I kind of don't recognize myself these days. Or I do, but the self I recognize is one that's been gone so long, I didn't think I'd ever see her again. It's the reader self. The writer self. The dreamer self.
Back in the dark ages, before grad school, before marriage (though not before Lawyer Guy), before babies and all their many disappointments, what I wanted with an all-consuming fire was to publish a novel. On my 25th birthday, I sat down and wrote a list of the Things I WILL (underlined three times) Accomplish Before I Turn 30! and Number One on the list was: Get Published.
Lest you think I've turned into a complete stranger, Number Two was: Have Baby. So, awesome, thank you The Secret; empirical evidence that you're full of shit.
I think Number Three: Get into Doctoral Program is the only one of the goals I actually did manage to achieve before the deadline. But the longer our baby chase took and the sadder I got, the less I cared about my lack of publication. I stopped writing for pleasure, except on this blog. I stopped caring that I'd given up on a dream I'd shivered over since I was seven years old and read The Secret Garden for the first time.
So what the hell has gotten into me the last few months? I've been writing again! After a nearly three-year break! And this winter vacation, I've been reading like I haven't since I was in junior high. I've been reading like a crack fiend: staying up until 3 am to finish one book and then starting the next one when I wake up at 8. Reading a book and a half per day. And all this reading is filling me with ideas for novels to write and with that gnawing, gripping ache in my heart that means: I want this so much I will truly die, just burst apart with a pleasurable kind of pain, if I don't make this happen.
And yesterday, for the first time in ever, I thought to myself that maybe it would be okay if I couldn't have a baby soon. Maybe I still have other dreams I can pursue. Maybe I'm still young enough not to throw in the towel on everything.
I had a lot of chances in the past--meetings with editors and authors--that I squandered out of lack of confidence, self-sabotage, and just plain not being ready yet, so I don't think this will be an easy road. But I want to fight for it. I have the will to win at something again and the need that's maybe strong enough to overcome the fear.
And it's nice to not think about the empty ute for a little while.
(ps-- The cleanse has been modified. It was turning into a starvation diet. I've reinstated dairy and moderate amounts of wheat).
I'm back, and it's hopefully not a once-off!!
4 weeks ago