I want to write a book. I have always wanted this. Since I was a little girl, aside from wanting to be a baker at age 4, I have always wanted to write, and to design and make clothes. And yet here I am, never fully realising any of those desires. Plus, I’m now a coeliac on a keto diet so baking really isn’t on my radar either!
I studied fashion, and hit roadblocks I wasn’t capable of overcoming at the time. I went back to full-time admin work. More roadblocks appeared along the way each time I tried to pursue the avenues that lit a spark in my mind. Each time I returned to the save path, and each time I could only hold on for a few years before my heart cried out for more.
I’m pretty good at making excuses, and taking the safe path. I am so focussed on staying safe, staying alive, making sure I’ve ticked all the boxes an adult is meant to tick that once I get to the end of the list there is little time/money/energy left over for the me who sits on the bench waiting for serious me to be kind enough to allow some happiness. It sound absurd, but I know I am not the only one. I’m forever just making do, and I’m kind of over it.
What’s this got to do with wanting to write a book? Well, the thing is, despite all my good ideas and desires, I’m not good at endings and I am easily influenced by what other people have done. I’ve been carrying an idea around for a very long time (at least 10 years, possibly longer), and frequently come up with new ideas. I tell myself I’m not smart enough to write that book, I’m too young to write about such a heavy topic, and most infuriatingly I have this absurd belief that I can’t possibly write a reflective book without having a successful ending. What I mean is, at the end of all those self discovery books (or so my brain tells me, since I haven’t actually read many…) the author discusses their clarity and success. I don’t have any clarity or success, or so I believe. I am still very much in the middle of my story, so would it be hippocrytical of me to write my story when it is yet to be finished?
Is it actually ok to write my story as it is and let people know, you know what, we’re never going to have all the answers, but here’s how I’m coping without the answers. Is that acceptable? Would anyone actually feel fulfilled at the end of that? On one hand, I think hey, that could actually be the most important story to be told. It’d be reassuring to go wow, no one really has it all together, but as long as I am working towards understanding myself and my place in life I’m doing ok. But on the other hand I imagine all these people getting to the end being really unsatisfied and thinking, what does she know? She’s not successful. Why am I reading this trash. Ahhh, there it is. My old roadblock. Off to safety I run, because the negative voice is so much louder.
I was chatting to a close group of friends about this, laid all my fears out for them, and joked that I felt like the Shakespeare or Dickens of the “Self Help/Self Discovery” genre. The only hope I feel I can offer my readers is that life is not perfect, no one’s life is perfect, even super successful people aren’t perfect. They’ve just managed to achieve something that you haven’t. Or maybe they perceive where they’re at as a success. My good friends, my voices of reason, the women who do not dress their thoughts up to make you feel good, each said that they would read my book. They told me it’d be a refreshing point of view, and that it doesn’t matter how many pages it takes or how long it takes to read it. They reminded me that it’s about the story, and how as long as it is exactly the length it is meant to be it can be deemed a success.
I feel like success is not part of my vocabulary. I carry a lot of negative self talk, and I constantly tell myself how something is not good enough. Even my excellent always has the voice going “yeah, it’s good, but it could be better”. Sometimes after hearing that voice, and feeling it get heavier each day, I snap when external sources chime in to tell me things could be better. By that point it isn’t even about the thing anymore, it’s about the fact that someone has validated the negative, hateful monster in my mind and feeds its ego. “SEE”, its voice booms, “You’re no good! You’re a waste of space! Just fade into the background because you have no value, nothing to add, no hope at ever being anything or anyone.” I recently discovered this monster is part my first boyfriend. That was a real shock since it has been 10 years since we broke up, and a ton of therapy in between, and I thought I was doing ok. But there, in the quiet, I found that old fear and insecurity just waiting for my weak moment to emerge. The thing about this voice emerging is that part of what I want to write includes this three year chunk of my life that formed so much of my self doubt. Anyone who has been in a very negative relationship that also had some sweet moments can understand the fear of that person hearing what you feel happened and coming back like a hammer telling you that your story is a lie. Could you imagine pouring your heart out, fighting self doubt to get it out there, and after putting your all into a story someone who was there, part of that story, comes in and destroys your credibility.
I’ve failed before I’ve even begun, again.
Every day I fight these thoughts, and I know I’m not the only one.
I wish I could wrap this up in a tidy little package, but the truth is I just can’t right now. This is the truth of how I’m feeling at the moment, floating around trying to find my place and my purpose. I’m constantly wondering what’s the point, and who else is with me on this journey imagining where they want to be and having no confidence to move towards that place. So I’m here, in all my gory glory, digging deep trying to find that little “fuck it, just give it a go” switch. It’s in there somewhere.