Free Shrugs

*this is one of 147 drafts in my ‘drafts’ folder of this blog…Hi My Name Is Lane and I Can’t Follow Through* 

I was talking to a friend on the phone last night. Sharing our troubles and hearing her laugh and laughing myself. And I cried a little. Out of joy or pain or general confusion and overwhelming joy for how much I love this person.

Then she said “Why do I love telling you my problems? You almost NEVER give me a clear answer about what I should do.”

And we both laughed. (did I mention I’m very hilarious) Because I don’t. I’m a very helpful friend.

The truth is that I love to talk. Oh my gosh do I love to talk. But the only thing I love more than talking is listening. With brief pauses of the sound of my voice to ask more questions. I have so many questions. And if you are willing to answer them, I’d love to listen. To listen to you. I am happy to hear anything you want to tell me, and I’m even happier if you want to know what I think. I have so many ideas. To share.

If you come to me to talk something out or ask for help, I might just:

  • share my experiences, in glaring detail, many of which are likely to make you feel better about yourself
  • give advice on what I might have done, or what I might not have done, but what we probably both should have done and did not do
  • send links to articles I have read or blogs that are relevant
  • create an inspirational string of emojis just for the occasion, almost always ending with dancing-cat-twin-ladies because we are ALIVE goddamnit let’s celebrate
  • google it
  • tell you have no earthly idea what to say but man do I love you…SO much…did I mention I love you and have no idea what you should do?

It’s not that I didn’t give her cut and dried directions and advice because I don’t have strong feelings or large opinions. Oh, I have strong feelings. Feelings that come out like fire and opinions that I unintentionally deliver like a slap. I have lists of things ‘not to be believed’ and bookmarks of ‘position papers written by someone else that I could have written if I were that smart.’ Sometimes I wish, just for a moment, that I felt LESS about ANYTHING. That I just thought ‘meh’ like all the kids are texting to each other these days.

Can you imagine being that free? Global warming? meh. Equal pay? meh. Misogyny in pop music? meh.

My real answers to those issues start with !!!!!! and end with #$&*&&**@(($.

But my firmest stance can almost always be softened (just a touch) by a person possessing the patience to wait for the noise of my idea to die down enough for them to insert a logical counterpoint. A measured contradiction.

I don’t love being wrong, but I obey logic. Throw some at me, I can’t dismiss it. It’s a physical impossibility. Like gravity or me having a good hair day. Laws of nature.

I live in and for the gray area, doing my best to draw always disappearing lines in the sand of that area. I draw the lines for the joy of feeling clarity, and I watch them disappear with an appreciation for all the conversations that lay in the area of irresoluteness.

Perhaps it’s how it always has been, but there seems to be a pressure in life to be in the black and white. When almost nothing is. And instead of embracing that freedom, we cling harder to the idea of delineation. There is right and wrong. Liberal or Conservative. Breastfed or Bottles. Red Vines or Twizzlers. We push back and plug our ears when our position is questioned instead of just listening, accepting, changing and realizing that in all of the above cases all of the interesting realizations, all the juicy conversations, all the chances to show someone love and compassion, lie in the gray area. Except the licorice thing. Twizzlers are garbage don’t try to argue.

And this long convoluted explanation is the answer to why my friend comes to me to talk, to ask, to wonder, even when I don’t give her a yes or a no. A stay or a go. Because she knows, probably always knew, that there is something to both sides.

She comes for the fire of my indignation (always indignant, that’s my thing) and the freedom of my shrug.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! YOU SHOULD NOT STAND FOR IT! But it’s complicated…so tough…maybe just wait it out? SUCH BULLSHIT THOUGH. *confused shrug*

Available for consultations on your problems.



4 thoughts on “Free Shrugs

  1. Love a good shrug… Maybe because I’m bad at shrugs. I like the answers, the black and white. And some grey sometimes. On deep matters that no one can explain but your heart. And I like talking it allllll out. Glad you have connections that are keeping you laughing and crying and emoji-ing! Sending lots of love to you and your cute girlies and Dave. xo, B

    Sent from B*s phone


  2. A heartfelt shrug is what we are all looking for when we reach out to a friend, isn’t it? We almost always have (too many) answers, a shrug is what we don’t have.
    BTW, so glad you are back to blogging :).

    {a fellow draft blogger who has made a resolution to blog more this year but is not really fond of resolutions so will probably not blog that much more often :)}

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