Writing is all I've ever wanted to do.....
What do you want to be when you grow up? How many times were we asked that as kids? Most children usually give a different answer each time as their interests change and evolve with age, but not me. All I've ever wanted to be was a writer. Ever since my grandmother first told me it was possible, all those years ago, as she handed me a worn copy of Little Women, and I read all about Jo March and her resolve to be a writer herself.
I've spent the last decade pursuing a career as a writer. I covered music, books, conducted interviews, wrote for faith magazines and blogs, anything to get my foot in the door and better myself as a writer. I worked to hone my craft throughout these last ten years. I learned from authors that I admired, many of whom I call friends today. There are several people who have been so incredibly encouraging and helpful to me almost from the start. The ones I would often bounce ideas off of and send them my work to critique. The ones whom I've had the privilege of working with on their own books, watching the process from a front row seat. I'm immeasurably grateful for those authors.
I was finally catching my stride. I felt as though I had a good deal of experience under my belt and was ready to finally attempt what I've always wanted to do... I started writing my first book in late 2018. I was chugging along, chapter after chapter...... You see, I had a passion for this project, yes, but it also meant so much more than making a dream come true. It meant being able to hold an accomplishment in my hands and to show everyone who has ever had doubts about me and my future that I really knew what I was doing.
I know so many people close to me have had major doubts about the decisions I've made for my life so far. They've humored me to my face, but I've heard the whispers and I've seen the doubt in their faces. They watch my siblings lead more practical lives, working more practical jobs, and then they turn to me and I know they see me as a failure they have to explain to other people. "Oh her?.. Yeah well.. she's just... well I guess she's...." I know.
I've always swallowed those doubts and just kept plugging away. I'd tell myself that they'll see one of these days. I'll prove myself and show them that I know what I'm doing, I know what I want in this life, and I'll get it, just you wait and see. One of these days, I'm going to have something tangible that will show them that all the work and time I've put into the last 10 years hasn't been wasted. I would admit, life has dealt me a few hard blows, mainly health-wise, over the last decade, but I wasn't going to let that stop me.... Little did I know the biggest blow had yet to come.
2019 was the year that changed everything for me. I found myself more and more sensitive to light and sound. At first, this symptom was blamed on the Lyme disease that I had for most of the year..... but it wasn't the Lyme. Hypersensitivity/Sensory overload is a symptom of Fibromyalgia. It means that my brain overload easily. I found myself becoming more and more sensitive to lights and sounds as the months went on, to the point where I couldn't bear to look at a screen. My brain has all it can do to get through the basics of everyday life without overloading these days.
I also noticed difficulty with memory and general cognitive function. I was having increasing difficulty with words and particularly taking what was in my mind and getting it down on paper/typed up on the screen. Obviously this is a rather large part of writing. I found myself growing more frustrated with my deteriorating abilities. I'd read pieces I had written prior to 2018 and I could see a stark contrast to the quality of the writing. It just wasn't there anymore, no matter how hard I tried.
There's nothing scarier for a writer than realizing that your brain is no longer functioning up to par, except realizing that maybe everyone was right after all. Did I just waste the last ten years of my life on something I can longer do? I'm a decade older and what do I have to show for it now? A brain deteriorating? It seems so incredibly cruel of life to give someone a passion and to allow them to pursue that passion for a decade, only to just take it away. I've always said throughout these last seven years that I can deal with the pain, the illnesses, and the fatigue. I can deal with all of it, as long as I have a functioning mind. It's my only strength. But now....
What do you do when the only thing you were ever good at is taken away? What happens when you suddenly find yourself standing on the smoldering ashes of a dream you'd been working towards for the last decade of your life? What do you do when you're staring failure in the face? Will I ever be able to write well again? I have no answers to any of those questions...
They tell me life will get better...... but I'm not sure of that either anymore.
What I am sure of is that I can't continue on this course. I'm taking this year to pursue health, first and foremost. I need to find a way to heal some of the bigger symptoms. I've achieved remission in the past, I hope to do so again. Maybe, just maybe, I'll write again, but I believe at that at this time, I also need to start exploring other options...... You'll have to forgive me, it seems I'm still finding my wings.
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She also acts as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.