Will I Ever Be a Bona Fide Grown-Up? Part III   9 comments

Nasturtims Giving Homage to Georgia O'Keefe

Image by garlandcannon via Flickr

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.

 the end

*

© 2011 Will I Ever Be a Grown-Up? Part III by Kat Ward

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Posted September 14, 2011 by Kat Ward in Essay

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9 responses to “Will I Ever Be a Bona Fide Grown-Up? Part III

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  1. I remember the exact moment when I thought, “That must mean I’m a grown-up.” I was driving, in so much emotional pain. The random thought occurred to me that some people would say, “I want my mommy!,” while I was grateful my mom didn’t know how much I was suffering at the time. I wanted to protect her. I was in my 30s.

    To have survived and overcome all you have means you’ve definitely earned the grown-up badge, Kat. Welcome to the vale of tears, hehe. Now we struggle to hold onto our childhood dream of becoming someone successful and worthy. Oh, the cruel irony.

    I read your first post, too, and a few others besides. You’ve already accomplished so much, and continue to show up every day, as life expects and requires. Sometimes the only way to beat the dollar demon is the word “despite”—I will write, despite the discouragement, despite the yawning, empty bank account, despite the dearth of comments…I will write, otherwise my soul will die.

    • Exactly. When I would get doubtful that I should even continue to write, especially if it wasn’t going to put shekels in my pocket to help support my daughter, I realized that I would continue to write even if I knew right now that it would never make me a dime. Because I like the creating part of it. I love the part when the story is just between me and the page. I have found that I am a better mom if I take care of my creativity.

      I shall wear my “grown-up” badge proudly. Thank you for bestowing it upon me! And, now, I’m going to go write.

  2. Kat,

    As hard as it is at times, money is only one metric of your success. You are doing all the right things, in the right way, with your head screwed on right. You will be bathing in the serenity of your success. The trick is to have the patience and where-with-all to outlast the process. 2009 was an awful year for me (and 150 million other Americans) but I put my plan into place and began working it, through good days and bad. 2010 got better and I’m doing very well today.

    It will happen for you. Your talent is obvious and generous. Can’t wait to see it happen for you.

    M

  3. Just wonderful and always honest Kat. I love reading you. More please?!

  4. Pingback: Kate Gosselin and The Cosmic Shame « Five Things At Once

  5. I sure do love reading your work. What a perfect place to do this.
    Had a moment today when I was taking Matty to school. Yes, it was hectic trying to get out the door and get him there on time, but there was a part of me that was grateful that I had this.
    As crazy, relentless, busy as this life can seem, I am realizing that this journey is the gift.
    Cliche? Yes. But there’s a lot of truth to it.
    I was talking to someone at work today about how it feels like the 1970’s all over again.
    Economic concerns, environmental problems, war everywhere.
    There are times when I feel like I’m working 3 times harder than my parents ever worked to make three times less than what they made.
    I do believe there is hope, though. There is love. But we have to keep faith that we can make it through.
    Keep writing. I’ll keep reading.

    • Hi, my friend! Thank you so much. You know, I called the house the other day, and thought Matty was you, his voice was so low. How are your projects coming along? I’ve been reading Kevin’s ISMS (don’t know if you read all my posts, and I’m not naturally drawn to the fantasy genre, but it is quite amazing. I hope they get it to Kindle soon so Kate can get it. Chat soon, eh? And thank you, thank you for your words and endless support.

  6. But dreams are important. And it’s better to show a child that you are happy to be working toward your dream, then that you have to accept a job you hate. It’s not a pipe dream if you’re doing the work it takes to get better and get there. Delusional is for American Idol contestants that we all laugh at. People who have talent and put in the work aren’t delusional. They’re just at an earlier stage of their journey.

    • Thank you, Jeff for your comment, let alone reading the post! I subscribe to your theory in theory, it’s just that when I am in the reality of financial oblivion, it is hard to enjoy the act writing. I am finally succeeding in getting a thrill from the process and the “doing” which all the self-help folks espouse, so it feels like progress. Thanks, again.

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