There's a lot of heart that goes into writing. Some people never write because they know how painful it might be. Thanks to writer's workshop when I was in high school, I've always been open to writing, sharing my writing, and receiving feedback. Even when feedback really made me think and I had to work at my writing and it hurt, I still wrote. But the pain I've felt the last few months was so intense that I thought my heart couldn't handle being a writer any more.
Back in July, I shared news of my agent being a fraud. Since then, I've spent a lot of time figuring out what's next for me as a writer. I sent queries out. I got rejections. I considered giving up. I gave myself grace to give myself space. I found a way to write again. I sent more queries. I got more rejections. I cried. So many times. I was heartbroken but I've found a way to go on.
This weekend I watched Rachel Hollis' speech How to Deal with Rejection + Stay Motivated. I thought about my dreams and how much time and energy I've put into my writing. I thought about how close I came to giving up. I thought about how even as much as I didn't think my heart could take it any more, I still found a way to persevere and make my way back to the page. It wasn't easy but writing is in me.
I'm a writer. And in reflecting about my life as a writer, I've thought about the young adult novel I've been working on for the last year and a half. I love the main character so much. In getting back to my writing and thinking about revising again, I've done a lot of character development. And because this main character has a lot of me in her, I've thought about who I am and who she is and I came to a huge realization after watching this Lady GaGa interview where she talked about Dr. Ford speaking out against Brett Kavanaugh.
By the end of the interview, I felt words bubbling up in me like water behind a dam waiting to blast through so I sat down to write.
You see, I have a #metoo story. I've never told anyone about it (besides vaguely telling my husband - even he doesn't know the details). I've never written about it until now. And I can never share more than I've written here. I won't. But my point is: I understand how it's possible to shove a memory you're ashamed of into a box in your brain and keep it locked up. I understand why someone would hold something inside for so long. I get it because I've lived it.
Up until recently, I thought it was just something that happened to me. A sliver of memory that didn't matter that much...because my life moved on. But it keeps popping up in my thoughts more and more lately and as I thought about my character and how she's so tough on the outside when she's really self conscious on the inside...I realized my #metoo story impacted me more than I ever realized.
I was shocked, embarrassed, ashamed, and told to stay quiet. My coping strategy? Pretend it never happened. Act like it was no big deal. Shove any feelings I had away. Move on.
I can name so many other times in my life when I've been hurt and instead of dealing with the emotions or dealing with the situation...I lock up whatever I'm feeling and pretend like nothing ever happened. I pretend I'm fine. Was I always this way? I'm not sure. But it's taken me a long time to work at owning my emotions and telling people how I feel.
And what helped me work through this? Writing.
As angry and hurt and frustrated as I've been because of writing, I've also felt whole and fulfilled and buoyed up by writing. I'm a writer. It's in me. I love writing. Because despite all the ups and downs, writing calls me back. It reminds me who I am. It reminds me that my words are important. It reminds me that my story is important. And so, I write.
I hope you write too. Rachel Hollis and Lady GaGa sharing their thoughts inspired me and maybe my story inspires you. Whether you write for yourself or to share with others, it's worth writing. xoxo