Back in January, I sat in my childhood living room with Chiquita and binge watched the four movie-length episodes of the Gilmore Girls revival. We laid on the L-shaped couch, feet crossing at the intersection and covered in blankets. Most of the remake felt like nails scratching a chalkboard or like a car honking me at an intersection where I can’t make a turn yet.
The banter that I once loved so much was still there, but now it felt incessant and annoying. We were able to find some gold towards the end of the Summer episode.
(We are diggers – Chiquita and I. We excavate through piles of manure and bad plots, chaos, and tragedy and find a way to uncover some good – something meaningful.)
Towards the end of the season themed third episode, Lorelai and her daughter, Rory, attend the memorial of her deceased father. They kneeled over his grave speaking in their signature, quirky back and forth. Lorelei smiled, holding white roses over her father’s grave and turned to her daughter wanting to hear more about her new writing project.
Rory: Well, It’s a book.
Lorelei: You bought one?
Lorelei: You borrowed one?
Lorelei: You burned one?
Rory: No. I’m writing one.
Lorelei: Really? Nutty Naomi changed her mind?
Rory: Oh, no. I’m writing this solo. No crazy collaborators.
Rory: I know, right?
Lorelei: So, what’s it about? I’m dying to hear. Is it a love story? A mystery? A feel-good puppy, kitten, pony, raccoon travel across the country to enter a cow in the county fair story?
Rory: It’s non-fiction.
Lorelei: So is the puppy, kitten, pony, raccoon, cow county fair caper.
Rory: No animals, no capers. It’s about me and you.
(Insert description of novel idea..)
Lorelei: No. I mean no – I don’t want you to write that.
Rory: You don’t understand. Let me pitch it again.
Lorelei: I get it. No.
Lorelei: Because it’s my life.
Rory: It’s our life.
Lorelei: Yeah, well you write your side of it.
Rory: My side?
Rory: And who would I be talking to?
Lorelei: I don’t know Mrs. Muir. Find a ghost.
Rory: Mom, come on. I have to do this.
Lorelei: You don’t have my permission.
Rory was overcome with the kind of disappointment that accompanies your best friend denying you your dream. And those final words repeated in my head like an echo in a cave. Like a skipping record in the buildup of a horror movie. “You don’t have my permission.”
“Write as if you were an orphan” – Joyce Maynard
I am 29 essays into this #52essays2017 challenge and six essays behind schedule. I have a lot of drafts and even more ideas for essays, but tonight I sit ruminating on one thought like a broken record.
I know I need to write the hardest things – the things I think I cannot say, but I feel paralyzed by trauma and fear.
Three separate occasions. That is how many times I’ve had someone close to me challenge me about my writing and share that it either hurt them or made them uncomfortable. Each time, my chest constricted and tears made their way down my face. Anxiety nestled in between the neurons of my brain and added to the doubts I already have about my writing.
I walked away from each encounter devastated, feeling like a Titanic sized boulder was sitting on my chest, threatening the life out of me. Feeling like a child who just lost both parents with no warning.
My intentions have never been vengeful. I do not write to paint villains where they do not exist. I have never hit the publish button with rage circuiting through my finger tips. I choose my words with care, reminiscent of a sculptor chiseling a statue. I write my truths with love to raise awareness, to help others feel less alone and to question the status quo.
And even still – my message doesn’t always come across the way I hope it will. Especially for those closest to the heart of the matter. Even more so when my truth does not align with theirs.
I don’t write for attention or glory. I mean – my ego won’t turn down the compliments if you feel moved to offer them up – but it’s not what keeps me writing. Praise does not fuel the hum and rev in my engine.
I write because it’s what I was born to do. I’ve been attempting to make sense of the world around me through storytelling since I was seven years old. Writing is a quintessential component of who I am.
I’m deep sighing tonight trying to come to terms with the reality that not everyone will understand my personal journey. That as much as I dreamed of having my family and closest friends by my side through it all, there are some battles I am destined to wage on my own.
It’s towards the end of summer now and I am still writing. I cannot let my fear overcome my purpose.
***This is essay 28 in the #52essays2017 challenge created by Vanessa Mártir.