The Real Reason I'm Writing Today
Last week my old friends, Ami and Jackie, who started out as work colleagues nearly 18 years ago, but became so much more than that over time, came down to Austin from Dallas for a work visit and squeezed me in for dinner.
They asked me why I don’t email anymore, and I told them it’s because I don’t want to bug people, to which Jackie responded, “Would you rather be forgotten? If people don’t want to read your emails, they can hit the delete button.”
The thought of being forgotten is what got me.
My bio for guest posts around the internet and in my blog’s business plan say that the purpose of my blog is to share a humorous perspective on all the crap we (humans) deal with in life; to give women someone they can relate to amongst all the “perfect” wives and moms and women in general all around us.
But the truth is, that’s only part of the reason I write.
The funny stories, the attempts at making you feel like, “Oh thank God it’s not just me,”... that’s all just a cover.
A sham. A hoax.
A booby trap to get you to read my words and share them with your friends.
The stories I write are true, don’t get me wrong.
But the reasons I share them - that’s what I’m not necessarily honest about.
I remember sitting in my front yard as a kid, writing poetry* and thinking how maybe I’d dig that notebook out of the bottom of a drawer when I was old - like 30 - which was ca-razy to think I'd ever be that old because 30 seemed so far away from me that day.
Now in my late 40’s, time’s speeding up and one of the things I always think about is, “what if I’ve passed the halfway mark?” and the thought of getting hit by a bus tomorrow and that being it - finished - kaput - that’s all she wrote (literally) - is such a let-down.
I don’t want that to be all I have here.
I’ve said it before, and you know it well: I don’t have anything earth shattering to share. I’m not changing lives with my blog or with anything I write, for that matter.
But I want people after me to know I was here.
I want to leave a mark.
Every book, article, or post ever written - no matter what the topic - is infused with pieces of its author. You can go to the library and pull out books written decades before you were born, and see their words long after the author is dead and buried.
Is it totally narcissistic to envision someone a hundred years from now reading something I’ve written that makes them laugh or nod their head in understanding?
Writing is like my own version of cryonics.
It’s not that I want to live forever.
I just want to have meaning to someone. Enough meaning that it lasts after my candle is snuffed out.
I want my kids to share my stories with their kids and their kids, like I do about my great-grandparents and the summers I spent with them on their farm, or about my Nana, whose story isn’t just a skeleton in our family’s closet, but also an important narrative of life for World War 2-era women just like her.
She was secretive about her life. She had a different persona for her different circles of friends and even different circles of family.
She died with truths no one will ever know.
This is the year I will write her story the best I know how. I’ll have to improvise parts of it, but my goal is to do her justice, and to do right by all the others impacted by the choices she made in her life.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to blog at least weekly, because I want to tell my own stories - I don’t want someone else to tell them, because nobody else can get them just right. Nobody else can tell them the way I can.
I want to make sure they’re injected with all the crazy that’s rightfully mine.
*I was a weird kid. I always pictured myself as a character in a soap opera or a daytime drama - like a Lifetime movie, if Lifetime were a thing back then, but this was about 20 years before its time. I'd sit under the tree in my front yard with my legs pulled up to my chest, gazing out into nothingness until the words would come to me, then I would write poetry - usually about lost love or lost hope or death. I've always joked that I had a flair for drama as a kid, but the truth is - since we're baring our souls here - I was a weirdo.