I am writing a book.
It still feels somewhat surreal to write those words – with all of the weight and meaning I attach to them as a voracious reader and lifelong lover of words. I have always been a hoarder of journals, buying new ones to have that fresh page spread open in front of me, to begin something anew – a literary tabula rasa of sorts.
I cannot tell you how many times I have longed for that clean slate – to wipe the past away and just start over. To somehow will that fresh start into becoming my reality rather than just my dream – foolishly thinking that a new and uncracked binding would magically translate into a new and uncracked life, and memory.
A new and uncracked heart.
I have never gotten past the third page in any of the dozens – yes, dozens – of journals I have bought in the past 20+ years that I have gone from using my allowance, then paycheck, to buy them. And I never understood why. I love writing – I need to write in order to feel whole – why isn’t it fixing me? Why can’t I get past the beginning of writing myself a new future? Why am I stuck with these stacks of journals – all full of hope and promise on one or two or three pages – and then filled with nothing but a useless army of black lines patiently waiting in a sea of white…?
I have gotten my answer.
Because I have learned through writing here – a place where I have felt alternately safe, and vulnerable, and empty, and whole – that I need to look back before I can move forward.
And it is hard to go there.
And sometimes it is hard to come here.
Because I don’t know how far I can go out on that limb with you before it will break – before you will think that I’ve gone too far and you will walk away.
And I have grown to need you here.
And that is hard to admit.
Because how many of us actually turn to the people in our lives and tell them “I need you.”?
My heart pounds when I write here. My palms sweat. And I have grown to realize that that’s a good thing – a sign that I am not holding back – that I am putting it all out here for you to see, that I am being authentic. But is there more that I could say? Are there things I have not yet divulged to you? Of course.
But I’m not sure that you’re ready to hear all of it yet.
I’m not sure that you will still be there.
And now I have a literary agent, and I’m writing that story down – all of it – to hopefully be published in a memoir. And that scares the crap out of me.
Because what if people don’t want to read my story? What if they don’t buy my book?
What if they do?
Do you want to hear my story? Will it help you? Will it help me? Will it hurt someone? Will it heal someone?
Will it heal me?
Will it finally fix those parts of me that are so, so broken?
I look back and I laugh, and I cry, for that silly girl who thought that $14.99 and a pretty journal with an inspirational quote on the cover, and a Bic pen could fix her.
I wish I knew then what I know now – that nothing can be fixed without first looking at what’s broken.