Okay, I’m not going to embarrass anyone by naming names, but I have something I need to say about (and to) a couple of people that I am lucky enough to call my friends. Maybe you’re thinking that what you did wasn’t so huge, but to me it was. It was huge to me for a few reasons, but mainly because of the belief you have in me. You cannot choose who you are related to. Sometimes it’s a good thing and you get lucky and other times not so much. We get to choose who becomes our friend. If we choose someone who happens to be related to us, that’s okay too. I am grateful that you choose to have me in your life.
When I’m overwhelmed I can’t find the words I need, but we all know I’m better at writing than speaking anyway. First of all, let me say thank you. Sincerely. From the depths of my soul. You asked me if it was weird, you telling me that y’all believed in me. Belief in someone else is a beautiful, pure thing. It doesn’t matter if the person is older than you, younger than you, related to you, or a friend, or someone you just met. To know someone has faith in you – that they have put their belief in you for whatever reason, is something to be cherished. To know that someone believes in you when you spent so many years not believing in yourself, is a great gift.
One of the reasons Tomorrow’s Promise was so important to me had nothing to do with the kind of book it was or whether or not it was any good. It all had to do with the fact that it was what I was working on when I finally gave up on me. I put my pencils and paper away and declared myself done. I’d spent too many years listening to how dumb my writing ambitions were. I finally believed it. I didn’t stop thinking about writing. Ever. I couldn’t. I simply stopped writing. I stopped a lot of things — mostly caring. I was a screw up. I was a fraud. I was a loser. I was pathetic. I always felt like there was more inside of me, but I didn’t know how to get at it. I didn’t know how to be the person I longed to be. I put on my happy face and I went about my business, but always feeling guilty and ashamed.
Now, fast forward a few years and I set myself free. I stopped living a life controlled by someone else. It was amazing! There were other things to think about than myself. My daughter needed care and attention and I was happy to devote every ounce of energy I had to her well being. She was my reason for living and breathing. We made a life, the two of us. Fast forward a few more years, and she is in a better place. Sometimes things are calm. Sometimes. I always knew she was ADD. There was of course, the Anxiety Disorder, but I knew the ADD was there. Funny (not ha ha), how I never attributed my own feelings to being ADD. The fear, the guilt, the shame, the not being good enough or smart enough and the turmoil. The constant war in my head, the chaos, procrastination, self doubt and forgetfulness. I hadn’t needed someone to belittle me all those years, I could have done a hell of a job of it on my own. Knowledge is sometimes half the battle. Knowing that what I was feeling and experiencing were a common part of ADD helped. I no longer felt like I was floundering all alone.
So, here we are, two girls living all alone swimming in our brand of chaos and disorder. We are two peas in a pod. We understand one another and there is never any judgement in this house (although from time to time one of us will threaten to call the crew of Clean House on the other). Yes, I’m rambling, but I have a point. Stay with me. Things opened up for us in the last year. She is coping better, she’s happier and dealing well. I can finally laugh at myself and when I start to belittle and shame myself, I can go to a myriad of resources for help.
I still wanted to write. First I was bullied out of it, then I stopped believing in my ability, then there was no time or energy for it, and then, there was no reason at all. There was nothing to stop me but myself. I wondered if I even had it in me anymore. I thought about it constantly. I dreamed about it night and day. It called me, but I was afraid. What if I really was a pathetic loser? Everyone knows I never finish anything I start. Better not to start. Then, something happened. I woke up one day and declared Bullshit. I could do anything I damn well pleased. I didn’t have anyone around telling me what I could and couldn’t do. I was the master of this ship, thank you very much. Was I just going to sit around and tell myself the same things I’d been hearing from someone else for years? Uh — no.
I was a bit lost, but that old, hidden manuscript called me. ( I had other old hidden manuscripts, but I already knew they were crap!) When I started it, I had been told it had potential. Did it? I was going to find out. I took it out and went to work. I got mad. I got mad at the years I’d wasted. I got mad at someone for telling me it was a waste of time, and I got mad at myself for buying into it. I finished Tomorrow’s Promise out of spite. I finished it because it was the last life line to a distant dream. It was important. I needed it. It might not be the best piece of literature out there, but let’s face it, I’ve read much worse. What it was, was my way back. It was the way to remember that I had dreams and that I could work for them. I could even have them. Holding that book, I believed in something again. I believed in dreams.
Writing is a painful undertaking. It’s not for the faint of heart. Publishing is even worse. I do it, and will continue to do it, because I can no longer fathom stopping. This dream is here to stay. There will be roadbumps. Day job and daughter will always come first (not in that order), but what is left is mine.
Is it strange to hear you say that y’all believe in me, you ask? I say that that belief, freely given when you didn’t have to, is one of the things I cling to. Say what you will, that belief in me is what keeps me going. It makes me smile. It makes me grateful. It makes me realize how lucky I am to have people that support me and care about me; people that do not have to, but choose to.
So, this is a long winded way to say thank you, but it’s sincere, and I just hope you can see why it is so important to me. It’s hard for me to depend on others. I don’t like asking for help, and usually will try as long as I can to not let anyone know I need it. It’s hard to accept help when offered. It’s also difficult to graciously accept kindness. All I can say is thank you not only for what you did for me, but for that belief in me. I am finally doing what I love to do, and doubt isn’t going to stop me. Here’s to hoping there are a lot more books in my future (especially now that I can write them so efficiently).
Merry Christmas. Thanks to both of you for being YOU.