I Love That Storyline

“I love that storyline.”

I want to say this. Really, I do. Not about some over produced, keenly written screenplay, but about my own life.

It’s so easy to sit down and watch the lives of actors play out on the TV, feeling connected with the stories, but somehow detached from their manufactured feelings, as if we somehow know it’s not completely real. We can say, “Oh, I’ve been through this or that breakup, or heartache,” but walk away feeling OK, maybe even more clear, because it isn’t our breakup, and our heartache.

But, at one point, maybe it was, or will be. When the person we adore more than anyone leaves us, passes on, or gets sick, we don’t proclaim what a great storyline our lives are. We weep. We mourn. We curse God. We writhe in physical and emotional pain. We proclaim how unfair this whole life thing is. We can’t see outside of ourselves.

When we get a few years down the line, and the acute wounds have healed, something shifts. It’s almost like we’re seeing our lives as a movie. We point to that one time when we were stranded on the side of the road in tears, and chuckle. Why did we get so worked up over that? We look fondly on the tenderness of those post-love making moments with Mr. Wrong, touting all the lessons we learned and how much stronger we are because of it. It’s somehow ours, and not.

I wish that I could see all my stuff as mine and not mine, right now. If I could just somehow see this all as the story, my story, the same stuff that I’ll look back at in 5 years as fodder for the journey, instead of the pain that may break me, wouldn’t it be so much easier? If I could see myself as the genius writer, weaving an enviable storyline, instead of a lonely, jobless mom with too much time on her hands, I would have so much more confidence to do the shit I really want to.

I know. I know. I read what I’m typing, hear what I’m saying, and remind myself that this too shall pass. This is just chapter 1,223 in the book of my life. The page will eventually turn, the chapter will end, and a fresh page will appear, ready to be scribbled on. But, where is the pinnacle, where I’m justified for all my toiling? When the jobs come knocking, and I walk down the red carpet, flanked by caps and gowns at graduation, awaiting my name to finally be called?

Awaiting my name to finally be called. That’s what it all comes down to. My turn. My turn to stop wallowing, stop pining, stop spinning because the big IT, whatever IT is, happens. So many years I’ve spent in a box of my own making. I seem to be excellent at construction, but not deconstruction. This past year has been an attempt at deconstructing the judgments and fears I’ve masked as personal standards and beliefs. My first forays into the unknown, to try and make a name for myself, and I’m laid out flat, one denial after another. Rejection, shame, accusations. I so badly just want to go back into my box. So badly. It’s dark and claustrophobic, but I don’t have to deal with the barrage of letdowns. But, if I stay confined, my story doesn’t have a line. It’s not a page-turner because there are no pages. It’s stagnant and dies out like a terrible sitcom with no character development.

I am smack dab in the middle of my own personal character development. I am the screenwriter who is feverishly writing under the pin-spot light of her desk lamp, tearing out pages, crumpling them up, and tossing them out until the floor is unrecognizable for failed ideas. It’s a maddening feeling to be the writer with no story. Every new angle seems to abruptly end, the plot, an enigma in a haze of words.

This is the part where I just wait. It’s the most agonizing part. Who wants to watch some sad lady wait? No one, not even me.

The irony of it all is that I know the waiting is where the good stuff is being tilled and watered to one day be something big and blooming. I know it. I know it and I still yearn for something else. I click on the keyboard daily to remind myself that any writing, however monotonous and bland, is progress, one more piece of a chapter that’s still being developed. Where’s it going? When will I know? Where's the climax? It's somewhere here in the waiting, when I own it all, not as a storyline to be loved for its tall tales, or a hilarious anecdote to make fun of later, but as fully mine, KELLY SCHAUERMANN in big bold letters at the top.