I have been kind of depressed on and off for a little while. It has to do with my work, my writing, not feeling connected to a writing community. Feeling under-utilized, ineffective.
Last Friday I biked to my prayer place on River Road. I straddled my bike and looked across the river and asked, Why did I have to do everything kicking-and-screaming? Everything. Becoming a woman. Getting a job. Writing.
I saw how I had to open a new file and start the memoir again. Revise it through this lens of the question. But as it turned out, the revision would show me that I’m not as screwed up as I imagined –that I needed to “get over myself.”
These past few years I kept thinking I was on-track, I show up at my desk every single morning. Still, I get in my own way. Perhaps I’ve lost another year doing this. I know it’s learning, and you can’t just pole-vault over the crappy first drafts. Still. I am so frustrated with myself for being afraid. I am terrified to make a big leap; I don’t actually know how. I push myself, but I haven’t thrown myself off the cliff.
My wise friend and brilliant reader said, “Maybe when it’s all down you will feel the freedom to go back in and tell the real story, in that [adult] voice, instead of the chronicle.”
I keep thinking well, that’s what I’m doing, telling the story! My friend said my writing was “SO solid.” Why isn’t it working, though? I strongly suspect it is because I haven’t identified the core of the issue until now.
Jeez, I hope I’m right. It’s like this: When I look at my life, what is my problem? I am a problem, my very existence is a problem. That’s where, as Mom likes to say, the dog is buried. She was 15 when she had me. Nobuko, my therapist tried to get me to stop using the word “illegitimate.” “There’s no such thing as an illegitimate person,” she said. Near the end of our work she asked, “What do you want?” I said, “An adult life.”
A few weeks ago my horoscope said something about taking my rightful place. That went right in. You can interpret a horoscope any way you like. I took it to mean it was high-time I took my rightful place as an adult.
And as LIZARD GIRL, which is what my memoir is really about.