I used to write to erase, avoid, and rub away any emotional and psychological pain I was feeling. It worked…..for a long time and then one day–
I kept trying and trying but I would wind up feeling worse and worse with each journal entry.
I realize now that fiction writing is where I “right my wrongs”. Journaling cannot be where I do that, not in the place I am at in my life as a mother, an adult….I feel so yucky when I struggle with reality in my journaling, when I try to rub away and justify and blot out pain. I just want to lie out on the page what is happening and not judge, analyze, justify, or change it. I finally am interested in “being”, just existing and, in that, accepting where things are in my life.
Almost three years ago, I gave birth. Once in January 2004 and then again, four months later in April. I know what you are thinking–does this woman have super powers? Does she have two vaginas and two uteruses?
The answer to all of those questions is a resounding NO. One vagina and one uterus is enough, thank you.
I will give you a clue: one child came out of my vagina and the other came out of my computer.
Well, my two kids are now both roughly two and a half: My April baby, a true stubborn Aries, is an award-winning novel on the shelves of your local virtual and non virtual bookshelves, and my Capricorn, the wise sage that she is, an espresso-bean, brown-eyed two year old girl with the silkiest chocolate brown hair and the creamiest clear peach skin you have ever seen.
For me, I couldn’t have done one without the other. Both of my “girls” were created in the most natural way and fulfilled a part of me that had been a barren ghost town in the driest part of the country. When they were “born”, I was suddenly soaked with rain and joy. That part of me that had been so dry was my spirit.
My desire to publish my first book was not about money or fame (if you are an author you are laughing at that notion anyway!). Similarly, I didn’t want to have a child to heal some kind of childhood issue or to see a little “Hannah” walk around or to fulfill my societal expectation of two kids, husband, and a house and dog (I have three cats, anyway, and no dog).
Publishing a book and having a child felt like a gift I was giving my world, myself, my family. It was a symbolic way of saying, “Here is the purest part of me. Here is the purest intention. Here is faith and trust.” Because while the birthing of each was all me, the rest was not. The rest was on “them” so to speak. Giving birth and publishing my book were acts of trust in the universe (and trust in each of these “babies” as well). When each were “born” I whispered, “I trust you completely.” My job now is to guide them and help them become independent, vibrant members of society.
When I thought about getting pregnant I did, very easily, despite being told I was not ovulating and, therefore, infertile unless stimulated with drugs.
When I thought about publishing my book, I did, despite being rejected by over 200 editors and agents.
The desire to procreate–¬ whether it’s a book or a child– comes from you, inside you. We all have different reasons, but the desire is the same. It’s intense, focused, and filled with energy. Just like there can be obstacles to having a child, there is also obstacles to publishing your book. But, both can happen, and they can happen when you choose. You just have to take matters into your own hands. Self-publish. Yes, it’s okay to do this. Just like it is okay to adopt or use fertility drugs or a surrogate. Yes, both can cost a lot of money, but look what you get. It’s so worth it. Getting pregnant was easy for me but a miracle. I got pregnant without drugs when I was told I was infertile. Publishing my book was extremely hard and not a miracle at all. I published my book with my own resources, my own money. Even though both processes were different, they produced the results I wanted, and, for that, I am grateful.
I am a recovering addict. My addiction was control. I was addicted to trying to control many things in my life. In particular, the way I thought and felt and the way others thought and felt.
Now when unpleasant thoughts, feelings, emotions arise, I make space for them. I know that sounds kind of simplistic and a little naive. But it works. Yep. Like the other night I received a nasty email from a client (who later apologized for “having a bad day” and “taking it out on you.” But this email was so out of the blue, and it just took the wind right out of me. If this were a year ago, I wouldn’t have slept that night. I would have obsessed over and over, in my head, about how to make it all perfect, make all the bad stuff go away. Now the funny part is, the reality, is that she was out of line, and I hadn’t done anything to warrant her nastiness. But in my head, I could fix her and whatever was wrong, and I was going to stay up all night and figure it out in my little head with my thoughts and feelings and emotions.
But, this wasn’t a year ago. This was this week, and I allowed myself to get anxious and feel…whatever. I literally said out loud, okay. Make space for those feelings. I sat in front of my computer and let it all rise up…and within an hour or so, the feelings quieted down, and I composed a response email that was professionally assertive and then went to bed….as I walked into my bedroom the feelings rose up, and I lay in the dark and whispered, “It is okay feelings, just curl up and go to sleep beside me…”
This works for me. A novel thing: letting myself feel things and not necessarily “doing” anything about the feelings. Just feeling them. This works for me with the kinds of feelings that arise from a sort of irrational, old place.
So, I currently attend meetings at “Control Agenda Anonymous.” Perhaps you haven’t heard of us? We, of this organization, struggle with trying to control the things in our lives that cannot be controlled such as out thoughts and feelings and others thoughts and feelings. Gee, you have no idea what I am talking about? Then you must be a Tibetan Monk or a Yogi. You must not be a native of this country…..