I never could have predicted that I would give birth to my first child at the tender age of 24. I suppose there’s very little we can predict, though many try; drafting five year plans and short-term goals and long-term goals, seeking to play God because fate is a beastly thing to trust.
Life only makes sense backwards, a problem for us humans since we must live it forwards. Blinded to the future, but not unfeeling. We can feel, and though we are fallible creatures who make the same mistakes over and over again, we also have the free will to follow our hearts.
At a certain point in 2008, I could no longer resist the nagging feeling that I was living the wrong life. My heart opened in a concise yet infinite moment, taking me on a wild ride that included a wedding and a birth and a(nother) dropped career, leaving me in this place of love where I feel compelled to share how motherhood has irrevocably changed my life in non-obvious ways. This is the first installment of perhaps many.
Shortly after becoming a mother, I finally grew into my passion. Maybe this “finally” is unwarranted because events unfold in a certain order for a reason. And like I mentioned, I was just 24 when I gave birth and 23 when I become an effectual step-mama to a 2 year old, but it did feel exceptional to have this awakening after blocking it out of my adolescence and young adulthood, high school and college.
In the required English course for my business degree, the professor awarded me a 4.0 on every essay I wrote. She said, “you must have had a really good English teacher in high school.” Which, now, nearly a decade later, strikes me as off-color. What if she had just said, “you’re a good writer.” Would I have reached an Aha! moment with the universe and recognized my love of writing? Would I see that I channeled this extra energy into unhealthy habits? Would I isolate that something I always knew was missing? But of course, we can’t count on the universe to tell us where to go, we can only keep our eyes open for hints.
I think fate waved to me when I studied abroad in Rome and the only concurrent program in my college’s satellite campus was creative writing. Ten years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to be. Twenty years ago, I did. In the second grade, I made a book entitled “If I Were In Charge of the World” and in the About the Author (which I remember taking the utmost care to write), I said that I wanted to grow up to write books. My sentimental side saved this in my memory box, along with a journal I started at 6 years old, later assuring my adult self that this passion did not come out of nowhere. It was inside of me all along. I started writing my first novel, while my infant daughter slept, usually strapped to me in the front pack. Fear buries love.
There are only two basic motivating forces: fear and love.
Love illuminates love. Maybe you’ve noticed that when someone turns their life around in one area, it’s like popcorn popping, and the goodness explodes everywhere. Like a woman who finds the love of her life and suddenly quits the job she hates because she “finally” sees that it’s not right for her. Once she knows how good the truth feels, she can no longer make compromises that sacrifice her path and her greater purpose.
When I was a new mom, I nursed my daughter a lot. I held her while she slept more often than not, perhaps too nervous to put her down. Since I spent so many hours sitting still, I started reading novels again. Somehow those words I’d said over the years came back to me, words I never allowed myself to seriously consider…these people are like characters in my book (when I met someone intriguing)… I think I’d like to write a book someday. The task loomed before me like the tallest mountain. I had no equipment, no training, no knowledge. I only had a will and the sage advice: where there’s a will, there’s a way.
At the same time, motherhood prompted my increased involvement in this blogging community. An unparalleled resource for women. I started (and abandoned) a blog about six months before becoming pregnant, but it was my daughter who inspired me to come back to it, chronicling my thoughts and growth for the sake of remembrance; processing my adulthood and her childhood, which would soon blur into the swift moving river of the past. My life is no longer just my life. It is her life, too.
As a blogger, I made friends with a brand new kind of people. Mothers like me who wanted to (or whom had already started to) write novels. They (unwittingly) taught me that nothing is impossible. The stars may be far far away, but when the clouds divide, we can see them. A sparkly cosmos. Windows to climb through.
Today, my daughter is three and my stepson is nearly seven and I’ve written three complete manuscripts, one of which is edited and ready to be read by others. But I believe in the other two; these stories are worth writing and reading.
If you’d have told me five years ago that I’d be where I am today, I’d never have believed it. I was prepared for something much different.
So what are your deepest, highest, craziest dreams? Do you know them, or do they sleep somewhere in your subconscious, stagnant and searching for a way to manifest?