It’s been a hell of a couple of years.

I know that’s true for all of us, but millions of people around the world have seemed to be able to get on with their lives while I remain stuck, still feeling like I’m in lockdown, and feeling locked down in my body wherever I go. It’s something that started several months before the pandemic, when I had to quit my job as a barista because my muscles had been so tense and tight for so long that I was physically unable to hold a coffee cup to pour into. That was the end of 2019, and things have been more or less a nightmare ever since.

Okay, you say, but what does any of this have to do with writing? Because, after having to quit the last five jobs I was at because my body kept failing over and over in different ways, I declared out loud a few days ago that I was going to go all in on fiction writing, something that I’ve wanted to do for many years. At this point it doesn’t seem like I have much to lose as I already am unable to be financially responsible for myself due to all my physical issues, which doctors can find no basis for, which seems to indicate that they are all trauma/stress/tension induced. Easy to fix, right?

My fiancé has supported me in this and to her I am grateful. I’ve worked hard my entire life and to not be able to has resulted in the loss of much more than a paycheck, it has led to depression, feelings of worthlessness, and the fear that I’ll never ever be able to take care of myself again. I have a very small support system and have been trying to grow it for a long time but, at age 40, you’re supposed to be working, and meeting people that way. I search on Meetup and in other places but have found it incredibly difficult to make connections. The majority of friends that I do have have both careers and children, leaving them with little to no time for old friends like me. Which I understand, but it sure is painful to be the one who is always unable to make the cut.

I’ve been trying to get my writing published for years, with small successes here and there, but have never found a way to break through. That’s what I aim to do now, and with such a small support system I figured I could use my blog here as an accountability tool, posting my intentions and current struggles in order to keep me on track even if no one else out there is reading.

A major reason I started writing more and more as a teenager was because I did not have many friends and when I couldn’t figure out how to make them I made them up instead. It was for survival, for connection, to feel like I existed. And then it came to include exploring both the external and internal worlds. It was about processing emotions and finding happier endings to stories in my own life that ended anything but.

At the lowest point in the pandemic, I had lost so much weight, as well as the inability to digest food, that I couldn’t write or really do much of anything. My weight is now stable and I get better, if still extremely erratic, sleep, and can do much more than before, but still can’t seem to hold down a physical job no matter how much I try. The last time I ended up in the ER when I couldn’t bend my hip without extreme pain. The diagnosis? (Insert that shrug face emoji)

And so once again I turn to writing. Trying to write myself out of this hole, write a better present, write a better future, and process the overwhelming demons of the past. This blog post is the first volley towards that goal. Maybe it can begin to let me see daylight once again.

Current projects:

  • Seek representation for my novel, a series of interconnecting stories and vignettes that follow a character with crippling anxiety from first grade to the end of high school
  • Submit the 10 finished stories that I have to literary journals. These vary in length from 400 words to 8000 words
  • Continue the process of reworking my first novel, a World War II era love story, line by line. I’m about halfway through this process

And so there it all is, written out in front of me, to be posted online, and of course if you’re reading this, then I’ve gone ahead and done it. God help me.