Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What No One Else Can Do

After switching on the computer in the morning, I first check email. Then I look at overnight blog stats, take a few minutes to read something inspirational, and then start writing. This morning, however, something drew me back to the email box one more time and I found this:

Dear Beggar:

You and I have never met, as far as I know, but your essay entitled "What Would Holly Say?" struck a chord. At first, I was disinclined to write -- naturally, I was flattered that you should mention me -- and then, at the urging of my writer-husband, felt you would appreciate a response. Now that I'm on the other side of where I used to be, I'd like to offer the following. Feel free to print it if you wish.

You wrote that I was intent on finding a rich husband at one point in my life, and you are correct. My brother and I grew up in poverty, and following the deaths of our parents, lived on our own, sometimes eating whatever we could beg, borrow, and often, steal. If this sounds tragic, it was, but I learned how to survive and I learned you can't rely on anyone but yourself. That's what I told myself and when I made my way to New York City, I was determined to use any means at my disposal to make certain I was never so vulnerable again.

But, as luck would have it, I met a struggling writer -- you may no doubt identify -- who was honest, forthright, and I tried very hard not love him. I didn't want to risk disappointment nor did I wish to find myself scrubbing floors while supporting his dream. Oh, and he couldn't dance either, just so you know.

He was insistent, however, and refused to allow me to play the kinds of games that were essential for relating to the cocktail party set. To this, I wasn't accustomed, but you might say he won me over by his genuineness -- I suppose there's no greater aphrodisiac for a woman than being loved truly. Perhaps, for men as well, though not being one, I can't say.

As to your party, I hope you have a lovely time, but permit me to say, please don't give up being yourself in order to do so. If there is anything I've gained from my own experience, it's this. There will always be those whom we consider more handsome or beautiful, more sophisticated, more adept at everything, but when they've all gone, we're left only with ourselves.

One of my writer's favorite authors is Mark Twain, whom he's fond of quoting, and especially this one: "Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you've never been hurt, live like it's heaven on earth." I notice you've used this line before and find it meaningful. If that is true, remember then, to dance, sing, love, and live without hesitation. No one else can do these things for you, nor can they do them quite like you.



(Note to the reader -- the "letter" above is a work of fiction, with a tip of the hat to Truman Capote. It's the letter I imagine Holly writing, if she could.)
(Creative Commons image by mix2012 via Flickr)
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