|Picture by Nick Shere|
Success or failure. They are both paradoxical mirror images for me. Opposite yet the same. Good and bad.I can't tell you which is better. Failure is what is known, what was predicted, what is safe. Success is dangerous. Breaking all the rules laid down for me before I was born. Using my voice, my hands and my words to write truth even if its fiction. It rings true because it's born from my experience and my own imagination. Speaking anything true, even if it was lies that rang true was breaking the biggest rule of all.
Speaking truth meant dying. I think it can feel like that for many of us even if we weren't actively threatened with death if we ever told. Nothing in the world says to us, particularly women, tell us your story. Read us your words. We want to hear what you have to say. Nothing in the world tells us we can be writers. There is no room for us to stretch the rules for what a woman should write.
We are looked at as verbal scrap bookers. Women write in journals or write books that are not "important". We break through a million no's and deaf ears when we start putting our screaming truths, our loud imaginings on the page. We take our own space in the writing world which doesn't have room for us.We demand it in our loud stompy boots and stiletto heels or squeaky high top shoes or sneaky bare feet.
Failure is tempting and sweet even in it's sadness. Success is pure terror and the unknown. I'm still figuring out what it means- success. For now, success is showing up to the page. Success is taking what we want, need, hunger for as our own food as if it was our right because it is. It's time. Time to break back into my book even with my cowardice and fear. It's time to get back in there with a pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard and write even if it feels like slogging through sticky mud or going under in quicksand like in the Tarzan movies of old. And if it feels awful and lonely and terrifying I take comfort in the others who are doing the same. Showing up to the page with their terror tucked in tightly in the jaw bone, teeth clenched but determined. Doing it anyway.
It feels impossible and wrong and all the different kinds of fear, all the flavors but it's time. That will be my success. If I name it maybe I will fear it less. If I say this is what success looks like, maybe I won't sabotage my own work to stay in the safe, known, flat lands. The company of other writers even if they are far away writing in places I can't see is what helps. I can hear the echo of keyboards clattering at a great distance, I can feel the imprint of pen on paper in another city or time zone.
Success looks like writing, doing the work. Success feels like community to me, whether you are up close and personal or far away. I am reaching out to you whether I know you or not and inviting you in. I'll write today. Write with me.
What does success look like or feel like to you? How do you measure it?