I am a carpenter. It is my hobby. My creative outlet. How I express myself. Building something out of nothing. It is the way I survive.
Words are my wood. Punctuation the nails. They are the tools of my trade.
I take a single word and place it carefully…just so. I make sure it is true. Level. That it fits perfectly. At least to the best of my ability. And then I add another. And another. Carefully fashioning them into the piece I see in my heart. Bringing my inner world to life.
Sometimes everything flows easily. Sometimes it simply “works” as I envision and desire. But not every time. I probably fail in my role as a carpenter more than I succeed. And yet I keep trying. I keep building. Word upon word. Nailed together with great attention to detail.
I sand and lovingly finish each piece. I try to create something meaningful and lasting out of the ashes of my life. Something of beauty. Of interest. Something worthwhile.
Ever so slowly, my words build a window into my soul. I give you limited access to sneak a peek through that window, knowing you probably don’t really care to see the poorly-crafted and broken down rooms of my heart. I am, you see, not the best carpenter. The things I see and have experienced are not necessarily pretty. So what I create is not often pretty. The things I have to share are not awe-inspiring. And some are downright ugly.
I will never win any awards.
Though I long to build beautiful pictures and hope connect in spite of the ugliness of the wood I use, I don’t often succeed. I place each word specifically to resonate and to promote a closeness I fear I can’t sustain. In reality, I struggle to share the results of my carpentry “skills.” It is frightening to open up. The small windows I build are probably as close as I can come to letting someone walk through my world. It is risky sharing my creations. To allow others to read the words I have crafted, plank after plank, until the piece is finished, is to risk rejection and ridicule. Sometimes, I question the sanity of my hobby. Always I question my abilities. I wonder why I am so driven to build and to share. To work so diligently to bridge the chasm between us. I keep sanding the wood, fitting the pieces together until my heart has said what it longed to say, even if I say it poorly.
I dare not place a doorway. Too risky. Someone might actually turn the knob and come in. And vulnerability can be deadly.
Oh, how I wish someone would turn the knob and come in.
This house I have built and furnished, that I have so diligently created in spite of my many faults, it is all I have to give. Words. Words I have tried to make smooth and acceptable, even though they tell a repulsive story. The story of abuse, rejection, depression. Of struggles, failings, self-hate. Of defeat.
I have built with the material that is available to me. I have written what I have lived. Word upon word. Chapter after chapter. Telling the story of this place where I dwell, this place my hands have made with what I had to work with.
A lowly carpenter. Sharing my story one hewn and carefully selected word at a time. All in hopes that someone will see some beauty in my ragged creations. Maybe even come in and sit down with me for a while.