I wanted to be a writer. Really, I wanted to be an author. If I’m quite honest with my deepest self, I wanted to be the next J.K. Rowling. I wanted to create a world where a person like me could escape to.
Because that’s all I wanted growing up, escape.
I often felt like unwanted baggage, shuttled every few days between my divorced parents current dwellings. I had trouble keeping track of where I was meant to be, of all the little things (the books, the keys, the toiletries) that needed to come along with me, of who was mad at whom and why. I was often frustrated, angry, scared.
And books are a most excellent escape.
As an adult all I wanted was to run away to make a better place for myself. A stable place where everything was safe, everything in its right place.
I made rules for my adult life. I do not yell. I apologize and make amends, even when I think I’m right. I acknowledge the feelings of others, even when I do not understand. I show gratitude. I am intentional in my expressions of love. I am gentle.
But life cares not for rules. It’ll throw those lemons anyway. A crippling anxiety disorder diagnosis at 24. The loss of the complete body of my written work during the transfer of files to a new computer at 26. A long series of unsatisfying jobs. Filing my first sexual harassment complaint. Getting fired a few months later. Trying to retreat back to my art only to be told by those who purported to love me that this was unhealthy. Returning to the unsatisfying workforce. Suffering another extreme bout of my anxiety disorder.
But if there’s one thing I can do, it’s make that lemonade.
When my mental health issues sap my energy and my medication dulls my creativity I can retreat back into the old things, the crochet projects. When someone suggests putting these creations into a children’s book, I can drop the idea of being the next phenomenon and instead create my truth, tell the world what I needed to be told, that I’m important, that my presence in this world is meaningful and wanted, that, despite all my imperfections, I am loved.
It took me a solid year, but it’s here, my first book, All the Ways You’re Important to Me. Imperfect and self-published and a truly honest expression of who I currently am as a writer and artist. I have never been more nervous about one of my pursuits. I have also never felt so accomplished and proud.
Make that damn lemonade. Life’s gonna keep throwing those lemons anyway.
I’m grateful for however you’d like to show your support.