My depression and anxiety is held at bay with a daily dose, but meds are no wonder cure. Most people would never guess that I am a depressive. I like to socialize. I love, love to laugh. I adore my daughter, my family and my friends (even my ex-husband!). But, the depression hovers. It’s tiring. Exhausting. Many days, I feel that all I can manage is to be a good mom. Nothing else. Love my daughter. Accomplish that in a day, stay focused, create quality time and check the “task completed” box. Because, I actually love our life. I love her smile and her laugh and how she expresses her creativity on a daily basis as we make up chapter stories every time we buckle up in the car, how she devises dance routines, plays in three acts and performs cooking experiments in the kitchen (without a recipe) that are actually edible. It’s all a tremendous wonder. I’m still in awe that she is my child, that I was lucky enough to be rewarded this exact being.
I remind myself that I am indeed a good photographer. I’m good at taking kids’ headshots. I can tap into their ability to allow their inhibitions to melt away and bring forth their full personality. So, why can’t I make a decent living? And, every day I vow to not give up on my dream to be a published writer who can actually sell enough books so that I can write full-time. But, is this delusional? Parents aren’t supposed to be delusional, are they? Chasing a pipe dream is not the best example for a child. (Though, it IS if you succeed.)
I can taste success. Some nights, it seems so close. When I finished my second manuscript, I gave it to four very different friends, and completely different readers. I received great constructive criticism and I returned to editing feeling invigorated and re-energized. I finally have a query I like and a synopsis that recaps the story in four pages, reflecting the novel’s voice and style (Oiy!). I drift off to sleep, imagining an agent signing me, a publisher wanting me, believing so much in my work that they give me a good—great, incredible!—advance and I’m strolling the streets of New York City after my first amazingly successful book signing. Then, my adrenalin surges and I’m wide awake. (At least it wasn’t an anxiety attack. Progress, no?)
Well, I’m still here in my sweltering second-story Hollywood apartment (down on the flats, not up in the coveted, moneyed hills). The wall-to-wall carpeting incessantly draws in the heat; the fan blows hot air around. My daughter’s asleep next to me in the bed (she’s going through a bout of fearing the dark—every shadow, every darkened doorway, even the lovely moon outside her window). I stroke her back, happy that she’s calm now, sleeping without fear. She even laughs in her sleep (I hope she never stops doing that!).
I am typing on my laptop. It’s ten to one in the morning. I love the stillness and quiet. The peace. The contentment I am feeling is enough to help me through one more day.
A grown-up? A full-blown adult? I hope to be one some day. It’s a worthwhile goal. A worthwhile dream.
© 2011 Will I Ever Be a Grown-Up? Part III by Kat Ward