As I approach the first anniversary of going public with my writing, I’ve been reflecting on how it has changed my life. I discussed some of this briefly in my post, What I Want From My Creative Life, but I think I’m ready to shuffle closer to the deep end now. Get ready to get emotional, my friend.
Ten years ago, I was at a bad place in life. I was scared to wake up each day because I was living in dangerous circumstances. The abusive relationship I was in was volatile to the point of total implosion. I was working a job I hated and, despite my college degree, I was making so little money I couldn’t see a way out of the hell I felt trapped in. My self-confidence and self-esteem were nonexistent. I believed all the horrible things I was told and the awful names I was called day after day after day. I was miserable, depressed, and torn down. I was ready to die.
Until I wasn’t.
When I found myself in a truly life or death situation, I realized I didn’t want to go anywhere. It was the wakeup call I needed. I hauled ass out of that situation with nothing but my worn out car and the clothes on my back. I had to quit my job because I often worked alone in the building, and it was no longer safe for me to do so. I was lucky to have family who could take me in and friends who stayed by my side while I caught my breath and found my feet.
I was free to do whatever I wanted.
What I did was flounder. For a long time.
I tried different things, but nothing felt right. I’d flexed my muscles but I still didn’t feel strong. I’d been broken. I had all the pieces, but they didn’t seem to fit together the same way anymore.
Somehow, I started to put things back in place. It was a slow process, but during that time I learned how to move on. I made new friends. I managed to land a great job–which allowed me to let go of the old car. I found real love and remarried. I bought a fancy new car and a fancier new house.
Bless my husband for sticking with me through it all. As a long-time friend, he already knew me. I’m lucky he remembered me at my best, though I know he’d argue I’m even better now than I was before. He’s been through a lot as I’ve rediscovered myself, and he’s never stopped being my loudest cheerleader.
Fast forward to 2016:
After years of being back to better than normal life-wise, I still felt like I was floundering.
Life was fabulous. I had it all going for me. But I still wasn’t completely content, because I still didn’t have all of me. Not really.
That was when I started writing with serious intent. That was when writing started to change my life. That was when writing started to restore me.
It was that joy of creating something that helped me begin pushing those final pieces back into place. The fabulous feeling of sitting down in front of a blank page and walking away from that session with whole scenes crafted. Breathing characters to life, exploring new worlds, making myself laugh.
Writing, my once-abandoned passion, has become my therapy.
Readers seem to enjoy my books and that’s wonderful–but it’s not just about that. I would write if no one read my stories. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself if I tried, even though I still struggle with giving myself permission to do something just for me.
I had stopped caring about myself. That led me to stop challenging myself. Writing fixed that. There’s always some new way to push my limits. More words per day, more books per year. It gives me plenty to look forward to. Even on bad days, I still want to write. I find solace and comfort in my creative place.
I have pride in myself again, and that resonates out to the other parts of my life. I didn’t believe I could feel like this again, but I do. I didn’t know how much I’d missed feeling whole.
In 39 days, I’ll celebrate the first anniversary of Black Wolf. By that point, I’ll have three books on the market.
I did that. I had plenty of help, as my acknowledgments always note. But I was at the helm of that venture. Little old me.
I have confidence in myself again and I can enjoy my successes because I’m here. The eccentric, creative, often goofy, sometimes neurotic, living, breathing spirit I’ve carried with me all along is back in action. Thriving because my art uplifts me. Blooming because my soul feels free.
I’m happy to be here. I owe it to writing.
I’m pushing the pen, and writing is saving me.