I learned a number of years ago that your reality is your reality and it doesn't necessarily occur to you while you're growing up that there's anything really special or different about it.
But it's a lesson I forget.
I mean, you know I've been saying for ages and ages that I'm writing a book. And I have been, sort of, this whole time. I mean, on and off. But I get so bogged down. First, I was bogged down with emotion and exhaustion. I needed to write about suicide to help get it out.
But I was also so mired in grief that I would write in circles and not get much of anywhere, much like a dog trying to find that best spot on the pillow and you're watching like, seriously? You're going to turn around again? And again? Even though you're in the exact same place? Just lie down, for god's sake.
Also, I was stuck on my dad's story. And I couldn't figure out how to make it mine. Even though it was mine all along. I just didn't understand how.
That was me.
And now I do. It is fully mine.
But then I have so much insecurity. Oh my god insecurity. Who cares what I think? What do I really have to say? Who do I think I am?
I've asked myself these things even though last year Leigh sat me down and made me watch this fabulous Brené Brown TED talk on vulnerability and shame. (And if you haven't seen it, it is one of the best ways you can spend 20 minutes. I promise.)
Also, I have two kids and I'm tired.
Oh, and I am a kick-ass procrastinator. I bet I could totally win a procrastination contest.
Recently my dear friend Diana, who has for years been one of my most encouraging friends, sent me Big Magic. I haven't gotten very far, but the message is such a good, positive one. (Years ago I quit Eat, Pray, Love somewhere in Pray, because I just got tired of Elizabeth Gilbert. Not her writing--her. But this book is really resonating with me.)
And recently something happened that really drove the positive messages, the ones that say that you can do it, that you have something to say, and that at some point, you really will get it together, home.
It was this: I am taking a memoir writing workshop at Politics & Prose bookstore. In the second class, we were partnered to talk about our projects. My partner grew up in a cult. That's what she's writing about.
She's is worrying about how to write it, making it interesting enough, and giving it a good enough title that people will want to read it.
And I was all, "People will want to read it. I'm dying for you to write it so I can read it. You can title it just about anything and people will be interested."
She said, "Why?"
And I said, "CULT! You grew up in a cult! You had crazy, terrible experiences. This doesn't happen to everyone!"
Right?!? Wouldn't you want to read it?
But her reality is her reality, and she's worried about being good enough. About having an interesting enough message. About other people caring about what she has to say.
And I think, my goodness, if I'd grown up in a cult and managed to escape, I'd be all, hey! Listen! I have all these interesting stories that you need to hear!
Or would I?
Because insecurity is a mean little bitch, and fear and shame work hard to keep us small and quiet.
But I think finally, finally I may be done with small and quiet. I might be able to shove fear and shame to the side, at least most of the time. And so I'm going to commit.
This is really and truly the year I'm going to get it done.