This Might Surprise You But…

monkey behind a tree
Brian Hogan

WRITING PROMPT: Write about something in your life that might surprise people.

How do I know what’s going to surprise anybody else? 

I was surprised to learn, at age 10, that Santa Claus wasn’t real, and neither was indestructible parental trust. 

I was surprised to learn that evolution and gravity and germs are still just theories. 

I was surprised to learn that our government has signed treaties not to use weather modification technology which supposedly doesn’t even exist yet. How dutifully responsible of them. 

I was surprised at my 18th birthday party. 

I was surprised when the nursing home I used to work at had a bomb threat called in. I was even more surprised to learn, after trying to help a 90 year old woman out of bed, that it was just a drill. 

I was surprised to learn that people earnestly believe the US two party system gives them real choices. 

Do any of those things surprise you? How do I know? 

So how can I know if my measly little traumas and triggers, or set backs that get bigger will surprise you? 

How do I know if my film festival laurels or screenplay awards will surprise you? They certainly surprised me. And I was even more surprised to learn that none of them came with cash prizes. Though I suppose I shouldn’t have been. 

Would it surprise you to know I’m bashful? 

Everyone just assigns me the role of extravert because I can hold my own at dinner parties. But what nobody sees is the hot bath, fat doobie, and 1/2 season of crap TV I need just to patch myself up after a social gathering when the plastic smile sometimes seems to melt into my face, burning me and hardening that way. 

You can be entertaining and an introvert. 

You can nail a punch line, understand sarcasm, be handy with a zinger 

and still be shy. 

You can dish it but not like to take it, despite whatever stupid limerick you were taught about heat and the kitchen as a kid. It just so happens I like the kitchen but I don’t want it to to be hot in there so I’ve installed Central AC, metaphorically speaking. I can’t actually afford central AC, I’m an artist, and a student for Pete’s sake. But no I cannot take the heat, and no I will not leave the kitchen. Thank you. 

Would it surprise you to know I fear my own shame and I’m ashamed of my fear? 

Life coaches don’t have those right? 

They’ve supposedly taken the cure and seem so secure 

But I just let my imposter syndrome run me through like a skewer 

Until my thoughts have gone tumbling down into the sewer 

Sure that I’ve seen it all and there is nothing newer 

Would it surprise you to know that I’ve been a thief? Or a drug addict? Or a user, a liar or a cheat? Because I have. But would it surprise you to know this cheat has also been a benefactor, a lover, a forgiver, a giver, a hugger, a kisser, a friend, a coach, a healer, an artist, a dreamer, a child, and a fellow human. 

You’ve been all those things too. Don’t act so surprised. 

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About Brian

About Brian

Brian is a Writer, Clarity Coach, Filmmaker and Adjunct Professor who loves teaching and learning, and living in the uncertainty of it all.




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