Today my son G said, “Wouldn’t it be great if you were a writer like you wanted to be.” I didn’t answer at first and he and C discussed amongst themselves for the millionth time how I could work from home and spend more time with them and C went off on his favorite tangent about how I should be a teacher and work at their school and I listened and struggled to find my voice.
Finally, I said, “I am a writer. I just don’t make a living from it.”
“Yeah, that’s what I meant.”
The truth is if I wanted to be a writer I’d be working on it. Saying the words “I am a writer” doesn’t make it so. I haven’t written a damn thing that was not work related in about six months. Real writers make time for their craft. Real writers are compelled to get the words on the page. Real writers stay up late and wake up early to tell their stories. Real writers can’t stop writing. Right?
Maybe it’s just the winter blues (again). Or maybe I just don’t have it in me. Maybe I’ve lost my voice in a more significant way than I thought.
I’ve been looking for signs for a while now. Signs to point me toward what I should be doing next. Signs that the work I do every day is meaningful. Signs that my work as a mother has been successful. Signs that I’m on the right path. I see or hear things that make me stop and think and wonder if they are the sign I’ve been looking for, but they are fleeting and ultimately insignificant.
My friend posted this on Facebook:
I’m already haunted.
There is no great time to have an existential crisis, but as a single mom of tween-aged twin boys with a full-time job (which is fraught with its own tangles and ties to my perceived self-worth) and a house to run and a mortgage to pay, this just doesn’t seem like the optimal moment to start questioning my true life’s purpose. But then I remember that this is a road I have frequently traveled. There are no signs to be found and the path seems like a giant spiral; I go around a little longer and a little wider each time, but I still end up basically where I started off.
My boys are getting ready to wrap up their elementary school education and move on to the next level. Middle school. When everything starts to matter and each step builds upon the last. I so desperately want them to apply themselves and make sure they are giving themselves their best chance at whatever comes next. I give them all sorts of great motherly advice and then follow none of it myself.
Try. Do your best. Take your time. Be thorough. Be confident. Use your brain. Find what you love. Work hard. Make good choices.
Get your shit together.
I guess I’ve got some writing to do.