This post is inspired by Jennie of A Lady In France.
It came in an ordinary-looking envelope, white, I think. My name and address scrawled on the front, confirming that its contents, were indeed mine. I’d never won anything in my life (nothing I really wanted, like these cassette tapes!), and this was exciting.
My first I-really-wanted-this-prize came from a poem I submitted to a local radio station, who read it on air. I was 15 or 16, and I may have missed part of the reading of my not-very-good-poem about a bird and a tree, when it aired. The details of the poem is lost, I don’t have a copy, nor do I remember any of it, except that it wasn’t very long, and it was the first time I sent my writing out into the world.
It was also the last time, for a very long time. I still wrote – more bad poetry, song lyrics, angst-filled journal entries about boys and all the things teenagers worried about, which seem so trivial now, all kept private, read by no one. I had dreams of becoming a journalist only because I really, really wanted to meet *Tom Cruise in person. Not because I thought I could make a living out of writing or that I loved words.
My love for words was never spoken, nor was it realized. I didn’t stop and think, “Ooh, I really enjoy writing, I should do it all the time.” No, it was something I did. Just as I played the piano, or chased my sister around the house, or ate breakfast.
None of the writing I did when I was 18 to 35 meant anything. Thoughtful analysis of Shakespeare and Jane Austen in college, critiques of film techniques and theorizing of criminal sociology in university. Press releases, biographies, newsletters, proposals, advertorials, advertising copy, reports in a 10-year career.
I was given a ‘My Baby’s Coming’ journal when I was pregnant in 2009. After two entries, where I scrawled out “It’s a Boy!” and ‘My back hurts”, it’s empty, save for the weekly weight and belly circumference measurements.
I did not write about my feelings of impending motherhood, or how I thought my life would change. I did not write about how I thought I’d mother my son, or how I feared parenthood would change my marriage. I did not write about my son’s first year, where I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. I did not write about the first month where everyday I felt like I was dying little by little inside. I did not write about the first smile, the first step, the first tooth, the first anything. I did not write about my relationship with my husband, how it nearly broke us, and strengthened us. I did not write about the deep love and the breathtaking depths of feelings that motherhood brings.
I took many pictures and videos, but I wrote nothing.
Even when I started to blog, I had no intentions of writing about mothering.
However, and unexpectedly, my words have a life of their own. They spill out onto the pages, my fingers typing furiously, my mind whirling with ALL THE THINGS I need to write now before I forget.
The words have continued to come, and with them, a rush of emotions I did not expect, a burden of memories from my own childhood and feelings about my mother, bubbling to the surface. Scars of wounds I never knew were there, are itching to be scratched, urging me to break through skin and bleed words.
I am afraid to scratch some of those scars. I feel like I’m tentatively emerging as a mother who writes, who hesitate to say, “I am a writer”, and who is unsure whether some stories are meant to be told.
I am no longer that teenager who sent our her words so eagerly, in exchange for some cassette tapes.
What I am, is a mother who wants to tell her stories, to capture the stories of her children until they’re old enough to write their own, to still time for a little while with her words.
I hope I’m doing that well.
* I no longer love Tom Cruise.
BlogHer ’13 has opened submissions and voting for Voices of The Year (VOTY), and I have a few posts there that I would love a vote for. If you could take a couple of minutes to do so, I’ll love you forever and ever. Thank YOU. My posts are about blogging, mothers judging other mothers, intrinsic goodness of people, raising boys, the girl way, and this post about writing.