An Expanding List of Words I Hesitate to Utter

1.) Miracle. It’s too strong. Too immaculate. Reminiscent of zealous preachers in ivory pulpits, their bald heads shining, sweaty, as they bless the approaching parishioners who saunter through the pews like walking dead. “You are healed, my child! It’s a miracle! You are a miracle of God!”

No, that word doesn’t jive with me. When someone tells me I’m a miracle, I cringe. Hyperbole! I call shenanigans!

But maybe my discomfort derives from a general feeling of unworthiness. I don’t have the proverbial balls to consider myself a goddamn miracle. That could be it.

2.) I’m a writer. The other day, a friend made this observation via email: “You’re a WRITER.” And, indeed, she’d capitalized the end of her statement. It was the first time I’d really ever let that label settle. I play the guitar but I’ve never called myself a musician. I like to sketch but I’ve never considered myself an artist. But it’s true, I’m a writer. My name is Abby Higgs and I’m a writer.

3.) Chuck Klosterman is brilliant. Damn that man. I wanted so much to find fault in his words enough to artfully discredit his snarky narrative style. But I can’t. I’m just jealous of the bastard. And truthfully? His honest, neurotic declarations about loneliness and love are relieving: “And it’s not ‘clever lonely’ (like Morrissey) or ‘interesting lonely’ (like Radiohead), it’s ‘lonely, lonely’ like the way it feels when you’re being hugged by someone and it somehow makes you sadder.” Also, “…I have never understood the concept of infatuation. It has always been my understanding that being ‘infatuated’ with someone means you think you are in love, but you’re actually not; infatuation is (supposedly) just a foolish, fleeting feeling. But if being ‘in love’ is an abstract notion, and it’s not tangible, and there is no way to physically prove it to anyone else… well, how is being in love any different than having an infatuation? They’re both human constructions. If you think you’re in love with someone and you feel like you’re in love with someone, then you obviously are; thinking and feeling is the sum total of what love is. Why do we feel an obligation to certify emotions with some kind of retrospective, self-imposed authenticity?”

Here, here, Klosterman.

(We also kinda look alike.)

4.) Hello, motherI’m reluctant to call my biological mother. She’s had several TIAs over the past few years; her speech is affected, she forgets words and names, the context of conversations. I can’t remember the last time we spoke. Funny thing is, I’ve often thought to myself, It’s a miracle she’s still alive.

I need to call her. She could be lonely, lonely.

5.) I have to put my sobriety first. Call me selfless. Call me altruistic. I’d rather not think about me. At all. By helping you, paying attention to you, worrying more about you, I’m actively avoiding an issue that terrifies the shit out of me: me. But I’ve got to put my sobriety first. I have to remember and say these words often, as cringeworthy as they are (I mean, who wants to live according to such a stigmatic mantra?) But I know that if I don’t, if I “go back out”, then all bets are off – no urban garden, no weekend excursion to New York to attend a Chuck Klosterman reading, no trips to the Rodin Museum or the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia; there will be no rebuilding from scratch the life I’ve always wanted, on which I’ve been working mightily for you, for me, for us. You won’t get to see any of it. I’ll set all my tools down. In fact, you and I? We won’t ever meet.


Published by Abby Higgs

Blog: Writer Humanitarian Face-plant Extraordinaire

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