I always wanted to write a book. In grade school I carried around small leather-bound classics hoping I’d impress my teachers and schoolmates. I wanted them to think that I understood Dickens and Twain when I was EIGHT.
I could always imagine my name on a best-seller list. But for writing what?
It was brave of me to leave my newspaper job to write this book. As I dedicated myself to the writing effort, blogging about it and building an online community, I learned to truly trust my husband, the universe, and myself. It was one of the most difficult and ultimately rewarding journeys of my adult life.
Accepting that I was simply doing what was right for me was a huge leap of faith. At each transition the next step rose up to meet me. Choosing to forget about what others thought was crucial for me. It was very hard.
Of course, I had doubts all the way through. I remember wondering what former colleagues and co-workers thought. To some, I was weird enough to begin with. Were they poking fun at my efforts? Was I too obsessed with my childhood? Was I propping myself as an expert on a non-topic? Was I inventing a passion to have something to do? The chatter raged in my brain. But eventually, it died down allowing space for quiet contemplation.
I remembered, time is so short.
I travelled back in time and studied my life, the life of my parents and relations and I wrote it all down. I remembered how I earned my courage. I was ready to tell readers about it.
That I signed up with 8WomenDream.com and wrote my little heart out on the topic of toxic moms for an entire year is pretty astounding to me now. I found my focus early on and I trusted that readers got it. At Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook we grew from the 30 or so “likes” I needed to start my stats to nearly 60,000 people reached around the world each month.
As I got to know my followers in the U.S., Australia, Japan, the Middle East and Europe, I began to think of my book as a wonderful life form that needed me as its midwife. On days when it was too hard I worked anyway on blind faith. If I had to tell myself I could have chocolate after writing a chapter, that was okay. I’m sure plenty of surgeons imagine cocktails or golf or other rewards waiting for them when the nurses take over the suturing.
As I racked up chapters, I taught myself to embrace the work joyfully even if I’d rather be doing anything else.
The very last bits included stories of sexual abuse. Feeling sickened I stalled and stalled and stalled, not wanting to welcome my own abuser back into my head. I was cranky and tired and a pain to live with. An emotional war raged in my head. I dreaded and resented having to revisit these events, yet I had to. I had kicked these stories out of my head long ago and even a brief visit made me dizzy with sadness.
My husband complained about my attitude.
“I’m walking around with my abuser in my head right now so you’ll just have to forgive me,” I told him.
“Don’t think about it,” he suggested.
“The problem is, I can’t kick him out again until I write the whole story and I can’t decide how much of the story I can live with out in the world. How much? How much? How deep? It’s a struggle,” I replied.
Our eyes met. Enough said.
I married a man who expects great things from me. Sometimes I can do things to impress him that I can’t do for myself. That I finished this book is in great part due to his complete faith that I would.
As I edit and shape and clean up I’m realizing that his book taught me to value my dreams, make room for them, and commit time and energy to them without apologies. Time is so short.