We’re in the kitchen talking about the harder days. Before running water, hot water heaters, finished walls and trim work. Long before luxury items like curtains, matching plates and book shelves. Our first year here. The summer of the three of us in a one room cabin. Though we moved to a larger cabin for winter (offering room to initiate a budding new relationship), that season even the septic line froze. We hauled our water downhill on a push sled and were grateful for a nearby outhouse.
I think what scared me most was the cold. The stories worried me, which I believe they were meant to do. Funny if you consider that no one else had lived here before us. So where did the stories come from? The rumor mill, at work again? Finding factual accounts and figuring out the truth takes time. I could not get firsthand reports. There were none. Only exaggerated stories and distorted memories. No problem. Learn to write the book yourself. And no disappointment from expectations.
Just the same, comfort is not what attracted me then or now. Financial security and emotional stability don’t appear to be regular parts of my life. Though maybe by my age they should be.
I thought a lot about this last night. I couldn’t sleep. An itching that wouldn’t let me be, trying to figure out where my life was taking me. I guess a self induced session of self reflection brought on by another birthday. Forty-six. Middle aged. Time to grow up? I think not.
At this stage in my life, I should have some labels. There’s comfort in that. I lost the one of Mother when my son went off to college. OK, then. How about my career? Outfitter. No more. Guest Ranch owner/operator. Barely. Ditch Digger. Yes, but… It is somehow lacking in, well, finesse for a middle aged woman. Writer? I’ll take it. Writer. I use that term daringly with great expectation and demands placed upon myself. Too often I have trouble believing that what I give is worthy. Who doesn’t? Anyone who contemplates the meaning of life, their point and purpose, will question their self worth. Won’t they? And yet, many days I feel I have nothing to give… but words.
Pardon me if that sounds too plumped with self pity. I don’t really need the violins brought in for this. What am I trying to say then?
Something about confidence. Or lack thereof. I read the words of others who have found success with their writing (and yes, success is a relative term, so here I mean that which brings one a sense of purpose and by which one feels defined), and compare them those of us (yes, that would be me…) who still do not believe in ourselves, or believe we have something worthy of giving.
This does is not make me feel worse about my state of being as not-yet-successful-writer, but rather, challenges me to grow up. Oh no! Become that person. Start being today the person you wish to be tomorrow. For what is the difference between she and me? It is not in the number of books she has published and I have not, though I have used that as an excuse for the past few years. It is in the voice that speaks back when I look in the mirror. How easy it is to forget we are in charge of that voice. I need not look ahead with down cast eyes and hushed words and whisper, “Yes, I write…” Perhaps it is time to look straight ahead, boldly make contact with the grey eyes staring back at mine, and speak in a loud and joyous voice, “Yes! I am a writer! And I am honored to share my words!”
Man, that sounds good at least.