2021 arrived. Today marks a full week of newness. But my little acreage of world doesn’t feel any different. Does yours? Covid-19 is still covid-ing up the death toll— especially in these United- cough- States— and all the baggage that goes along with it is alive and continues to struggle for resolution. But as The Hollies say…
The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
That may be a little too pollyannaish for you dear friends, readers and voyeurs. But I say why the hell not? If a little overzealous sentimental optimism is what it takes to get us out of the slump of the Year That We Must Not Name, then why not. The sun still rises and sets. If you simply throw up your hands and say, “What’s the point? My dreams and goals don’t matter. Not compared with the current perilous state of the world.” If that’s the point of view you’re going to take, then by all means walk around without a mask until you get the Covid and be done with it— Ouch!
Didn’t see that coming. But that is the complicated state I’m living in these days. I’m up, down and everywhere in between. It’s horrible and wondrous and I’ve never felt more alive, or more grateful to be alive. I hope you feel the same. Because now is the time to put your arse in the chair.
I’ve never been a New Year’s Resolution maker. I did try. I tried for years to commit not only to making a list, but also following through on the tasks I believed would make me a better, if not more interesting person. Then I got to graduate school. And I realized the resolution thing was a bunch of tosh. I didn’t follow through on New Year’s Resolutions because what was on the list was nothing more than actions I believed “other” people would admire me for. The projects I cared about like earning my MFA— and the actions I needed to take to get that done were what motivated me to show up day after day until the goal was completed.
Jump UP! Did you catch that? What I used to put on my New Year’s Resolution lists were all the tasks I believed would make me a better person. During my graduate school days I believed, to the bottom of my calloused dancer toes, I would become a better, more lovable person, once I became a successful— read famous— actress. There was a niggle of a problem, however, no one could stand to listen to me. I was emotionally and physically connected to each role, but I had no voice to support it. Hence, the audience would tune me out. I needed to relearn how to breathe. Properly. Open up not only the lungs, but also the belly so my entire body could vibrate with sound. To feel vibrations in my bones after nearly three decades of nothing was no tiny adjustment. To be in possession of a full-bodied voice was liberating. It was a freedom I never realized I’d lost— see future memoir for that story— And, I had no intention of losing it again.
And so, I made the physical, emotional and mental adjustments that were necessary to nurture my voice. It didn’t happen overnight, but I became a better actress, and person, because every role brought with it different emotional and mental blocks that needed to be peeled away.
Jump back— to Kaitlyn’s story, the novel-in-progress, the manuscript under the Big Edit’s second round.
Because I hated my life, I set out to write a novel about a woman whose life starts in the toilet then turns out exactly the way she wants. Boring. To make it interesting, I needed to include all of life’s sucky parts. And in so doing, I’ve come face to face with all the emotional and mental blocks of my life. Everyday Kaitlyn and I wrestle with them on the page until she becomes the change I want to make— then me too.
Flashback— to those New Year’s Resolutions. The reason they didn’t work for me was because something inside of me was saying you don’t want to make band-aid changes. My entire existence has been structured so I could pursue a Lifetime Resolution— To become the best possible version of myself. That’s why I write. The acting of writing is the only medium I’ve found that allows me to stay in hot pursuit of a heart overflowing with gratitude, forgiveness, empathy and love. I can’t imagine a day without it.
My writing isn’t going to wipe out Covid-19, or end Racism, Unemployment and Poverty or lead to universal Healthcare, or World Peace. But it keeps me in the act of living. And if my heart stays true, my stories may have a chance to impact a few other souls hovering in the darkness. There are no guarantees. Still, I believe it’s worthy of Pollyanna-Me’s time.
What about you dear friends, readers and voyeurs? Are you ready to own and commit to your Lifetime Resolution? Great. Now put your arse in whatever chair is needed and go, go, go!