Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 22

 Today, I read an article by a new author. We were in the submission trenches together. She got a million dollar book contract and I, well, did not.

Anyway, she was talking about balancing writing and family life and how she'd come to the conclusion that she could only do two things at once, write and parent. But she was fine with it, writing and parenting are enough to fill her up.

I closed my laptop grabbed the last remaining treat I have in my house, an old bin of gingersnaps I bought last Thanksgiving, and headed for the refrigerator. As I'm dipping one cookie after another into a kiddie cup of milk, I pondered why this writing stuff is still such a toxic subject for me. I mean, I knew it must be a landmine,
handfuls of stale gingersnap cookies 
painful crap I don't want to stomach. 

When the tenth (or twentieth, who's counting?)  gingersnap thunked in my gut. It hit me. 

I couldn't do it. The balance didn't work for me. I couldn't give my family what they deserved and create a novel. I couldn't do both. Makes me feel like I failed.  

Yes, I made a conscious decision to stay home with my kids and not pursue writing professionally. Yes, I know I've made the right decision for me. Yes, I know that everyone in my family is thriving since I've made that choice. Yes, I know that there are successful authors who didn't even start writing until their sixties. 

No, that knowledge doesn't make it easier. No, it doesn't make me feel any better about myself. No, I don't want to write for the geriatric crowd. 

I don't want to have a pity party here.  I'm good with the decisions I've made, overall. I am feeling so much joy again. I am living!  I moving toward the life I've always (really) wanted but choosing the right path is not always easy. 

Because it brings me back to why I made the decision in the first place. 

Writing a book or losing forty pounds won't change me

at least not the way I imagined in my fantasies. This revelation was a serious sucker punch, believe me. Especially when I know if I kept working at it, I could have a fat book contract too. 
But I don't want to pursue anything else until I'm ready, until I know it's the right time and I'm good with myself. 

In the meantime, the food demons have been dancing across my butt. 

And eating gingersnaps feels a lot like swallowing nails. 

But I'm keeping at it. 

If and when I ever do write again, I want to write for me, not to fulfill unrealistic fantasies or to impress anybody else. No outside influences allowed. 

But first, I'm  chucking the gingersnaps. It's time to make peace with myself.