According to my social media numbers, I died about 18 months ago. Not an actual death with a funeral where people show pictures of me on vacation while they drink wine and whisper about all the things I perhaps should have done or said or made better. I just had a social media death. Like a jump off a cliff after the best party of your life. Or being the fun gal at dinner and then holing up in your house for 37 years with a lot of cats. It was that kind of death.
For three years, I wrote for a few blogs, created a new writer website for myself (this one, with my old pictures where I look like I’m really invested in myself..cause I was), and submitted many stories to competitions and anthologies. I read every blog about writing and publishing and even tried my hand at a YouTube channel. That is a whole blog post of its own. And I loved all of it. I was excited because my belief was that the harder I worked toward my goal, the sooner it would happen. Then nothing happened. I spent hundreds of dollars to travel to writing conferences where I met other writers, publishers, PR people. I thought I was doing exactly what I needed to do to get results. And then, I got zero results.
In the midst of that, I had to return to the workforce to provide insurance for my family. Months later my daughter went through a very challenging period that required my husband and I to make adjustments to our lives. Then one million other very difficult things kept happening. When people say bad things happen in threes, I just laugh. “You mean 3 thousands?”
The time I had spent on my writing went to more important things and eventually I lost the ability to see what the point was in the first place. Not that I was mad, i was just apathetic to something that looked so self-absorbed after dealing with real life problems. I couldn’t be funny and I couldn’t write my book and I could barely get out of bed sometimes. So I accepted this part of my life and stopped doing anything that didn’t involve work, kids, spouse, or shoving food in my pie hole. I was (and am) surviving. That’s what we have to do as humans sometimes, survive. I quit Twitter, Instagram, and my own blog and kept up on FB because I needed somewhere to compare my fucked up existence to other people who had perfect kids and spectacular homes. (Yes..I have issues.)
A year went by and then I stuck my toe in. I checked my blog email, which I hadn’t done in months, and had a request from a prolific blogger for me to submit a piece of writing. I still don’t know why she asked, but she did and I’m grateful. Then I finally sat down and wrote about the hard things with my daughter and I let a dear friend read the piece because I wanted to maybe, possibly (HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTIES) submit it.
“This is the best thing you have ever written. I’m sobbing.”
Because I’m super awkward at compliments, I replied with “Still got it.” Which loosely translated means “I feel like a fake and I’m not sure how to respond without humor.”
And then all the things I had worked so hard for, all the dreams I had for myself were suddenly here and I hadn’t really done that much work to get them. My brain couldn’t understand…work less and get the things? But why????
And I don’t know. But I know that my personal belief system up to this point in my life has revolved around things happening for a reason and in the exact right season. Even the hard things. Had we not tackled the situation with my daughter when we did, it could have ended badly. Had I not checked that stupid email account, i would have never known someone wanted me to write. Had I not finally posted online that I was alive and doing things, people may have believed that I was dead. Or that I had given up forever. I haven’t given up forever. I’m just different and a bit lazier and a bit smarter and a lot more clear about needing to calm the fuck down. So I do that, too. Then I write a bit and hug my kids and ignore Twitter and have sex with my husband and make dinner and it all seems to work, so I’m not questioning it as much. I’m not dead…I’m just different.