Day 139 - The Legacy of Writing.
I can’t believe it has been six months since I started posting every day. I am very proud of the fact that I have honored this commitment. I didn’t think that I would. I thought that I would get busy or just tired. If I am really honest, I thought I would find a guy and he would become the centerpiece of my mornings. I felt like, I would, for sure, run out of things to say...
I have learned so much about myself in sharing my writing with you. I have had to be accountable and honest. Sometimes not too honest so I don’t hurt someone unintentionally. I have had to chose my words carefully which has not always been easy.
I have examined my motives and have seen how they do not always comport with my intentions and goals. I have, regardless, shared my thoughts, feelings, and pain with you not as a dumping ground, but a reflective place where love is the basis.
Writing has helped me be less angry. I started off with a lot of reasons to be upset. I carried a lot of hurt around and it was a heavy burden. I have been able to reframe my pain into something that is leavened...pain has become growth. The path of hardship has led me to new places and relationships, first and foremost with myself.
I won’t bore you with a long discussion of all the many, many ways that I have been changed and helped by writing because that would take hours. I will sum up with the simple statement that writing has made my life livable and valuable. Writing has become the manner in which I discover things that I didn't know that I knew. Writing is discovery for me.
Yesterday, the best thing happened as a result of my writing. As I drove up to Big Sur, my daughter and I sang songs. Talked. Dreamed. It was a lovely time with neither of us on our devices. Inevitably though the device won and she disappeared into her computer. I thought she was playing Star Stables with her group of online friends. And she was. But after a little while she shut the computer and sat quietly. I asked her what was up. She said, “Guess what I just did?” I said. “Bought a new online horse?” She said, “Nope. I started writing...like you mom.”
And she did. She wrote how she felt about people. How she felt about things that were bothering her. She put her feelings down into words. Now you may be thinking, “so what? Big Deal!” But it was a big deal. This kid struggles with words. Dyslexia has made reading and writing hard, very hard. Spelling is impossible. She has worked so hard to overcome her learning issues. For this kid, to be willing, for no school assignment, to write something is nothing short of a miracle. To write about how she was feeling, a complete fucking miracle.
I felt like I was on shaky ground, I did not want to push, I wanted to encourage. But the moods of an almost 13 year old girl are changeable and hard to navigate sometimes...well often, if I am honest. I didn’t want to overdo it but I wanted to tell her how excited I was that she might have found an outlet. A way to manage her stress, a place to put all the things from her head and heart that are hard, painful or exciting and joyous. So I tread carefully...
The computer remained closed. But she told me what she wrote about. People and how she didn’t like them. I wanted to immediately tell her that wasn’t true...because she loves people but for once, I just listened and didn’t correct. She told me how she found them difficult...then she did something amazing. She opened up the computer and read me what she wrote. She shared with me her inner most feelings and thoughts. She allowed me entrance and access to her interiority.
I remained cool and collected on the outside, but on the inside I was elated. My kid was writing and sharing it! I was so happy and proud and hopeful. I told her that I thought what she wrote was amazing. I told her that I was proud of her. I told her that I hoped she would continue. Maybe at least writing once a week...
She said that she liked it and found it helpful. I left it at that because I know all too well the treacherous ground of adolescence often shifts faster than I can think...
We sat in silence for a little while. Both of us transported to somewhere else, somewhere private and solitary. A little while later, she said, “I want to write like you, mom.”
I can tell you that I have never had a better mom moment. Ever. Because in this moment, I was affirmed about all the things that I did as a mom prior. Here she is on the cusp of 13 and so disdainful of adults and Boomers in particular. We are the enemy. We are the rulers. We are the ones who don’t understand. We are supremely uncool. And yet, despite all of that, she wanted to be like me. She still can see something within me that is valuable. Something curious and hopeful. Something attractive. Not only was she interested in my life and how I live it, but she was wiling to put forth some amazing effort and model me by writing.
I have always written. It was the way that I survived my childhood and then adolescence. I still wrote even after I found booze and men which could have easily supplanted writing. But I would come home from a long night drinking and write shit. Often it was illegible and unintelligible the next day, but I would write nonetheless. So important the act of writing that I was willing to do it even in my altered state.
I don’t know if she will continue writing. I am going to keep my big mouth shut and just let her do her. She will either find a passion in it or she won’t. It is her path. I am just an involved observer. My job to allow her to figure stuff out but to be present so that I can observe when she can’t or won’t.
Writing has been salvation for me. A never ending path to finding myself. It has only been recently that I have been willing to share my thoughts from the path with others. Yesterday, I saw how vulnerable and courageous it is for one to share one’s writing with another. She looked up at me when she was done reading what she wrote. I saw her. All of the hers I have known: the infant, the toddler, the three to five year old, the kindergartner, the elementary school kid, and now the adolescent. I was overcome with love for this child, this young girl. So amazed and grateful to have the relationship with her that I do. So grateful for the relationship I have with my own mom, for being taught how to be a mother by a really good example.
Writing is growth, writing is life for me. It is the manner in which I synthesize all that happens in my interior and exterior. It is the way in which I make sense of all of it. Yesterday, I saw the legacy I was offering my child even though I never actually offered it to her. I saw that she is watching me, observing me too. I am so grateful that I have done the work to make what she is observing honest, authentic and real. And I have writing (and a lot of therapy and recovery) to thank for that.