...let me start from the beginning.
My family went on vacation to the east coast to see friends and family a few weeks ago. I left the city tired, burned out and cranky. More importantly, I was done being tired, burned out and cranky so I knew something had to change, I just wasn't sure what.
Over the course of the two weeks we were away, I had a huge range of emotions and ideas of what to do next. I was impossible for a good bit of that time because I was so uncertain about everything, right down to my own identity.
I knew I had to be driving my poor husband crazy, but he was ever patient with me. Finally just over halfway through the trip we stayed up late one night talking and he asked me a question.
He said, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Not the cookie cutter answer you spout to people who ask, but what do you want? Think about it. What do you want to do?"
His implication was "What is your dream?"
I really took this question to heart and came up with a conclusion, one that has been following me all of my life.
I want to be a writer.
His follow up questions were harder, "Why aren't you doing it? What's stopping you?"
Good question. I talk about writing all the time. I dabble in it. Why aren't I serious about it?
What's stopping me?
The only thing stopping me from following my dream is...me. I'm afraid. I've always been afriad. Afraid I wasn't good enough. Afraid I would waste time and energy chasing a pipe dream. Afraid I would let everyone down. Just afraid. I've been afraid all of my life. I don't know why; I never have.
Today I am inspired to write this post because I read a blog by Wil Wheaton (yes, the Star Trek guy). Something he said really spoke to me and showed me something about myself that I would like to share.
Wil Wheaton's blog is called WIL WHEATON dot NET and this post was titled Tears in Rain. Click on the links to read it, it is really good.
Anyway, he said this...
"Part of my Depression is this voice that never stops telling me that I suck. Part of my Depression is this constant fear that everyone will know how afraid of failure I am. Part of my Depression is this relentless worrying, in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary, that I’m never going to do anything that matters."
He put into words all the reasons I never took writing seriously. It is a little voice that says "you suck." It is a constant fear of failure. It is wondering if "I'm never going to do anything that matters." I worry that my daughter and husband won't be proud of me and it is exactly that worrying that causes me to hesitate to do anything at all.
After reading this today I realized something very important about myself. I'm not as afraid as I was once. I still have fear, but I am brave. I am learning how to function despite those fears. Right now, I'm not afraid to write. That is empowering.
In the few weeks since we've been back from vacation, I have made some changes. I went back down to part time at work so I would have more time with my family and I could focus on my writing.
I am writing!
It seems like such a simple thing, wanting to be a writer and writing. But I had to face so many inner demons to get this far. It helps to know that others, like Wil Wheaton, can understand the weight of that struggle.
After it is all said and done, I am more happy than I have been in quite a while. And the most rested I've been in 6 months. I have been able to spend lots of time with my family, which means the world to me. I have been blessed to be home with Zoey for five years until just this past year when she went to school. I've missed that time with her and us all together more than I realized.
And I'm writing. I mean I am really doing it! I havn't been blogging, even though I thought that would be the easier place to start, but I've been working on my book almost everyday. It is such a good feeling to be writing again. I don't have much that I can show to others, but I can see the huge strides I am making in my work and for once that is enough for me.
I've felt a humongous wave of support from my husband and daughter, parents, family and friends that keeps my head high even as those doubts try to flood back in. I'm finally doing it! I'm chasing my dream to publish a novel. I'm done with excuses and feeling guilty for no good reason. Now I can finally write about the act of writing too. What a breakthrough!
I don't know if anyone else out there experiences some of these same emotions. I've always feared that I was the only one who was immobilzed by fear. I'm beginning to see that isn't the case at all, there are many of us who let those little voices of doubt carry a little too much weight too often. I believe it is time I talk about it. It is when we face our fears that they become the fuel for great accomplishment. This is a good start for me.
In the meantime, I'll be writing!