“The scariest moment is always right before you start.”
Probably, the most accurate statement I’ve ever read. But, I went for it.
Christmas of last year I decided to share with my family that I had started to write book, and as the supportive people I know and love, they offered encouragement and asked what about. My desire to be a writer wasn’t a foreign concept to them, but knowing that the subject matter was, I slowly went on to explain how I was always incredibly insecure growing up and now having overcome that wanted to write about all the lessons I learned as I worked to overcome it… As my eyes moved from face to face they were pleasant, smiling even, but their eyes returned messages of confusion. “The girl that everything came easily to, couldn’t figure out self-confidence…” I mean, could I blame them for not understanding? I had been hiding a major part of my life for over 20 years, and all they knew of younger me was the girl who loved to bake cakes, played first chair flute, graduated with a 4.3 GPA and wanted to be an Engineer.
It’s interesting, isn’t it? How you can keep the people closest to you completely unaware of the biggest parts of your story if you want to. It was never hard for me to keep my strongest emotions inside. After all, I was an introvert and when my family assumed I was just being my normal quiet self, my mind could be going a million miles a minute somewhere very distant. Writing for me was like living life in my own personal soundproof room. I spent most of my life screaming at the top of my lungs on to sheets of paper that would later be discarded or lost. Stories of myself and of a girl much like me, stories of some made up love and of my own personal tragedies would pile up in my journals to never be heard by anyone. Simply because I was ashamed of the emotions I felt and what others would think of them, which was a direct reflection of how insecure I was about simply being me. Everything I wrote I quickly dismissed as too sad, too dark, too optimistic, or too racy…It was as if I needed some sort of justification for the way I felt and even more so to tell those things to the world.
In the 7th grade I obtained my first copy of On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft by Stephen King from the library and it easily earned a place on my bookshelf next to stories like Beloved and Invisible Man, but for completely different reasons. Unlike the stories of Morrison and Ellison that I loved to read, it gives you the pep talk that every aspiring writer must hear to go forth and confidently create those stories that everyone else loves to read… But, even with this added confidence writing remained the door I left unopened. It just wasn’t the safe option and it most definitely wasn’t the easiest. I took the path that guaranteed a nice paycheck without the need to escape my comfort zone, and I never looked back. I packed away my journals, my daydreams stayed little clouds of inspiration instead of being developed further into poems or stories, and never questioned being a writer again… That is, until my sister bought me a new copy of On Writing for my birthday last year (it has way less character than my damaged and stained version, but what it lacks in character it made up for with perfectly timed motivation). As I skimmed through the pages while sitting by the pool one day, I landed on one of the more popular exerts:
“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. …this book…is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.
Drink and be filled up.”
And, right then I decided to go for it. I had once told myself that the world would be OK without ever hearing anything I had to say, but would I be OK? From there the idea transformed over the past year from a book about my Mom, to a book about overcoming my insecurities, and finally to this blog where I’m bound to touch on those items and more. But, the underlying message is that I’m going for it for real this time. Now, unlike other blogs, I will not guide you to the Perfect Lipstick Dupes and the 15 Reasons Why Your Boyfriend Can’t Stand You, because to be completely transparent, I haven’t figured any of that out. I don’t have the answers (if anyone really had all the answers to life, we wouldn’t need to read those blogs would we?). I’m also not here to sell you anything or to make you subscribe or any of that. Instead, this is 100% for me. My release. The refining of a craft and revitalization of a passion that I have left behind time after time for safer options. A blog that is truly self-help… for myself. But, if you happen to get some inspiration along the way, I’m glad you found your way here too.
I wouldn’t have made it to this point on my own. Sometimes you can will yourself right to the very edge, but still need a little push as you jump. So, thank you to my Mom for always being there as whatever it is that I need at any given moment. Thank you to my Dad who (as a younger me was far too prideful to admit) is the biggest blessing I was ever given. Thank you to my Grandma who… just gets me. Thank you to my Sister for the unintentional motivation. Thank you to my Aunt PJ who isn’t afraid to speak her mind through her many published works – a true source of inspiration; I promise to write my book some day! Thank you to my friends (D., O., and G. especially) who liked the real me before I even really knew who she was and constantly support all my endeavors. And, thanks to you for reading. I hope you continue to.
Here’s to a 2017 full of getting up, getting well, getting over, and getting happy. Happy New Year.