Months ago, at a Wine Night, my friend Lo and I were talking about our amazing friendship and all the fools we’ve had to suffer in the past. She said (and she hasn’t been the first) after I told her about my laborious life as a grad student who went straight from undergrad (which took me five years to complete) to an MA program, “You just keep going! You’re unstoppable. How do you keep doing it?”
I was thinking about this today as I was going over my to-do list for this week. So here are some thoughts about that.
Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Pick up those feet. Get going. There were days when I couldn’t fathom getting out of bed. But I did. I got out of bed and I looked at myself in the mirror and simply said, “Stop. You can do this. You got this. Don’t let this situation define who you are as a person. Define yourself by how you get over it.” I taped that to my mirror and read it every day. No matter what happens – keep moving, whether its forward or if you have to go back a step to get ahead. You do get second chances. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel inferior or that you’re not a valid human being. Your dreams are worth something.
I found comfort by realizing I wasn’t alone despite feeling that I was alone. Just keep fucking going. And remember – there is nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it. It’s not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign that you want to dust yourself off and get back on top of things; you just need a little push.
At 31, I feel like I’m 24. But there’s something different. I have a certain swagger in the way I walk and move my hips. I’m more aware of my body and I’m more comfortable with my body. I’m confident. I wear red lipstick because I fucking can. I’m older. I’m wiser. And I don’t suffer fools.
Currently, even though my novel and I are having this sort of relationship…
I continued to write. I wrote great big volumes of what I was going through. I had to get it all out of me and get it on ink, on paper. In her book, Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer On Writing, Margaret Atwood discusses the question,”Why do you write?” I recently started reading it again and in the introduction, I nearly wept. She answers the question, thoroughly, but it was these reasons that clenched it for me: “To set down the past before it is all forgotten. To excavate the past because it has been forgotten. Because I had to keep writing or else I would die…..To record the times which I have lived. To bear witness to horrifying events I have survived. To speak for the dead. To celebrate life in all its complexity. To praise the universe. To allow for the possibility of hope and redemption” (Atwood xx-xxii). It was so beautiful that when a student came in for a conference, I had to wipe my eyes and play it off as allergies. Because I had to keep writing or else I would die. That speaks volumes to me. Writing is my baby. Writing, my writing, is something that I will always strive to protect and something I will always encourage to grow. It’s something to live for, something to move towards. And despite the past, I will always be here for it. Always.
On A Lighter Note…
Dance. Always dance. Find your fucking jam and just dance your ass off. Y’all, I’m not kidding. Dance. It. Out. Even if you “can’t dance” – my god! WHO CARES! Get off your ass and jam. Here, I’ll post this to get you started…
And just remember that living well is the best revenge.