The Narrative

I wanted to write to get this out. Because I’ve tried to talk it out and all I get from these people are suspicious eyes and faint comfort that you know means they don’t mean it because they don’t believe me.

No one believes me.

Here’s the truth. People will call me many things and I will own to many of them, but people who know me know that I am not someone who tries to steal someone else’s glory. I’m too proud for that. If I want praise I want to have earned it, and there is no one harder on myself than I am. No one more aware of the fact that I am constantly ten steps behind anyone who matters. Challenged and grateful and yes, sure, insecure, but never, never so malicious as to try to steal spotlight.

What’s the point if you steal it?

And here’s some more truth: there are only a few spotlights in this world I would dare want to be in. Most of them are stages on West End. A few are music festivals. This? My job? It’s a job. I do it for money, not for glory. I do it to eat, so that I can sing. I do it so that I’m not afraid of how to pay for the album or the studio.

Here’s the truth: I remember the people who help me. I remember them like I remember every single person who hurt me. Sometimes the names intersect, but I never stop remembering the help. And I never stop acknowledging it. I will never stop acknowledging it. I have been in a place where my hard work has gone unappreciated and I know it feels like crud and I never want anyone to feel that way. Yes, I take some people for granted–my mother, for one–but if I “use” you (and I never wanted to use anyone), I will cite you. I will acknowledge your contribution. I will admit loudly and proudly that you are ten times smarter, work ten times harder, are ten times better than I will ever be.

I am a lot of horrible, no-good, very bad things. I am selfish and emotional and immature and unfocused and dramatic and paranoid and rude and unrefined. But I am not ungrateful. And I am not someone who connives to take a good name from someone who deserves it more. And I’ve tried my best to show that fact, but I guess all the other bad stuff drowned it out.

(And you wonder why I feel like I’m stagnating? I feel like the world won’t allow me to grow; it keeps holding my past against me. But it does that to everyone. I should just get over it. I should just grow a thicker skin.)

(I should. But will I ever?)

I’m tired of running to people who have for me only those skeptical eyes and dull voices and refrains of “Why didn’t you do [this]…?” “Why didn’t you do [that]…?” as if my innocence in this instance was suspect. But I will be the first to admit I am in the wrong, and this time…I don’t know what I did that was wrong?

I overlooked a citation. One email missed a beat. One out of dozens of emails, hundreds of statements, thousands of grand hand gestures: I have never been stingy with crediting other people for what might be perceived as “my” successes, because I know they’re never mine at all. I know I’m not good enough. You don’t have to tell me to pray to my God that I don’t screw up, because I do that every night. And I thank Him every night for the people who help me…

…even if (even when) they turn on me afterwards.

I don’t know what comes afterwards. I don’t know when I’ll stop crying at my desk. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop wanting to run away. I don’t know if I can even keep doing this. I don’t know if the jokes about the Zzzquil might one day become real. I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay.

I didn’t want this. I didn’t want to climb. I didn’t want to be a senior anything, a head of anything, a person in charge of anything. I have always been a follower. I have never wanted to brag, and I know it’s hard to believe because I keep making stupid moves that make it look like I am but this is not the spotlight I wanted.

I just want some semblance of control over the narrative. This is the narrative. Someone, please, believe me.  I’m a lot of bad things, but I’m not the enemy.

I’m not.

“…and you can pray to the God you believe in…”

(He let this happen. I’m not sure what to believe in right now.)

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