Wednesday, August 4, 2010
There's one thing about writing that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, it's the one thing that hinders someone from being a really great writer and keeps them at being just a really good writer. What I'm talking about is vulnerability....people write about what they know and what they know is most of the time from personal experiences. When you write about a personal experience ,whether it be good or bad, your putting yourself out there. That scares a lot of people...myself included.
I have sat down several times in the last 2 to 3 weeks in hopes that I was going to start on one of my biggest goals that I have set for myself..and that was to start my book. Well, here's where that little problem called "Vulnerability" comes in....I write alot and mostly it's just what I'm feeling at the time, from past expierences, or even from a more recent event. Just whatever comes to mind at that time. When I think about putting some of what's in my head out in the world for everyone to read it's scares me...it makes me vulnerable.
So as I'm struggling with this I realized the only way to get over this fear is to just do it. Jump in full body, heart, mind and soul...starting right now. I am going to insert a piece that I wrote several months back and even though it is quite recent it is one of my most personal and vulnerable writings that I have ever written. My heart is racing as I type this and I'm sure it will be pounding out of my chest the moment that I press that Publish button....but I think the biggest difference between being a great writer and a good writer is when you pour your heart into something and people can feel it. I hope you can feel it.....
Falling in love….
You can fall in love many different times with many different things… different people…and at all different times. I can listen to Travis play a certain song on the Martin and I fall in love with him all over again…see a certain pair of shoes…taste a certain food…watch a certain movie. I can sit back and observe my life from a distance and I fall in love with the feeling of contentment. This isn’t the life that I had planned for myself but this is the life that God knew that I needed…
As I sit and watch a movie on lifetime about a woman that has never wanted children that suddenly finds herself pregnant, as soon as she has the baby she falls instantly in love with the child. It makes me think back to a time when I myself was in that same situation…17 years old…normal teenager that had her whole life planned ahead and a child certainly wasn’t in that equation. That term “Falling in Love” keeps coming back in my mind. You know… the books, society, your family, friends, everyone around you says you’re going to instantly fall in love with your baby the moment you see that sweet precious face. For me they were wrong…I didn’t…I’m probably breaking some sort of motherly code here by saying what I just said but I have lived 8 years with that secret..Thinking I was a bad mother due to the fact that I didn’t feel what others said I should feel at that exact moment. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me….
Do you want to know what I felt?
Imagine yourself sitting in your home, work, school, somewhere that you feel completely comfortable…you pick up a glass of water that you can see right through…you take a sip…suddenly a situation that should have gone so smoothly turns in the blink of a eye…the water has gone down the wrong path…In a full 60 seconds you feel more emotions than you have probably felt in days , maybe even months….Scared, panic, confusion, you can’t breathe, when you try to take a breath you feel as though you’re going to suffocate, it starts to hurt, eyes water….you finally get one full breath down…barely…then another, and another, breathing starts to get a tiny bit easier…throat still burns… eyes still watery…a small bit of relief starts to set in…throat still burns…but your breathing….
As I looked into that face…that face that I had harbored in my stomach for 8 months…that’s what I felt…Where was that “falling in Love” feeling? ..I wanted it…I so wanted it more than anyone can imagine…I was desperate for the feeling…any feeling than the one I had right at that moment. All of the air was being sucked out of the room...everything around me felt like it was fading away and no matter how many time I tried to suck in a deep breath I felt like my lungs were collapsing…no air…panic…what am I supposed to do now….Please God, give me the feeling that I’m supposed to have… This isn’t the path that I’m supposed to take… I can’t do this…I can’t breathe....My mind and body was exploding with so many emotions and thought’s ...I couldn’t control them…and the one thought that kept reoccurring….”What am I supposed to do now?”
I saw a stranger looking back at me as the nurse placed him in my arms. He was a beautiful stranger but a stranger all the same… Then before I could take 2 seconds to tell this little stranger hello and maybe even ask how he was doing…the whirlwind began. … People were everywhere…asking questions…signing papers…pick out a name…change a diaper…and the strangest thing of all….calling me mommy… I wanted to scream “I am not a Mother, I’m 17!” I wanted to put my head between my legs and breath, count to 10 with my eyes squeezed shut, and pretend I was playing hide and seek with my younger brother again. Pretend that none of this was real….I would open my eyes and everything would be back to normal…or what I called normal. 1…breathe...2…breathe...3…breathe...open eyes…. The scene hadn’t changed but I knew in that instant that everything…my whole life…had changed in the count of three seconds….
Not soon after, my inner voices started arguing internally…both whispering in my ear….keep him…give him away….keep him…give him away…
There’s that question again….What do I do???
One voice whispers… you can do this….you can’t give him away…It’s wrong….own up to your own mistakes …you’ve made your bed now lie in it…
The other voice whisper’s ….your wrong, you can’t do this….what were you thinking…you can’t give this child a home…you’re a baby yourself…this child deserves better than you...you will never be able to provide and make him happy…
The voices soon began to become the voices of my parents…my family…my own…. Before I knew what was happening the room grew gravely silent… the social worker sat down beside me with a false sense of comfort and picked up my hand and held it….”Jessica… what do you want to do?”
"What do I want to do???" "What do I want to do???" I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and shout “What the hell do I want to do???” I don’t know what I want….I want my life back…I want my youth back….I want to go home….I want to be able to breathe without feeling this dread…this loneliness….this abandonment….fear….panic….I want this floor to open up and swallow me whole so I don’t have to feel anything at all…I want all of you to stop looking at me with your mask of pity, false sympathy, and most of all disappointment. That’s what I want….This…as I look around…is not what I want….
I can’t think clearly...my mind is all fuzzy and I can’t hold one thought without my eyes burning with tears and my chest squeezing with anxiety and fear. I nearly shout at everyone to get out of the room…I want to be alone…that’s all I want at this very moment…the nurse brings me my baby…how weird It feels to say that…”my baby”… I am alone in this room with this stranger that is called “my baby”….I can’t help but to sit there and stare at him…I count his toes…his little fingers…trace the outline of his face,., his chin….the small slope of his eyes that he so obviously got from me….I place his hand flat next to the palm of my hand and I wrap my fingers around his….kiss him gently on his forehead…and ask….”What is it you want me to do??” In that instant, he opened his eyes and looked straight at me and held my gaze for a mere second…it felt like 10 years to me…and I knew….No...I had not “fallen in love” but I wanted to get to know this little stranger….I wanted to know everything about him… he was mine, a part of me, and I knew he would give me the strength I needed.
At that very moment, I knew that the falling “in love” part would come eventually and nothing else mattered.
Suddenly, while holding my son’s hand, I realized that I was breathing effortlessly for the first time that day…. Breathe in…Breathe out…