Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Proper Noun People

I like words, especially new ones or ones that are familiar and old, but recently unused.  There is a tangible feel to words in my mouth.  Several years ago, I wrote a piece on the feel of someone's name on my lips, how foreign it felt after so long, scraping and awkward to form and project.  That imagery is somewhat literal to me, at least in the way I experience it.  The best words, though, are the ones that roll off my tongue, cascade to their new home - on paper, on someone's ears, on dead air - and feel like they were meant to be there, natural, willing.  These words - usually proper nouns in my case - are a comfort to me, something that doesn't require work or effort, something to be enjoyed. 

In my life, I have people who are like these words - familiar, comfortable, unassuming.  Though they are few, they are as important to me as anything I can imagine.  I am not naturally inclined toward social acuity.  I miss cues.  I am, and always have been, too honest; my cynicism exacerbates this problem but covers it with humor.  I can get along as well as the next person, but I am not fluid in my relationships - they take work and effort that I'm not always ready to offer.  It is with these people, my Proper Noun People, that I can be myself - unfiltered, unapologetic, unafraid, and unedited

For the last few days, and weeks really, I have been in serious desire for this luxury.  The great part about a big life change is that everything is new.  The awful part about a big life change is that everything is new.  For me, especially considering my penchant to avoid vulnerability like the bubonic plague, this means that literally EVERYONE that I interact with on a regular basis knows virtually nothing about me - they have no measure to understand what I'm trying to say rather than what I actually say, no basis to interpret my intentions from my actions, no way to know what actually matters to me or how to reach me at my core.  Maybe they have no desire to - that's always a point to contend with.  I'm craving the repose that comes with being known and being loved because - or perhaps, in spite - of that.

There's grace for this.  I know this as well as I know my favorite words.  There's grace for the growing vulnerability that I'm positive God is calling me to (though I fight it mercilessly, still).  There's grace for those people who truly don't have any interest in knowing me.  There's grace for the awkward moments, the scraping words, the defense mechanisms.  I'm working on finding all of those graces.  Maybe that grace will become a Proper Noun "Person" to me too.