Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All in a Row

I don’t stand in rows, unless I have to. Unless that would be considered good manners. And patience. Then I Row Stand with the best of them.

But otherwise…I don’t understand rows. All that clustered sameness. All that fitting into other people’s boxes and shoes. All that waiting… waiting…waiting.

When you make your own line. You’re first. There’s no one to follow.

The first time I made my own row, I trembled and shook.What would the Line Makers say? Whose footprints would walk down the beach before mine? Where would I go now that I wasn’t waiting for the person in front of me to move?

Freedom. Ahhh… the sweet skies above. Limited only by myself.

So I re-wrote my book. Saying all the things I wanted to breathe and forgetting that it was for other people. In those moments, the writing was for me. And it felt good.

Then I bought that dress. The one I passed by because it was too… beautiful.

I asked Matt to hold me. Because I felt like it. I wanted his arms. And I let myself be held.

And I shaved my head. Yes, really. I have always wanted to do it. I thought it would be pixie like. I left just enough hair to have hair and wispy bits beside my face. But I wasn’t sure when I met my new reflection. She was pretty. Not like me. Not at all. I wished I were her. I wondered what it might be like. I am looking forward to finding out. Because now she doesn’t look like someone who waits behind.

What about you? Where do you stand on the issue of rows? A time to line up and a time to start your own line? No need to head shave… unless you have always wanted to. Then perhaps you should :)

PS- I take no responsibility for shaved heads as a result of this post.

PSS-No snails were harmed during the taking of this photo.

[image courtesy]


  1. I'm standing up making my own line. Watch out if someone pushs me out the way.
    No head shaving for me.
    Another great read. Love it.

  2. You know, when it comes to your shaved head, I can't help but feel partly responsible hehe :) I bet it looks great on you!

    This probably doesn't surprise you but I. Do. Not. Do. Rows. I will avoid all of life's rows like the plague and despite the trouble it's always got me into, I'm glad of it.

    There's just something that feels so terribly wrong about doing things the way everyone else has done it. It feels like I'm being lazy, not trying to find a better way.

    Except when it comes to writing. Not because I'm not ready to make my own path, because there's some things worth conforming for - but not toooooo much :D

  3. Shell- good for you. Here's to all the Makers of Own Lines :)

    Wendy- No, doesn't surprise me :) And writing is worth a bit of following to learn the rules, but then I'm outta the line :)

  4. My hair has never been shorter than at my shoulders, so no haircuts please!

    This post really has me thinking about making a stand in my writing. I am starting a whole new line, I want to break all the molds and stereotypes that I have seen in lately in my genre.

    Watch out Line Makers there is a new girl in town.

    Blessings Tabitha!

  5. Wow, that's a tough one. If we're writing purely for ourselves and our own personal enjoyment, then I think we can avoid the lines and do whatever makes us happy. But if we're wanting to take part of traditional publication, then I think we have to stand in line and wait our turn. And we have to conform to what the reader wants. I'm learning that it isn't just about what I want (althougth that would be nice). If I want to SELL books, I also have to learn what the reader wants too and try to blend this with my desires.

  6. I, too, am trying to pick my battles. Make my own line for myself and my family, join the right lines patiently for jobs/agents...

    And I had a pet snail when I was a kid, because I was allergic to everything else. He had a black shell with a white spiral, and his name was Ralph.

  7. I've always been a goody two shoes. Stand in line. Do what I'm told. Inside, was a rebel, straining to come out. You're my inspiration, Tabitha, although I'm not going to shave my head. Is there a photo of you that you could share?

  8. To be honest, I think I'm a line stander. I wish I wasn't so much, but I am. I'm afraid of starting a new row. Maybe I'll have to try one of these days :)

  9. I'm probably a line stander. I tend to think about being a line starter. I have long hair. I think about cutting it.

    Straight From Hel

  10. Hey!

    I have a tendency to avoid lines. I'll do something else until it empties and just walk right up to the counter. I wonder what that says about me!

    I love that line about you looking in the mirror and wanting to be her. Beautiful!

  11. I'll wait in line if I have a good tabloid magazine to read.

    I shaved my head too. I do it every once in a while like a Rastafarian. To clear the energy.


  12. I walk in a line when necessary, but then I want out. But I don't think I'll be shaving my head any time soon.

  13. Loved the photo and so understand the sentiment. It's the reason I can't post those Day things...Wordless Wednesday, TMI Friday. I just can't...conform to it. Couldn't join a sorority due to Dress The Same Day. Hate crowds, hate lines...always trying to get out from under the weight of all that SAME.

  14. I'm in awe that you re-wrote your whole manuscript. Ouch and BTW, I'm doing that very thing right now. It's a blisteringly painful experience. About the shaved head, I do believe you are beautiful with your new look. It's a pixie, right? Wow, I wish I was as bold as you. There are so many things I would like to boldly do!

  15. I walk in lines when I must but I hate it so much that I feel like I might break loose and run. I'm sure that says I'm neurotic or, more kindly, have zero patience. I've tried to think about other things, or like Suzanne read a mag, but I never settle into it. I'm afraid I'd much rather run free than choose the safety of a herd. As for shaving my head--never. I have such a small head I'm sure I'd be a Pinhead. However, I do have short hair, easy and no fuss. I love your wonderfully-written posts, always make me think about something.

  16. I loved this post! I called my fiance over to check out the snail picture and what you said of them not being harmed during the photoshoot. :D You had us laughing so hard! Thanks so much for that! Too funny!
    PS. good for you and your shaved head! Bold!

  17. I can stand in a row when necessary but the urge to poke that dominoe in front of me is never far away.

  18. Yes! I love this post! It's like a direct challenge. I'm a big line person. I stand in lines all the time and then I worry about how I'm standing. Am I doing it right? Am I in the right line? So I go and stand in all the others, too, just to be a team player? Just to show I can do it, too?

    I'm trying to make my own lines. I'm trying to build courage. My first task involves me, a guitar (potentially) and a room full of people. Oh, and my own words. We'll see how that goes.

  19. I am afraid to start lines of my own. Too scary. I don't mind standing in the lines of others but generally prefer to go on my own and don't expect anyone to follow.

  20. I have to confess I am a line-stander, but only physically. I rebel at the process by going somewhere else mentally. I also love to people- watch and create backstories for other people who are joing me in line.
    One way I am NOT a line stander but perhaps, leading the line, is in my writing. I am the only writer in the history of my family and therefore,somewhat an oddball. I like it that way.

  21. I don't like to stand in lines. Even for a Dean Koontz signing I left and came back twice. Had dinner and stopped off at my house. After I came back, I was the second to the last person to get an autograph (and give him a copy of my book). I just can't see standing in aline.

    Stephen Tremp

  22. I try to make my own way. My husband and I refer to the line standing as sheep mentality. I'm cool with not being like everyone else. :) I'm not shaving my head anytime soon though.

  23. I want to call you brave, but maybe I'm the coward? I stand in lines all the time. I don't like being the one in front, having to pave my own way...but I'm learning.

  24. I refuse to my students' desks into rows, even though sometimes that might make my life easier (less chit-chat).

  25. Wow! Such braveness! I cut my hair to my chin once and cried for days. I don;t mind rows or lines. But I do get antsy in super crowded places. I like having room to move and breathe. (and whip my hair around) :)

  26. This post made me think you have a bit of rebel in you, Tabitha.

    I'm a follower in general, so getting in line comes naturally to me. Though sometimes I'm forced to form my own line.

  27. Karen AH - whip that hair girl :) Sounds like freedom

    Katie- good for you. I never had my kids sit in rows either. Boring. Chit chat is sometimes a good thing.

    Sarah- :) learning IS brave

    Roni- sheep mentality- I like that.

  28. eileen- yes, just a bit of rebel... some might say :)

    Stephen- I like that

    Ava- nothing wrong with odd balls.

    Lori- that sounds very balanced.

    cindy- oh good for you. all the very best. That sounds like starting your own line to me :)

  29. Strange fiction- Poke the dominoe - go on. Do it :)

    thank you Ellie.

    helen- nothing wrong with line standing sometimes.

    Tricia. Oh I am glad you like them. Thank you.

    Wine and words- same has a heavy weight for sure.

    susan M- fair enough. :)

    Suzanne- why am I not surprised? :))

    Kristen- still looking in that mirror :)

    Tamika- good for you. I'll be cheering.

    Jody- I get ya. There is balance needed in all things. But if we aren't writing from our own sense of who we are then I think we cheat our readers.

    ckhb- yes battle picking is a good thing.

  30. Thanks all for engaging in the discussion :)

  31. I'm a little late, at the end of a busy day.

    No rows for me, Tabitha. No rows, except when to non-row might hurt feelings unnecessarily.

    There could be no cross without one line intersecting another. All rows will never tell the whole story.

  32. Tabitha I always love reading your blog because you never fail to lift me up through your words and inspire. Good for you rewriting to say what you want and not what you think others want to hear. I had been struggling over coming to terms with the same but it is a liberating and refreshing feeling! I was always a trail blazer, somewhere along the way I fell into the fold with everyone else and jumping out of that flowing line to once again blaze my own path was definitely difficult but so much more worth it in the end, I have truly found what makes me happy!

    I too shaved my head once. Junior year of high school and just the back underside so when my hair was down it was my little secret! I loved it but it was too cold in winter and itched coming back in because I completely Bic'd it so I didn't do it again lol

  33. Trailblazer or Trail follower? Hmmm...I used to be the latter and still is but slowly evolving into the trailblazer (line maker) role. I crave originality and spontaneity, what fun is sameness? I get annoyed when I hear someone say there is no such thing as originality anymore, it's all been done before. I don't believe that. With that mindset we become complacent and lost in redundancy. Why not step out and test new waters even if others disapprove and laugh. Isn't that what all the remarkable trailblazers before have gone through? This was really a thought-provoking trip you've put me on this a.m. Tabitha. Good for you for breaking the ranks!