I do a lot of things right by accident.
It's a survival skill, I think; one that I've mastered. If I want something to happen, I pretend I don't give a shit until I legitimately do forget. It usually doesn't take long. Crazy at it may sound, I'm pretty certain I'm married to The Husband because I only referred to him by codename in my diaries for the first six months we date. Keeping quiet and not jinxing myself also got me the Latina Dimelo Advice Column gig because I was so convinced that the competition would just be too great and I didn't stand a chance.
But I got it.
Why? Simple, my friends; nothing left to lose directly translates into writing without thinking and sharing that piece of ourselves in our work that we so desperately sought out in books with Other People's Names on them. Write what I know? Paint what I know? Create what I seek? Be the change? Sure. I'm on it. I'm fabulous and unstoppable and readers tell me All the Time how much they look forward to my column in each issue of Latina. But maybe I'm doing something wrong because...well, because I Know and Create. Because I Am but I'm not.
Validity for the creative soul, the blessing of outside approval for following what was most probably Life Dreams -- well, this is one of those tricky times where the lines in the sand get a bit messy before, during, and after the dream has been identified, chased, caught, and wrestled into a smaller version of itself. No one wants to bite off more than we can chew until after we at least know what's being served for the main course. I write with wild abandon. I tell myself my family and personal friends who I have known since Before Blogging not to read my words, even though I know they can. It's easier to write for a world full of strangers because they don't get offended and it's just glorious when that group includes a face or two of the Best Bloggy/Writery BFFs you've admired from way back when you had two blog readers and one of them was your mother and the other one was you.
I have a column, I have books being PUBLISHED after 10 years of busting my ass and it feels incredible to know I am now officially and forever more living my dream. That dream, however, is quaint and cute. I'm nowhere near a household name. Who knows if I ever will be?
Right now, I'm a bit concerned that my standard M.O. isn't going to work in this particular instance. As much as I know I should be forgetting about the very dream I am just starting to get a taste of before I jinx myself, I can't. This is real life. If I decide to run off and disappear into the streets to avoid giving the Universe a chance to realize just how serious I am about making it to the end of the path I am walking with no detours, it would probably have more than adequate time to see through my little facade. But I guess that isn't entirely a bad thing.
I travel to places like NYC and LA for speaking events and conference shindigs and I'm exhausted before I even land at my destination airport. I want to forget because I've yet to do Something Right on purpose and what if THIS isn't meant to be the Something I do Right Now? Wht if I am destined to fail? Or worse yet, what if I fall flat on my face only because I dared to look at my Right Now and acknowledge that which I usually pretend I don't see?
How much longer do I have to burn the candle at both ends and half lie when I don't tell people that I am a successful writer? It's Not About the Money, we say, but rather, it's about connecting with our audiences because Noble and Worthy and All the Good Things that make for compelling social media shares. But if we're being honest with each other, the difference between being a writer and a successful writer has everything to do with money.
I am not successful. But I know I can fucking write.
I want to simultaneously eat a doughnut just to feel better and jump on the elliptical and move furiously without ever moving at all because that makes me feel better, too. What if I'm supposed to be purposely trying to forget just long enough to remember that I am supposed to never stop forgetting. What if I'm dooming my dream into crushing itself by trying to nurture and coax it into being confident and strong?
Maybe this is why my newly rediscovered artistic talents are such a welcome relief right now. I'm supposed to be writing my acknowledgement page but I'm writing this instead because this doesn't give me heart palpitations for fear of forgetting to thank my mother for that time she pushed me out of her vagina and other equally honest and painfully funny truths. I can't let myself forget even if I want to cry for having to focus. My only coping mechanism right now is making pretty things. I paint. I play with digital media files. I design iPhone cases and people want me to figure out how to get them fabric made with my art.
The very first show I submitted to -- because a friend insisted -- was the juried From Her art show in LA for Women's history month. I didn't even stop once after hitting send on the entry to consider I might actually have talent and be selected because it's so easy to let go when there's nothing to hold on to. So I write to distract myself from my art and I paint and get messy to distract myself from my writing. It's okay, I tell The Husband. Most of the famous and long-dead writers talked about today were just as fucked up as I am. The way I see it, and I'm a hot mess, there's a fair chance my great grand kids and their grandchildren will be discussing my art and my writing and how mental illness only enriched my work, just as we still thank the acid trip Louis Carol went on to write Alice in Wonderland. There's no coaxing that kind of brilliant mess out of a normal mind.
A watercolor painting in my sketchbook recently turned into a never-ending obsession with figuring out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop...which isn’t normal or healthy, so I figured it’s probably less insane if I channel the energy on something less likely to make my therapist make me start coming twice a week. I settled on figuring out how many different versions I could create, and it was all in an effort to distract myself because I'm still afraid to acknowledge the dreams I am working to make true. And then I started making tote bags and travel coffee mugs and didn't freak until I had a few sales and closed the shop tab like I'd been caught watching porn while on company time. That's when I took a few deep breaths to settle myself before throwing Fate the only curve ball I've got...
I opened the word doc with my BabyFat acknowledgment page draft and started writing