I’m afraid to tell people that I’m a writer. I don’t feel like a writer. I want to be a writer – I’ve wanted it since I was about ten or eleven years old – but now, when I’m trying to focus on it with concentrated effort for the first time, trying to follow this longtime dream – I’m afraid to tell people.
Instead I say “I’ve got work to do” or I list the other half-dozen things that I might do during the two days that my son is in daycare. “You know, I’m cooking a meal for a friend that had surgery, and then I’m observing a bit of teaching for the girl I mentor and then I’m coaching a chamber music group and then I’m writing a proposal for a magazine. And then I’ve got to learn the music for that concert next week.” It’s never “I’m writing.”
Is it because I haven’t yet been published – outside the classical music realm and world? Is it because I feel like I’m just going through the motions – imitating what I imagine to be the life of a writer (who’s also essentially a full-time mom and in charge of everything in the home)? Is it because I’m afraid to tell people what I’m writing about?
Putting not just my life, but also such a difficult and essential part of my life, out for public inspection and consumption is not just scary – it’s terrifying. But even more terrifying is realizing that some of the people closest to me – my immediate family – will read these words, learn things about me for the first time.
I look at my son. I never want him to feel or experience some of the things that I’ve felt. I worry that he will. Imagining that he might experience similar things is heartbreaking. With every cell in my being, I want to protect him from it. It’s difficult to imagine my own parents reading the words of this blog. I want to protect them as well.
I know they support me and especially support my desire to write and to “use my background” (aka my undergraduate experience at Yale as an English major, taking lots of nonfiction writing classes). But I’ve been afraid to tell them what I’m writing about – that my subject matter is this mix of depression and Christianity and motherhood.
So I confess my fear, my insecurity. And I say it now: I am a writer. I will write honestly and truthfully. I will write about the hard things (although there are also many good things). This will not always be pretty. This is me.