After deciding to devote the next few years of my life to writing, I have recently come to some very upsetting conclusions.
It seems as though I didn’t quite understand the job hazards:
1. Writing is a complete mind f*ck.
I have found that writing a blog and a book will bring you more than you ever wished for of this kind of action. It isn’t a job where you go to work and you come home and you’re done for the day. You’re always on the clock on the lookout for the right words, perpetually weighing the worthiness of sentences composed in mid-air. It isn’t unusual to wake up in the middle of the night to scribble on whatever paper you can find before you forget.
It isn’t the getting something down initially; it’s the polishing I’m not so good at yet.
I don’t own silverware that can’t go in the dishwasher or have anything that would require any polishing.
I never even clean my eyeglasses.
“How can you possibly see through these?” my husband asks, taking them off as if in protest of anyone voluntarily walking around in that state.
“I guess I couldn’t,” I say in amazement, my eyes adjusting to the sharp picture as he puts them back on my face.
But the need for release overtakes me behind the keyboard, I publish quickly as if I’ll lose my nerve if I wait. New Blank Document is my confessional booth, a box that feels so comforting with confines measuring a cozy eight and a half inches by 11.
I get a rush from the release of putting down the heaviness I have been carrying. I lose my bearings and push the publish button too soon. Only then do I find a million mistakes, beating myself up for writing something so shitty before considering more carefully the inevitability of looking like a fool.
I do what I have done my whole life, I get brave just long enough to put myself out there and then run to hide hoping no one noticed my ridiculous attempt.
I used to have them as a child. I would wake crying in the night with this invisible pain no one had a explanation for. It just means that you’re growing my mom would say. I would wake up in the morning and study my legs. Were they longer? Were they bigger? I couldn’t tell yet. The scientific method already burned in my bones. I wanted it to be something I could measure.
It puzzled me how growing could hurt so much. How on the outside my legs looked perfectly normal. Chubby and strong, with a mole on my left thigh that I hated so much I convinced the doctor it must be cancerous. They took it off and sent it away in a little glass jar. It wasn’t cancer, thank God, only my burgeoning body hatred and budding hypochondria.
Growing pains, they say.
Isn’t that what they say?
* * *
She’s a woman now.
The girl you used to talk to sometimes
when there was no one else
You probably wouldn’t know her now if you saw her
having never stopped to listen, to look up at her unlined face.
You might have stopped to help her pick up what she dropped
hands so full of misplaced sentences and words,
they spilled out into her jelly shoes
She stood out of range speaking only in whispers
voice straining against the others, too quiet to hear
she kept hoping you might come closer
but you just backed away and into
the waiting room
But forevers make you tired of waiting.
she promised to stay not knowing it was a lie
She mouthed the words
she made her way to the train
You finally looked up as she silently screamed goodbye
and you begged her back in one last time
She told you her story
you wrote it down like a song
you’ll be a woman soon.
* * *
I hear you, girl with the growing pains, your voice gets a little louder each day. I see you with your legs now long and strong sans a certain abnormal looking nevus. I know they are weary from having carried so much for so long,
come in and sit down, let’s have some tea.
Tea has replaced my beloved coffee for now, in attempt to maximize my health. I have embarked on what they call a pre-habilitation in preparation for an upcoming surgery. I promised myself yoga every damn day, even if I have to do it from my bed or a chair. I promised not to skip meditation but most importantly, I vowed to not forget my prayers. God knows with my Rumpus coffee mug that my seven year old can now clearly read, I’m going to need more blank document confessionals. I’m going to need a bar of soap and at least ten Hail Marys.
I let the bag sink through the steam rising from my Dear Sugar mug. It falls down into the blob of honey that hasn’t melted yet at the bottom. I grab the little tag at the end of the string and dip it a couple times in ritual fashion to start the steeping.
Wondering what my message for the day is I read the tag, it says:
It just means that you’re growing.
You’ll be a woman soon.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s own