I've always considered myself a good conversationalist, outgoing, open kind of person willing to talk to anyone. But about a year ago when I started eHarmony (which I stayed on for about 6 months), I started talking to this guy who lives 1,100+ miles away and realized I didn't want to give him my number because I was terrified. Terrified that while we had great dialogue over email, my abilities to open up on the phone would mess up this spark.
One Friday he emailed me his number as he was going on a trip and said I could text him or call if I felt like it. I texted and we ended up finally talking. The conversations got better as time when on, but ultimately I realized my thoughts come out right on paper/web, but verbally I don't allow them to flow. When he finally stopped calling and writing a few months later, I was actually relieved. Relieved that I didn't have to attempt my first real relationship halfway across the country and through the phone lines, and that I could go back to figuring out what I was really looking for in life and love.
I'm thankful that things with Paul didn't work out. And that I tried something new, was uncomfortable in my words and able to move on to find a man who makes me truly happy. The trouble is, I find myself still at a loss for words, even when I know he doesn't care how imperfect they are. I find myself able to pour my thoughts out in our daily email or texting exchanges, but unable to say the words on the tip of my tongue when we're sitting face to face. I think there's some safety we writers find in sitting behind our words, in knowing that our writing speaks for itself so we don't have to.
Last night I went to an alumni event where I was talking with a recent grad who wants to write, but doesn't have a job yet. Write for magazines or newspapers or freelance. But she couldn't talk. Was embarrassed for herself. Everything in her body language, facial expressions and eye contact said it so. She reminded me of what I don't want to be. I don't want to be so scared of my own words that I keep them inside, hidden from all to see. Because the longer you keep them hidden, the harder it is to unveil your true self.
So for now, I use my writing as a way to instigate verbal conversations. As a way to start a discussion about trying to keep thing equal, about plans for the weekend and to tell him how much I care.
Does anyone else find this dichotomy of being able to pour your heart and soul out in an email, texting or on facebook, but not so much in person? Sometimes I wonder if it's part of a writer's nature. If it makes us better writers as a result? Maybe we keep things bottled up so we can pour them out onto a page. What do you think?