when nobody’s watching

(1)

(2)

I am who I am when nobody’s watching.

I am someone who does the dishes when I’m upset, who views cleaning the bathroom as a valid step towards conflict resolution. My desire to have things kept clean is eclipsed by my need to have things to clean when I’m upset. I therefore leave messes behind so they’ll be there when I need them.

I am someone who gets lost in the sounds of things. Sometimes I get the pizza cutter out of the drawer and slide it off the counter a time or two just because I love how it sounds. If love the sound of someone’s voice, though, I will often fall asleep while he or she is telling me a story.

When nobody’s watching I’m always afraid that I’ll kill myself before someone comes back. If I could figure out how to do it without leaving a mess for someone else to clean up, I’m sure I’d have done it by now.

I am someone who talks to the cats, but without anthropomorphism. I don’t pretend they’re people, don’t give them voices or human traits. I talk to them like they’re my friends, but cats. I’m aware, while it’s happening, that if I recorded these moments they’d be funny. But I am someone who believes that the act of observing something alters that which is being observed.(3)

When nobody’s watching I often plug in my electric guitar and play at embarrassing volumes made all the more embarrassing because I’m not very good at it. I am someone who seeks the purest form of everything. Right or wrong doesn’t matter so much to me as the reason behind why something was done. If I’m going to play my guitar badly, I’m going to do it loudly.

I am someone who doesn’t really believe anything good that anyone has every said about me. I am fully aware that this makes me incredibly difficult to deal with and will often let my friends leave me, even though I love them, because I don’t want to deal with me very much either. When nobody’s watching, I search the internet to see how they’re doing today.

I am someone who believes that there is a hint of joy in every laugh, and that joy is pure. So I do what I can to make people laugh even though the balance in my own head tends more towards sadness. When nobody’s watching I also believe in the purity of this sadness and sometimes I just cry. I am a vegetarian because in those moments my cats seem to understand what nobody else can see and it’s one of the smallest things I can do to thank them.

When nobody is watching is when I write my best work, especially songs. When nobody is watching I let go and get lost. When nobody is watching I can let go of my ego and almost forget who I am.

This is who I am when nobody’s watching.


  1. Finn, over at A Life Less Ordinary, wrote this excellent post inspired by, of all things, a Heineken Billboard that read You are who you are when nobody’s watching.
  2. I have hereby achieved my dream of adding a footnote to no text at all.
  3. A loosely stated version of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
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