I haven’t visited the Candy Jar for a long time.
I haven’t peaked in, checked stats, responded to comments, emails or even Facebook messages.
I’ve pretended the Candy Jar was obsolete.
And, in many ways, it is.
I opened shop when my life fell apart and the only thing that I could understand, and perhaps control, was the written word.
Words in a place controlled by me — nothing came in or went out without my stamp of approval.
I spit fire, bled tears and think I did a lot of growing up.
I grew thick skin and suffered deeply when the layers were slowly peeled off – or were just not thick enough to protect me from my choices.
But, then I grew out of the Candy Jar.
I had a lot of really regular readers. I loved it here. A safe space. A supportive space. A land of sweet opportunity and existence that didn’t exist anywhere else.
It was a place that allowed me to exist just enough to not have to be present anywhere else in life.
I was OK blending into nowhere outside of the Candy Jar when I knew I had a platform to be important here.
And maybe because life changed and the winds of reality changed, I found I didn’t really need to live in the Candy Jar anymore to exist.
Today, I wonder if it is because I became comfortable – perhaps safe, knowing I didn’t need – or even want – to be more than a joke and a smile in passing in reality.
And had no more interest in existing as more than that shell of a person.
Other days it is because I think that I have finally found a safe place to exist in life and am finally content.
I’m not here.
And was not really sure if I ever intended too.
But, then I received a very direct question today from a friend who said, “You need to start writing again. Why aren’t you?”
I think she followed up by saying, “You ain’t got shit else to do”…but, I digress.
Or perhaps she was saying, “You’re acting really fucking crazy again…maybe you should write your way through the insanity and out of the crazy house.”
ON one hand, I think she is right. I do need to write more. The less I write, the less intentional I am about the decisions I make in my life. The less intentional I am, the less I care…apathy takes precedence — which means I am handing away my power to someone else – without really knowing who that person is.
The last 6 months have been strife with the consequences of intentional decisions that I didn’t know how to conclude.
I’ve met people who I shouldn’t have and haunted many places I shouldn’t be. I’ve made more deals with the devil to get by and get ahead than any educated woman should have to make.
Shit, I’ve made more deals than ANY woman should have to make…or many for that matter.
And perhaps I’ve hidden away from the Candy Jar because how does one write about a reality you don’t really accept you’ve been living?
So, I haven’t written. And now, I’m not quite sure I have much to write about.
I haven’t fully left the dark corners of life.
And in all honestly, it is a nearly daily struggle to not sink right back into it.
Why leave when the dark is what creates safety?
Why leave when following the rules of society pushed me so deeply into a corner of solitude, destitution, stagnation, defenselessness and hopelessness that my only way to survive was to sit down and let life beat down on me?
Living in the shadows – beyond the lights and rules of the community that condemned me – is a land of opportunity.
Not to get rich.
Not to become famous.
Not to make a mark on the world. Not to lead. Not to inspire. Not to motivate.
Living is the shadows is a strategy of survival.
To pay the rent. Buy food. Make sure my kids don’t realize how destitute life would be if their mother played by the rules.
I have hidden to give my kids a chance at life that the society which claims to protect them has swiped away from them.
I live darkly, in a well-light house in a cute little suburban neighborhood, to live the American Dream.
It isn’t a forever place.
Fuck. It isn’t even a job.
It’s a mindset and a survivor mentality.
My life is beautiful to the naked eye.
It is inspiring to the astute eye.
It is devastating to those who have seen the truth.
It is only accepted to those who love me beyond my pile of rubble and ash.
But, in the realm of life -
we all live a little bit of devastation to hold up a facade of bliss.
So – to respond…I’m not sure of the future of the Candy Jar.
It makes me a little bit sad to close shop. It creates a bit of anxiety, in fact, since this is the tiny world that helped me pick up the pieces of the past.
Perhaps it is a place that might allow me to accept the change I need to process to leave behind the destruction of the lingering past, the shadowing of today and tentatively step into an unknown future.
But as for writing in a public forum where people I know read, appreciate, and say I have ‘made their lives better’ or ‘helped them survive’ — I’m not quite sure I’m qualified.
Or brave enough.
Today, a lovely man I happened to meet at the park told me, “Hold on to your youth. You are a beautiful, healthy young woman in the prime of her life. I can see you’re getting tired. Don’t let life wear you out. Don’t let life take that last sparkle I can see glimmer when you laugh. Don’t let your life change you. It will get better. Easier. I promise.”
I am tired.
I think life already changed me.
I guess only time will tell how all that fits into the Candy Jar.
As for now.
This is just a pit stop.
Perhaps to show my respects.
Perhaps to vent.
Perhaps to validate.
Perhaps to get me back into the habit of writing. Nearly three years ago I made the Candy Jar public and sat and wrote every single night. I wrote before school work. I wrote before grading papers. I wrote before anything. I wrote because I knew somehow, some way, it would help me rebuild.
In real life, I’m at a phase of rebuilding. New relationships. New jobs. New projects. New intentions. New goals.
New is scary to me. Perhaps my writing today is a reminder to write my way back to a place of bravery.
It worked before. It might work again.
If I am strong enough to stop hiding.
Step out of the safety of the shadows.
Perhaps, as they say, into the light of a Brave New World.