I said I was working toward transparency, right? Welp, this may be the most transparent I’ve ever been. Stream of consciousness, likely unedited. Thinking out loud, no Ed Sheeran.
This week I’ve been thinking about the root of all of my problems. I keep saying I’m not motivated enough to actually complete some of the goals I’ve set out for myself, but honestly that’s a big fat ass lie. I’m just scared. Scared of failing, scared of success, scared of mediocrity, scared of…every goddamn thing, tbqmfh. And the two areas of my life that encompass the things I want most are the areas in which this fear is the most debilitating.
I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a pencil dexterously. My grandmother’s cousin has been saying I should write a book since I was eight years old, literally. She tells a story of us visiting them in St. Louis and she came into the room where I was telling my baby cousin a story. She thought I was reading him a book, but it was of my imagination. I have no recall of this happening, but every time I see her she asks, “Have you written that book yet?” and reminds me of this story.
I didn’t start writing seriously until high school. I wrote an epic novel called Underscore loosely based on the lives of my circle of friends. It’s probably chilling on a floppy disc in storage somewhere, but has never been seen by another set of eyes, but my own. Which is the way almost all of my writing has gone until very recently. Despite being a voracious reader and fairly confident in my own ability to string together words in a coherent and consumable fashion, I’d never felt my writing was “good enough”. I compared it to the writing of my favorites and it all seemed so pedestrian and not compelling. My prose wasn’t lyrical, complex, or soul stirring, to me. It was just…aight.
But then an amazing thing happened. I connected with my homie Tahmeka on Twitter and one day she decided she wanted to create a writing group. I jumped at the chance, but entered it so trepidatiously. The group was composed of five women who, at the time, were virtual strangers. The idea was to create an environment of welcoming energy that would garner constructive criticism and eventually help me along my road to eventual self-publishing. The group was great. The ladies were (are, hell…) talented and we were all coming from different places in life, with different outlooks and outputs. It was an experience for which I will forever be grateful because of the reception to my writing and the questions posed that I hadn’t thought of when thinking about my characters and their motivations. The friendships forged through this small community of writers helped spawn other endeavors in my life as well as just amazing connections with dope ass people.
And it was here that I felt like I found my voice and its…purpose, place, etc. It was here that I shed all need to compare what I was doing to what had come before and what would come after me. This was where I decided that I needed to get the work out, by any means necessary. Because my words had value and could resonate with a larger audience, but to allow myself to be continually debilitated by self-doubt is doing no one any justice. So I dug in voraciously, writing like I was running out of time. Sharing the best of with the ladies in the group until we kinda petered off and I was left once again in the wilderness. And in this wilderness is where the bone-chilling fear set in.
The road of my writing “career” is almost exactly identical to my “love life” or lack thereof. So there’s this song by Janet called “Everytime” and she sings “I’m scared to fall in love/ Afraid to love so fast/ Coz every time I fall in love/ It never lasts…” I think about this line often when someone brings up my singledom. I was having a conversation with a friend recently who read the archives of this damn site and was ribbing me about “digging my potatoes” instead of jumping into the goddamn double dutch game of dating.
For a while, I kept saying “I’m not ready”, claiming to still be irreparably damaged from the cycle of fuckboys I entertained through my early-to-mid-to-late 20s. Then it became “well, I’ve been alone all this time, what the hell do I need love for? I can do bad all by myself”…mad Perryisian of me.
If you ask anyone who has known me since I was a child. my stance on love and marriage and children and families, they’d tell you things about me that you’d be loath to believe if you’ve just met me in this millennium. My famous “no room in the womb” stance would be laughed off by them, citing very specific historical data in which I staunchly contradict that stance. And yeah yeah, people get older, things change, but honestly my stance hasn’t changed because of any epiphany or enlightening or evolution. The root of the turncoat ass way in which I approach these things now is fully entrenched in fear.
I’ve been feeling the tug of motherhood for a minute now, something I try valiantly to tamp down. Excuse after excuse tumbles from my mouth as I try to maintain the facade of being okay with being in my (almost) mid 30s in a job that’s stagnant with no life partner and no offspring and no prospects of either being on the horizon. It’s much easier to pretend to be unaffected than face up to the harsh reality of being scared to death of dying alone having not left an indelible mark on this world either through effecting change or leaving behind offspring.
I recently did an inventory of my life, the things I thought were missing and the things I hoped to be able to reconcile and nearly all were directly affected by my fear of just not being enough. Not good enough, not smart enough, not skinny enough, not clever enough, not wise enough, not strong enough, not kind enough…I could go on and on, but your get the point.
But the thing that scares me the most? Honestly? Living a life that is constantly stifled by these fears and dying a coward ass, bitchmade woman.