It’s not a simple idea for me to own being a writer. I never wanted to be a writer. It wasn’t something that was ever who I am or in my bones. I didn’t breathe in every moment knowing this is who I am. It just happens. Words come out. It feels better.
I was a scientist once. There was a moment when the world in perfect excellence shattered for me and I was a scientist. I fell deeply in love with Geology and I wanted to be a rock doctor. I wanted to climb mountains and camp along active volcanoes and wear that big, shiny suit to take measurements. I wanted to pick up and analyze rocks. I wanted to weigh and measure and even bite dirt to see what the grains felt like. I was a scientist. And I still stick rocks in my pocket.
To know me is to think of me with every sensory caress of the ocean; every rock that looks special; every butterfly that floats by.
Being a scientist at the time didn’t really take in the needs of a young family. I couldn’t leave my family for field trips to study the earth and really thought about taking them with me. I didn’t have the security of knowing that I could leave and their Dad could run the house. This sounds harsh, but if you think about my first childbirth, it makes sense. I had Kid1. My ex got food poisoning and when I got home from the hospital, I had to make my own dinner. I hit the ground running from that moment on. I’d be hospitalized, and get home with laundry waiting for me. I wasn’t allowed to lift a laundry basket and my help looked like someone willing to carry the laundry basket to and from the laundry room, but I was still on my own for everything else. I couldn’t see leaving my family to study the earth as an option.
Then there was the math. I struggled with math in the 3rd grade when I was suppoed to be memorizing multiplication tables. It wasn’t just the math. It was at a time when I was sitting at a desk next to a boy that kept touching my legs and wanting to explore grown things. I was curious too. My teacher never noticed. I was not at all focused on math. Not having that foundation, I struggled. By the time I got through college level algebra with 2 kids and one on the way, it started to look impossible. I was facing chemistry, calculus, and physics, and it seemed impossible when I had to fit homework in after my family fell asleep. I imagined getting through with really bad grades and I wanted better. I wanted an easier major. I was no longer a scientist, but I fell into being an english major.
English and literature were easier for me. I loved reading from the time I would steal my sister’s trashy bodice ripping romance novels. I loved literary porn from the 8th grade, not realizing how much I was warping my ideals of love and romance and real relationships. I got older and had a family of my own and would spend hours reading books as an escape. Some days I would read 3 novels in a day, forgetting to eat, and barely feeding my family. The housework would sit. I was in bed reading, while my ex was watching television, and it was okay to run away without leaving.
When I was in the 10th grade I started keeping a journal. It started after a breakup and became a place to pour out all of my darkness. I would write and forget about what was bothering me. That first journal was full of terrible men jokes. When I got married, at first I thought it was okay to share everything, so I did. When you share what is hurting you in a way where it was written only for you, it can look hurtful and mean, even if that was never the intention. I began keeping my journal to myself, but the new boundary was never honored. I stopped writing. At one point, I had several entries a day and it was a cleansing ritual. It became sporadic. I remember writing an entry after a 4 year gap. I would write for healing, but it was covered in shame. Then it was hidden, because I couldn’t own how I felt.
In the months where I was still trying to save my marriage, I destroyed and threw away over 20 years of journals. This was at a time when I couldn’t write. I was trying to write creatively, and I couldn’t string together a paragraph. I felt like my writing killed my marriage and I couldn’t get it out because I was so broken. I tried starting a new journal. I wanted it to be new and not include the dark, but more optimism. It was easier to not write. I tried writing a story and got bored while writing. Why would anyone want to read what I’m too bored to write?
In February of this year I started blogging here. It was free therapy. My words made me feel better. It was more positive because bashing people isn’t what I want to do and knowing the words are for someone else means I am held accountable by faceless numbers of blog hits and subscriptions.
But I still haven’t stepped into being a writer. I blog. It’s a hobby. My Dad identifies himself as a writer, and I never liked what that looked like to me. He was writing and I wanted to snuggle. His dreams came with disappointment. Writers are made for rejection. It becomes great material. I think that’s why I’m in love with falling in love and my superficial crushes mean more to me than the men actually did. It might be why I still refer to them as boys.
One day I might call myself a writer. Today I own the fact that the words I string together can be compelling. Much like a train wreck. It’s enough.