometimes tolerate it as part of the creative process.
I have learned that if I don’t allow myself these internal press conferences I bury myself under the weight of my toddler emotions, my hair trigger sensitivities. I slyly take myself further into deep water and then watch myself drown.
I need her in order to survive, but as of late, she doesn’t get a lot of air time. Life has insisted she shush and take a back seat to what is demanded of me. There are fewer moments to be interviewed and talk out my experience. I can feel the pressure building and my left shoulder is so tight it’s worrisome.
This is my truth, published.