Well, I’m daunted, but I’m still here. I’m swirly, but wildly alive. Scruffy around the edges but absolutely delighted (in this case, with these braids my daughter gave me–perhaps I shall wear a braid crown all the time now).
Yes, I feel scraggly but beautiful, bedraggled but brave, also slightly bashful after having told you how daunted I was feeling by life last week and a little fluttery at what I’m going to tell you today.
Because in spite of its terrifying sheer momentum, life like a runaway horse and me just barely holding on, still this life is HAPPENING. I am HERE for it. It is MINE, my friends, it is my own.
For many years, especially in my twenties, I did not feel this way. Instead, my life felt like being on a train and slowly feeling a seeping dread as you realize that you have gotten on the wrong train and are heading at a steady speed in utterly the wrong direction. I spent a lot of my life force trying to get off the wrong train, get back to the station, and get on a different one.
And then there were years when it felt like I was standing on the platform, waiting for the (finally) correct train, self-conscious but determined– but then the train didn’t come. I checked my watch, double-checked the schedule, sat dejectedly on my suitcase, went to the station window to find it locked… and meanwhile, people came and went all around me, off to exciting places, and I was just there, just waiting, left behind, ridiculous.
That’s how it was, all those years when I knew that I wanted to be an artist of some sort, but in spite of being undeniably “artsy,” I couldn’t figure out how to do the key thing that was at the heart of it– to actually make any creative work.
I watched year after year fly by, and I grew more and more panicked that I was missing my true calling, my real purpose.
(Ironically, during this time period, I was technically, doing creative work. I was being paid to act, on film and on stage and in voiceovers, and I was working with words all the time, but mostly editing and translating and reviewing other people’s, and later I was pouring my creativity into my coaching work, coming up with classes and sayings and newsletters and images— but something was missing.)
Something so, so vital was missing.
My own creative life force.
My own vital joyful energy.
There was no spark. Or rather, there were lots of sparks, but I kept lighting other people’s candles, and the dull wick of my own desires stayed stubbornly stuck in my chest, neglected and cold.
It seemed I could bring my light everywhere but to my own deepest desire.
Which has always been to be an artist, to make things that will stay even when I’m gone, and specifically to leave behind books. (Oh, and maybe paintings, and gosh, what if I could create just one great capsule collection for a major fashion brand and—) and off would go my sparkle-brain, full of ideas, full of new businesses and bright plans and somehow, once again, I would have avoided doing the thing, the one thing, that I yearned to do and could not make myself do— sit down and write the words that were in my heart.
And when words or images or any sort of creative inspiration is knocking around inside, and you cannot get them out, they grow louder and louder and more desperate, they bang more wildly until you feel bruised and sore, and eventually, they come to feel almost like a poison inside you, where something that was once bright and full of beauty is now slowly sickening you from deep inside.
This is how it felt to be a writer who could not get myself to write.
It was so painful, and also so humiliating.
I spent many years in this state, waiting in an empty train station.
I tell you this because I want you to understand that after so many years like that, it feels like nothing short of a miracle— truly a MIRACLE to me— that I am in the process of finishing my third book. So far I’ve written a memoir, and a children’s book, (oh and a very beautiful journal, does that count?), and now this one.
This one counts. This one counts very much. It is a book of poetry that calls a great town hall meeting of all my most secret selves, and asks them to tell their stories, and it is almost unbearably vulnerable, and I love it with my whole heart and it is called:
I wrote a book of poems.
It’s called We Are All Poems. The sharp critic who lives in my head would like to absolutely die at this title, in case you’re wondering, but my heart and my belly and my spirit and my life force are THRILLED with it. I’ve been sharing it with my RichJuicyStarryBeauty community all along as I wrote it, and their support and excitement has nourished me and buoyed me in ways I cannot even describe. I’m so incredibly grateful for their good cheer and wise company.
Right now, I’m finishing up the last touches to the manuscript, and the cover is being designed even as we speak, and if all goes well, it will be available for preorder in early winter.
It will come out early next year.
Please just take a moment with me and breathe at this tiny wild miracle. An improbable bit of magical nonsense that has bloomed in my own cosmos like a new constellation. This is why I believe in magic, you see, because it keeps happening.
It feels like coming back to life, to have my own creative life force back.
To trust that when the new ideas do come, I can trust myself to catch them.
To be here, in my own life, to have my own energy flowing through me.
To be excited about making art instead of feeling tortured by it.
It feels a little bit like having a horse who knows their own way home, to safely wander and roam and know that I can still find my way back to myself.
And even if my life with my kids and our household chaos feels like a horse running away with me sometimes, I know that isn’t the deepest truth. When I’m plugged into my own creative life force, I remember that, actually, I am the horse.
My hoofs on the ground. My mane flying in the wind. My muscle, my speed, my strength, my joy.
What a gift. What a poem.