Posted on April 11, 2012
The phone rang this afternoon, and finally woke me from my nap (in other words, my baby-coma.) It was Bestie, telling me another story of how her brass balls saved her life. Her writing life, that is. Bestie had yet again turned an opportunity that seemed like nothing into her next potential job. Let me specify, her next job as a professional writer. As she spoke, I realised I had long passed drowning myself in jealousy as I would have done when we were sixteen or even when we were in college together. Now it was so easy to see her success as my own. Since our friendship had morphed from two individuals holding hands into separates bonded as one, jealousy seemed to take a very far backseat in both of our lives. She and I are the greatest cheerleaders of the other’s talents it is borderline sick. Part of our routine is sitting around Vancouver coffeehouses getting emotionally sick over how everyone overlooks the other in an industry where getting noticed is near impossible. Well, impossible for me. For Bestie it is only a matter of time before she’s writing for a paycheck, and I’m toting her book bag when we are touring the country with the book she has written, when it finally hits and is Canada’s answer to the monumental success of the Potter series. (I just reread this last line, and I can already feel my mother getting her back up about my continued negativity. I’ll expect a phone call shortly after I post.) Anyway dear readers, this is how we are different. Somewhere along the line someone taught Bestie to never fear rejection, or at least to get back up again (and again and again) after the fall. Someone told her that if you sleep past noon by the time you rise the day’s opportunities have passed you by. Someone breathed talent into Bestie that the mind has trouble comprehending but at the same time gave her the will not to waste it. This isn’t jealousy talking, it is admiration.
Week twenty-two has been less about baby and more about self-reflection. The question always arises in my head, “How can I be having my own child, creating another life, when I haven’t even begun to create my own?” At the halfway point in this pregnancy I still can’t answer that. But perhaps what I have in fact sorted out is, it isn’t a fear of rejection that stops me from finishing my book or walking into the industry I know I belong with resume in hand. It can’t be. I’ve been beaten down before in many aspects of my life but I’ve gotten up off the ground, dusted myself off and carried on each time. It isn’t the rejection. It is the criticism, why? I’ll tell you, because most of the time criticism of me is dead on and cuts to the bone. Rejection bruises the skin for a little while but criticism, if done well, like I said cuts to the bone and leaves a scar that never heals. My parents raised a girl who can spit fire with the best of them, but she sure as hell can’t take the heat. I know my father knows exactly what I’m saying is asking himself how I contracted the same problem he believes he has in his own life, but what is worse than even that, is here comes the next generation of our family. Will this trait leap on to the next?
I’ve only ever written because I love the way writing feels to me. I love scrawling my pen across a fresh, crisp piece of paper. I adore the clicking sound of my laptop keyboard as my sentences expand and each line grows into paragraph after paragraph. I’m so thankful that I can take the thoughts in my head and push them into reality by writing them down. My life would be complete if when I am laid to rest I had spent my time writing, just writing, because I love it more than anything – but – therein lies the real beast. When you love something you protect it like an animal. I’ve never been able to take compliments about my work in a comfortable and humble manner, but by the same token I cannot live through criticisms of work so close to me, it is me. And trust me when I say, I can’t divorce myself from anything I create. I suppose that makes me an Artist. My father said something about my work recently that had me freefalling into a deep emotional hole about my writing. Even though his point was valid (which I’m sure may even be the worst part of it all. Parents being right … goddamn it.) I could not separate me from the work. I never write something without thinking, Dad. I’ve spent my life protecting the feelings of the people I love, and to be told otherwise was a hard pill to swallow. Pride is hard to swallow. They always say that the writer’s word is the sword they carry into battle; well the same is true for fathers.
This week I painted a couple of canvases for my new baby. Every night when I close my eyes and my hands travel down to rest upon my baby bump, I see two colours. Two vibrant colours that I’m sure emanate from his or her new little spirit. So, I went out and spent the money we don’t have on supplies to try to relate what I saw and felt in my own body to canvas. My husband says they are two of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever created. But, I know they aren’t my successes, they are my child’s. I’ve never been able to fully get behind myself and do whatever it is that Bestie does so well and actually get somewhere I desperately want to be, writing professionally … but perhaps that is exactly the point. I’m not meant to. I was always meant to see and foster the talents of others. I can tell you this, if one thing is for sure I’ll be the mother of someone who knows their own worth and has the balls to achieve the most ridiculously unattainable dreams. As of now though, that little someone is nothing more than a soft blend of teal green and yellow spread across a canvas, waiting to be real.
I have both loved and hated week twenty-two.