Back in 1989 while I was navigating the world of first grade with a Mike Seaver poster on my bedroom wall I don’t recall thinking that when I grew up I wanted to scrape banana off kitchen chairs. I don’t remember saying “When I’m 31 I want to eat my dinner with a toddler on one knee and then have him puke on my other knee as I take a bite of food.” I surely didn’t answer my 4th grade teacher with “To spend the majority of my days breaking up fights over toys, books and crayons” when asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. My childhood memories are of pretend play involving writing award-winning novels and practicing figure skating routines to win the gold, not eating my lunch standing in the laundry room to avoid being asked to share it. I also remember day dreaming at the age of 12 about being on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I’m not sure what I was famous for but I know that I envisioned everything from what I said to what I was wearing to my hair and makeup. All I knew is that I wanted to make a “bang” when I grew up. Making a difference, being loved worldwide and traveling to beautiful lands in a jet while drinking expensive imported drinks.
Now with no Jay Leno in sight, I think to myself if I’m really making an impact at all. My days are filled with crafts, snacks, alphabets, show n’ tells, story times, naps, meals, baths, boogers, poops and all the rest. Am I really living up to my full potential? This is where Facebook becomes a fuel to my thoughts. I begin to envy those I see that seem to be living some sort of fabulous life … winning awards, posting sexy selfies, traveling to foreign lands, boasting about their volunteering efforts, advertising their at home businesses and snap shots of their new offices through promotion and tenure. How do they do it? Where do they get the energy, money, time and focus? By 8 pm I can barely keep my eyes open as I watch a DVR’d episode of American Horror Story while folding laundry, how could I possibly write the next great american novel or even interest someone in reading it???
I feel like such a waste of space when I read these amazing stories about men and women who stay up late nights and wake early mornings to fulfill their dreams. I then proceed to take out my little violin from my back pocket and play a song of pity for myself. Then 6 months ago I took that little violin and bashed it against the wall of my desk and threw the tiny bits into the fireplace and watched that motherf**ker burn.
My role model author Ann Patchett said, “What begins as something like a dream will in fact stay a dream forever unless you have the tools and discipline to bring it out.” I had the dream. I had the tools of my words, a computer and social websites. So what the hell was I doing? I had to shut my insecurities up and replace it with the discipline to write and keep on writing. If I wanted my words to reach others, if I wanted to make a difference I would need to start writing AND to start sharing that writing with the world.
In the months that followed I am not on the best seller list or have Oprah banging down my door, BUT I am reaching others. I’m making the connection I sought. I’m making an impact by sharing my love and talent for writing. I am reaching beyond the confines of my mind, home and the everyday. People are reading. People are thinking, connecting and rejoicing. I have men, women, old, young, friends and strangers reaching back to me and letting me know that I am touching them. I am making an impact by making them feel connected and not alone. Whether it’s through the connection of simplicity, motherhood, parent sex or even fat days my words are making a difference. That difference is beginning to make me feel a whole lot “whole-er.” By focusing on the words of those that have contacted me to let me know that they are reading and applauding, it’s making this journey that started with the smashing of that pity violin a lot less scarier.
I may not have a hair and makeup team, but I do leave the house with an entourage (though all under four feet tall), a full tour bus (that looks very much like a minivan), a stocked bar (of sippy cups and water bottles) and a bodyguard (that may or may not look like a 9 lb. Maltese/shih tzu). Though I haven’t hit the headlines yet, I am at least chipping away at my dream rather than letting it die in the back of the closet of my head. I owe everyone who has been reading, commenting, sharing, following and supporting my writing for helping me drag that dusty old dream out and making it somewhat of a reality. I hope that by sharing this, that all of you who aren’t exactly who or what they thought they would be when they “grew-up” inspires you to throw your little pity party violin in the fire and watch that motherf**ker burn too.