I was young, I don’t remember what age exactly but young, maybe 6 or 8 or 13. My parents would take us to church and I would hear all these things about God and Heaven, and I questioned it. I didn’t believe half the stories, I thought no way. So I asked my father one day about living and doing good, and what is the truth, or something along those lines.
I remember his face, it was gentle and scruffy and he kind of squinted, wrinkled his nose and looked up at the sky, and then at me and smiled. He said, “Well Corrie, you don’t live for the world, you just live in it and you do what you can, be honest to your heart.”
Lately this memory or saying has been going through my head, non stop, as if it’s on some kind of loop. Why??
So I thought I would write about it. However… I’m not sure what “it” is. Am I searching for something, am I not following my heart? Theses are the questions that fill up the blind space, where do I go from here.
You know that poem, “The Road Less Traveled”, Am I at that fork? What’s stalling me to walk the path I have chosen? Awe, right. The fear…..
I have been accepted into an MFA creative writing program. I’ve started my first quarter, and I am scared shitless. Do I know what I am doing? NO!! Well maybe, but I’m stalling. Slowly sliding my feet across the hot pavement. Maybe if I write about what I am afraid of, I can get over it and move forward.
Well of course, the all well-known fear, what the F*** do you want?
I have this image of me wearing amor, and I’m not standing alone. The best of the best–Faulkner, Doctorow, Chandler, Patterson, Hemingway, and more–have been right where I am now. I am not saying I’m any Doctorow or Patterson either, but I strive for it. I gotta let the fear go. Simple, Yay right. But it should be just simple. I have been reading many new and old authors lately and I can’t remember which one said it, but she/he said, “You have to write about your fears, your likes, your loses, your loves, your darkest dream.”
So this is where I begin.
I am scared to write because I’m afraid I am not at a graduate level, and I will be laughed at and fail miserably. I am scared to death to write a critical essay, It has been so long. There I said it. Now what? I guess, now I write.
I don’t own a car, house, I have no children and never been married. Oh yeah, I am currently without a career too. Am I supposed to have all this by the time I turn 40 years old? Seems like it, the ladies in my workout class have families, careers — they own businesses and homes. I look at them and then look at myself and wonder if I have done it all wrong.
Yesterday I picked up my life partner from work and told him, “I’m having a hard day. I hate my body, my life, the fact I don’t work right now — I don’t know what I want to do, or how to do it, I feel like a loser. An ugly loser.”
He tried to console me, but I sat and sulked anyway. I yelled at him actually to not talk, not say anything to me, to leave me in my cesspool of shit. He did, for a while — but it was dinner time.
“Are we still eating tonight?” he asked. NO matter how low I get, life still proceeds.
As I made dinner I realized that I was being a real bitch. Not so much to my Boo, but to myself. If someone else had told me I was a fat loser, my response would not have been too kind — I would have told them where to go. So why would I allow myself to break my own heart and soul. Because I really don’t hate myself. I have worked so hard to love my life and choices and be kind to my mind, body and soul. Am I really going to let myself down because I don’t compare to these outsider expectations of where I am supposed to be in my life due to age?
I have experienced the kind of life most people only see in the movies, and I have worked hard to get there. I am a beautiful woman inside and out. I am so sorry for letting myself get caught up in the idea that I had to be doing something different associated by some kind of social design.
Today I have been going over my choices, good and not so good, and I am noticing just how cool I am. Not because I do or don’t have things/jobs/kids to show, but because I am learning who I am without the usual outline, and am still solid in my heart’s desires.
I am turning 40 tomorrow, and I have nothing that my bootcamp ladies have, but perhaps I have something they don’t have. And being 40 is just an age, a number to show how long I have been on earth, nothing more. I am as young or as old as I will choose to be, and at 40 I will still wear my converse, ballerina skirts, and crazy hair. I will continue to navigate my life in a way that makes me happy and if society can’t handle it, well, I don’t care. We live in a day where life is what you make it, and the best birthday gift I could give myself is courage and confidence to continue on my path.
I have to admit I am changing, but that’s what happens anyways. Change is the only thing constant in life, so I will embrace my changes hold onto my youth and believe growing old gracefully isn’t a part of my vocabulary — at least not by any modern definition.
Happy Birthday Corrie. I hope the next 40 years are just as exciting, fun, and explorative as the last!!
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