Have I ever told you about my first editor? I wrote a column in my early twenties for a local magazine where we used to live. It sort of fell into my lap after I had been named one of the town’s sexiest singles (I know, I know).
Anyhow, the editor of this magazine had a prolific career in publishing. He had lived and worked in all of the big markets, and moved/took this job to be near his ailing parents. He called me one day, out of the blue, and asked me to lunch. ‘I’m going to get fired’, I thought. But no, he wanted to tell me I needed to write, and in forty years of publishing, I was only the third person he had told that to.
No, I said. I believed that God and the Universe wanted me to do something with the abuse I had endured. What, I didn’t know, but at the time that was what I believed.
He stared at me intently. ‘I think you’re wrong,’ he said.
We would revisit this conversation on occasion, quite frequently, actually, and then I got married and had kids. And then we moved, our oldest was diagnosed with autism, and I chose not to go back to work to make his therapies a priority.
‘Have you thought maybe this is God or the Universe telling you to take this time to write that book?’ he asked. In truth, my old editor called me on my deepest dream that I thought impossible, that me, of all people, could actually write.
So, I started writing. I cranked out a book. And then our second son was diagnosed with autism. Everything went to the back burner.
Then, a few years ago, in late 2013, I started writing again. And then I started blogging, to keep me in the habit of writing, and it was an easy way to document the lives of our children.
Then, on a whim, I signed up to go to a conference in June 2014. And there, in all their glory, were my people, my weirdos, the misfits whose brains were just as odd as mine, and for the first time in my life, I was with my people.
That’s an unnerving experience if you’ve never had it. You go through life, you make friends, fantastic best friends, but they don’t understand the storm of words and ideas that swirl inside your brain and keep you up at night, the ones you keep to yourself for fear that no one will understand. To be in the presence of people that understand just that, is almost shattering to your core. It’s a shift in the paradigm of your universe, that there are other people like you, that maybe your ideas aren’t so crazy and far-fetched, and that maybe, just maybe, this is where you were meant to be all along.
And so, all of a sudden, you think okay, maybe I can do this. I went viral two months later. Okay, I thought, maybe my words really can make a difference. I started meeting other creative people, people who had the same shit storm swirling inside their brain. And then, last spring, I met Harmony from Modern Mommy Madness. Meeting her has been life changing, and I hope for each and every single one of you, that you each have a working partner and friend like her. The craziest and epic-dumbshit that sits in my brain I can tell her, and guess what— she has the same crazy and epic dumbshit inside her brain. We’re working on some of that epic dumb shit and it’s AMAZING.
Shit started to happen last year, good things, fantastic, set-your-soul on fire things. But then the naysayers also started.
‘No one really makes it as a writer.’
‘That’s a cute/fun hobby.’
‘Thank God your husband supports you.’
‘Is your husband okay with you writing?’
‘You don’t have a degree in English.’
‘Hardly anyone ever gets a book published.’
The list goes on and on and on and on. It tapped into my fear of failure.
So I shut out the noise, and kept telling myself that I finally accepted (and that’s the biggest part and challenge), that this is my purpose in life. I finally accept it, 37 years in, that my words are the what I am supposed to contribute to this world. That maybe I didn’t have to do something with the horrors that happened to me, but yet use those feelings to be a better writer, and reach those that need it the most, that I can use those feelings to tap into your inner core and question your reality and perceptions, that is what I am meant to do. Maybe five people will read my words, or maybe five million. I don’t know, and that part doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that I move forward with the intention of living my purpose.
That acceptance is powerful. That power also means that the naysayers will get louder, and I will have to work harder to shut out the noise, and I might have to buy stock in ear plugs.
But, big shit happens when you finally have the clarity of your goal.
So, that’s my resolution. To work towards the goal of doing more creatively, and writing more. Small and large steps everyday, resolute in shutting out the noise. To own who I am, and to no longer cower in my fear of failure.
I want this for you, too. What are we going to do, together? To fight fear in the face and accomplish epic fucking things?
I can’t wait to see what happens.