I had a family member in not so nice words tell me the other day that I should stop writing.
According to them, my writing is worthless. Negligible. It doesn’t matter. I’m not usually one to get into virtual battles, because those require energy of which I have a waning supply, but something about the demand: you need to stop writing, caught me off guard and triggered the deepest part of myself.
The part that has known forever that my one duty on this earth is to share my stories by writing. That’s it and it’s everything. In that moment I felt like an essential part of my being was told to shutdown and leave the building. I responded the only way I know how, which was to say: I won’t. I can’t. I always will. I will never shut-up online. I will write until forever and then after. Because here’s the thing guys, when I write, I save my life. I put my truths online because they belong in the world. I have a voice and I exercise my right to use it every time I hit “publish.”
“At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then — and only then — it is handed to you.”
-Annie Dillard and what I’ve found to be true over the years…it comes, but only if I start.
It gets scarier and scarier to come back on here each time I get a verbal lashing from my family, but it also feels like a dare: don’t quit you stubborn babe, don’t quit yet. There is so much more of my story I wan’t to share and it is constantly ebbing and flowing. I always laugh a little when people say they wouldn’t be able to be a writer because there lives are boring! I love writing from the boring place, here’s hoping I have that privilege soon. I’d love to not have this stuff to filter through. I’d rather toss it all aside and write about the mundane: the way the sun is hitting my feet right now and subsequently warming my soul, the little bit of sky I can see from my seat at the cafe, the way I haven’t had anything to worry about today because my doggy is on vacation.
But subsequently, for me the mundane is the magic. The hours I sat around and did nothing, the countless times I tried and failed and failed again, the 100’s of meetings I’ve been to and stories I’ve heard, the times when I’ve shaken in pain and worshiped the ground I surrendered on. The nothing is always something. Don’t stop talking just because you don’t think you have something to say. I’ve heard and read the most beautiful stories from the very same people who put writers on a pedestal and decided they couldn’t. Like for me, the best artwork in this world comes from the non-artists, the people who make as a hobby, who think they’re bad (myself included), who only made this one thing once. It puts me in absolute awe to think that I am the people I wanted to be.
“We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.”
I remember being a freshman in college, getting a late night tea with a friend, the way she spoke shook me. She could quote her favorite writers at a whim and I remember wanting to do that, knowing I never could. If you have ever conversed with me you know I’m constantly referencing other writers and humans I love and have learned from. That didn’t happen over night, that happened because I didn’t stop trying. I never stopped reading voraciously. I kept writing and researching until the words flowed out easily. There is no secret trick, there is only the knowledge that the only way we become is by beginning.
These last few weeks have been hard and I would be pretending otherwise if I didn’t say they rocked me to my core. But I am still here. Years of on and off sobriety has taught me this: when you stay, you stay. It’s so small, but so big. The world keeps turning, but we decide whether we can keep doing the thing that helps us breath. It’s hard to quit, but I’m telling you it’s easier to stay. Work through the pain and there will be bounty. Sit here, on this beautiful shining day, and there will be magic.