Glennon Doyle’s latest memoir Untamed unraveled me: her thoughts could’ve been my thoughts, her words my words and I found myself highlighting the shit out of the book. As I assume it is with most people, reading is a stationary, introverted experience of watching a movie unfurl in my mind. It’s quiet, unexciting and most likely pretty boring to share a room with me. But this was different; I wondered if watching me read Untamed would’ve been as comical as I imaged it was. It was constant head nods, exclaimed “uh-huh’, excited outbursts of “yes!” and softly uttered “oh my” interspersed with tears and laughter and my hands clasped against my throbbing heart.
At one point in the book, Glennon is discussing the boiling water under her skin, the feeling of “more” wanting to escape. I read this part in bed beside my husband. It spoke to me so deeply that I read it to him, closed the book, turned to him and said, “THAT. That is what I’ve been trying to tell you. I’m feeling the same way. I want to be a writer. I want to be a published, successful writer and I’m not writing. I don’t know what to do. I think this feeling is my body and soul saying, ‘release our words and give them their rightful place in the Universe. Unleash us.’”
Clay looked at me and the words he spoke next will stay with me forever: “Then just start with G. Just strum G.”
At my confused look, he continued, “If I was trying to write the greatest song of all time the pressure and intimidation would stop me from playing. I’d freeze and I wouldn’t be able to do it. So don’t think of it as writing to be the best published author. Write for you. Write for the release. Just start with G. Then maybe you’ll strum a D and then maybe an A flat. Then you have your rift. Then you’ll build to the bridge and the chorus. Then song will be done. The book will be done if you just write for you. So just start with G, baby.”
It wasn’t lost on me that Glennon Doyle’s nickname is G.
I’ve been in a creative funk and a writers block since Fall 2019. I haven’t posted a blog in a loooong time. My ego got the best of me:
“You’re not a talented enough writer.”
“You have nothing of value to say.”
“What do you know?”
“You have kids now. No one wants to hear from you.”
and the worst of them all,
“Who do you think you are?”
That is the problem. Who am I? Specifically, who am I as a writer? I started blogging as a means to release my feelings over my infertility journey and subsequent life problems/musings but now I’m drowning in children. Where do I fit in with the fertility community now? I know how hard it is to see babies on social media and yet, I’m loud and proud over my babies. I worked damn hard for them so what do I do? Start a separate platform for fertility that excludes my children? Delete my kids from my writing life and focus solely on fertility issues? The uncertainty gave me a serious pause. A ten month long pause.
My purpose, to be a healer through words, seems unobtainable and outdated. I had strongly believed my fertility struggles were part of my journey to living my best, most authentic and wonderful life: to help others conceive or find happiness without children through writing (and other means too of course but writing is my dream). But the fertility journey isn’t my story anymore. I don’t want to live in that world anymore. I can’t live in that world anymore. I have three kids now; I don’t belong there.
Similarly, time is a trickster. I can’t fully remember how I felt during my struggles. I remember the big emotions: the negative tests and the losses but I can’t remember the day-to-day hardships I faced. I know I was desperate for a second child but I don’t remember how I was dealing with that nor what I was thinking at those times.
It’s the same with anxiety and depression. When I’m good, I can’t ever seem to recall how I felt when I was in the Darkness. It’s like its shadows envelop me and keep things foggy enough so that when I emerge, the feelings stay in the shadows waiting for the next low to hit.
My past days of grief and trauma are foggy and today, shrouded in my newfound joy (and chaos) over my two kids under two. So how do I write about that which I can’t recall?
Can I even relate to the fertility community now? Probably not as much. Thank goodness for my blog so I can revisit those past days but even still, I’m not the same person anymore. Can I still be of value to anyone?
What’s a gal to do?
I love to write. I want to write. I want to prioritize writing in my life. I want to publish a book. But what’s the book to be about? Is it fertility? INfertility? Is it something completely different?
I’m still not sure.
For now, I just need to start. I need to write for me, whatever that looks like. Like everything else worth accomplishing, I just need to type that first word, that first letter. I’ll start with G.