Thursday, September 23, 2010

Am I a writer?

Post of Owning Pink

I never liked to write. 
I was never any good at it. As a child, I would put off all writing assignments to the last minute and then painful squeak out the minimum word requirement for my academic classes. This unsuccessful process usually resulted in a “c” and some kind of teacher comment about expanding my ideas. Writing continued to be an undesired experience through college and grad school. I just didn’t like it and only did it if I absolutely had to. I had an interest in going for my PhD, but the thought of writing a dissertation would make me start to sweat, my breath becoming shallow. I got a job instead.
I chose a field working with people, where rapport and listening came naturally to me. Very little writing is required as a counselor other than personal notes. I worked as a counselor for 12 years, never being asked to write anything except maybe to contribute to a school newsletter. I never thought about it, never tried it -- in fact I didn’t even like to read other peoples’ writing. I really had no interest in written words. All I needed to know was spoken.
Then I had a child. 
My whole world was turned upside down. I craved conversations about the difficulties of motherhood. I tried time and time again to talk to those around me about breast feeding, how your relationship changes with your spouse, the mom wars about work, guilt, loss of passions and identity, and the general dissatisfaction with my new life. Nobody would talk to me about anything other than being tired and their babies' poop.
So, I started to read. I read blogs, I read articles, and I read books. I read everything and anything having to do with the rawness of motherhood (not the cute stuff). I read and I read and I read.  I started to feel less alone. There were other mothers out there who were experiencing some darker sides of motherhood.  Perhaps it was safer to speak our challenges in the written form.
I started to write. 
And boy did I write. I wrote all my nasty, ugly and hateful feelings. I felt better. I started to write about my imperfect journey of becoming a mother and people wrote back with gratitude for my honesty. I started to write about questions that kept me up at night, and other moms spilled their secrets as well. I started to ask other moms tough questions, and they answered them -- for real this time.
And now, I love writing!
I still don’t think I'm  any good at it (ahem, inner critic). I don't have a large impressive vocabulary. I can't string a  bunch a words together in a poetic way. My spelling is atrocious and my grammatical errors are laughable. I often read other posts on Owning Pink and feel embarrassed that I am even on this stage with these talented writers. I write the only way I know how, with sincerity and heart. It soothes me. I write because it gets out all of my junk. I write because it helps other moms feel less alone. I write because if I don’t, I have a buzzing in my ear and a sense of manic urgency until I do. I write because it is cheaper than therapy.
I guess I am a writer.
What about you? Have any hidden passions taken you by surprise after a major life change?  

1 comment:

  1. Heather's SisterSeptember 27, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    You are a GREAT writer! --and your writing extends a lineage of GREAT AND POWERFUL RAW feminist voices. Now that you like to read, I'll get you a list! Helene Cixous, Donna Haraway, Audre Lorde and Minnie Burce Pratt are a few that come to mind! You felt the same way about your art when you were a kid. You thought you were a terrible artist cuz I could draw representationally and you drew emotively. Then as I got to be a museum-haunting teen I felt so energized by artists like Paul Klee and Jean Dubuffet and Russian/German Expressionists like Alexei von Jawlensky and said, "Wow! These paintings looks just like Heather's art! Wish I could paint as freely and expressively as THAT!"

    There is a performance artist you should check out--I am blanking on her name, but I'll send it when I remember.

    I keep visualizing you being interviewed by Katie Couric. Keep it up!