Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm Coming Out

Before anyone gets too excited, let me assure you all that I'm as hetero as ever. I am however choosing at this point in time to acknowledge a long closeted part of myself, and there is something rather "rainbowy" about that.

For the largest part of my life I have believed myself to be a singer. Just a singer. What did I want to be when I grew up? A singer. Oh, there was that flirtation with the idea of becoming a missionary to Australia. I think perhaps that was a subconscious desire to be near a certain opera house in a certain harbor.

In my teens I discovered Broadway, and I became convinced that was my destiny. I would be an actress/singer on stage! The only problem with that was the fact that I knew nothing about music and even less about acting. So, off I went to college to study music.

All the while, from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil and scribble letters with it, I had been writing. Stories and songs and poetry... I told myself that it was just a hobby. I was a singer. My teachers had other thoughts. I remember my 10th grade English teacher taking me aside at the end of the year and telling me, "I hope you keep writing. You're born to be a writer." I laughed her off. Sure, I enjoyed writing. But it was just something I did to blow off steam or work through emotions. I never considered it, in the words of Little Bill, "my thiiiiiing."

That has changed. Singing and music take a back seat to what has always been a passion of mine. I truly love to sing. I thank God that He chose to bless me with some musical ability. However, there is a special kind of satisfaction in writing. When I sing I'm just performing. I'm singing someone else's words. In writing, the voice and the words are my own. There's something so beautiful and fulfilling in that. I love to look at a sheet of paper or a computer screen and see it filled with my words. I appreciate the applause of the stage, but it can't really compare to a favorable review of something I've created.

I am finally choosing now to acknowledge myself as a writer. I think I was afraid before. Maybe a little intimidated. I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I'm hopelessly devoted and obsessed with a long-dead genius poet and the mark he left on the world. How could I ever compete with that? I think initially, instead of inspiring me, he scared me to death! I've come to terms with dear Eddy now, and I'm ready to embrace my own style and my own voice and my own ideas.

I'm letting go of the past and all the garbage I came up with as an angsty teenager. I'm letting go of all the times I was told to stop "wasting paper." I'm letting go of the fear of failure that ironically serves as a security blanket at times. If I fail, and I already have, I will try again. I have and will continue to learn from my mistakes. I will scribble furiously, type until I'm satisfied, delete, delete, delete, delete.

I am a writer.

Monday, August 09, 2010

After the Ball

Paulie starts school today, and most of my friends are aware that I'm having a hard time with that.  I'm sure most moms think I'm completely crazy.

"You'll have the whole house to yourself!"
"You can do whatever you want!"
"You can have some Me time!"

I've tried to tell myself the same things, but for some reason, the thought of my last little bird leaving the nest fills me with dread.  I couldn't really figure out why until today.

For the past 10 years or so, Motherhood has been my life.  It's my job, my identity.  With an empty house and time on my hands, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself.  I feel like Eliza Doolittle after her triumph at the Embassy Ball.  She found herself facing an uncertain future.  She knew she couldn't go back to the life she'd had before, yet she couldn't begin to imagine a place for herself anywhere else.

That's where I am right now.  I look into the empty hours ahead of me and think, like Eliza, 'What's to become of me?'  

I tell myself that there are lots of things I can do.  I can volunteer with something or other.  I can work on some projects that I've been longing to get busy on.  And I can actually sit down and write.  That's good, right? 

The truth is, I want to be useful.  I'm useful as a stay-at-home-mom.  Now that both boys will be in school, I still want to do things of value.  I don't want to sit and watch television (even though I'll finally be able to watch something other than "Yo Gabba Gabba!)  I want to be busy. Industrious. 

I know things will come along to fill my days.  There's always plenty of laundry.  Even beyond housework there is plenty to do.  Besides, as long as I have full pens and empty pages, these hands will never be idle.