***Picture posted on Facebook by Power of Positivity***
As I have detailed on here somewhat brokenly and rawly, I have learned I live with depression and will for the rest of my life. That somewhere along the line, the chemicals in my brain decided to go haywire and there are probably neural paths that have crossed that never should have even come in contact. With medication and previously therapy, I will not conquer and eradicate my depression, but we will live an uneasy partnership. Much like that little spider I allow to live in the bathroom corner.
As I was meandering through my Facebook feed this morning I came across the above quote and it instantly reached out and grabbed my by the throat. Because for so long I did fear failure. And with that fear, I stripped and bound myself with chains, closing off a part of me that is as essential to my well being as breathing or eating is.
I am a writer. I live to create. One of mom’s favorite stories about me when I was younger was how in grade one she received a call about a short story I had written. Not sure what was going on but the story was about a dog who died and a ghost squirrel was his (I am speculating here as I cannot go back and ask my 6 year old self) spirit guide. Not to heaven but beneath a tree in the backyard. I believe I have the story here somewhere I might have to go back and reread it. It may be a gem of an idea!
However I am digressing.
My forte seems to be writing poetry. I began writing poems (not of the Roses are Red variety) I believe in 1986. I would not hold me to that fact, I may be a little off. But the first poem that I still clearly at least recall the premise of, had to do with the escalation of something between Ronald Reagan (than president of the U.S.) and his counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev (last leader of Communist Soviet Union) and nukes. I was 11 years old and scared. Who knows where the poem is today but that was my start.
I have always used poetry to express myself. As a teenager, struggling with depression and self-image issues and just a whole lot of anger, my poetry was dark and tragic. I wrote a lot about suicide. There was no happiness, no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.
In hindsight, I was wrapped in a morass of pain and hatred, anger and fear. It all fell from my mind and pen in twisted pathways. Approximately 15 years or so ago, I found all my poetry. And I burned it. But that comes later in this tale. The emotions that bled off the page into the air around me as I read had tears pouring down my face for this poor soul I had been.
In high school I wrote the next great novel. Ha! Three years, a gazillion rewrites later and I was ready to send it off to the publishing world. I had done enough research that I knew I had to send in a query first so I did. And I received some interest back. I had to pay to have them read my manuscript. However the person who had to read it probably earned that money tenfold.
It was a horrible novel. I cringe even now when I think of it. I recently learned that my baby bro found a copy when he was in junior high and had an english assignment. So he took in all 300+ pages and handed it in. With his name on the front. I applaud his audacity but the teacher caught him out and ended up calling my mom. I can only hope that the english teacher never read it because I had had him during my season in junior high.
Needless to say, I did not sweep the publishing world off their feet. What I did receive was a very nice rejection letter which indicated that I had talent which needed to be shaped and molded. That I should take some creative writing courses.
Not sure if anyone can truly know what rejection is like to someone with depression so I am going to explain how it was for me.
First I cried. A lot. Than I began to be filled with this immense sadness. For this was my dream and now my dream was dead. (Yes I was also a tad dramatic when I was younger) I did not focus on the positives that I had read. Strong descriptive skill. Knew when to break with conversation. Talent. Benefit from writing courses. All I saw was that my novel was no good. I did not know what else to do with myself. (And thus started my career in Customer Service lol)
Next I packed up my typewriter. Cleaned my desk of all writing material. All creative works. And I hid it all away. Most of my material ended up being stored at mom’s until she retired and moved but I am getting ahead of myself.
For the next 26 years I wrote sporadically. Limited to poetry for family functions as required. I never showed anyone anything I was working on. I had short stints of productive periods writing poems but again I was harboring this fear. If I showed my works to others they would hate it. I was no good.
In 2003, during another bout of deep depression which had yet to be diagnosed, I found all my poetry. All the short stories. And I watched the papers burn and flutter into the air, ashes carried away on a breath of wind as I once again let go of this dream I nurtured for so long. (Even if I was not actively pursuing it, that small flame was nestled in my heart.)
I won’t bore everyone with the next 14 years of blackness and despair. Enlivened by the birth of my son. The career I discovered I was good at. But still I feared. So I stamped out anything creative. I still was reading. Voraciously. My outlet. My escape. And I was and still am in awe of the authors I have found over the years. Of their creativity, the breadth and scope of their imagination.
So let’s jump ahead now. To today.
As I stated about I found this quote in my Facebook feed this morning and it resonated with me. Because for so damn long I allowed fear to rule my life. The words and sting of rejection so firmly entrenched in my thoughts that I feared to try anything. But all that has changed.
I began blogging back in December. And at first it was hard. What do you write about? Plus I had a lot I wanted to purge. I mainly began with blogs like this.
Talking about myself, my life. My son.
Yet as I wrote, my imagination began to peek out. Unfurling herself from the cocoon she had woven in protection when I tried to excise her from my being.
Everywhere I turn I am inspired. I awaken from a night’s sleep with lines of poetry dancing through my mind.
And I no longer fear. I move forward, writing for myself and well those of you who are joining me on this amazing journey. Nine months later and I can say I am not in the same place I was in when I began this blog. And I hope nine months from now that I will have evolved even more in my writing. In my life.
Fear me not, for I tread among the stars. Illuminated with golden light and blessed of imagination. Travel along side and enjoy this journey with me.