Last time I wrote a blog post, over six months ago, the ramifications of my mother’s dementia hadn’t sunk in. My sisters and I thought she’d maintain her then level of dottiness for at least a few years. Talk about ignorance being bliss! There’s nothing like senile dementia to make me–the daughter who didn’t sail into adulthood gracefully, the daughter who longed to remain forever a pseudo-adult–to…well…grow up. I’ve had to let go of the notion that I’m fancy-free, that I can succumb to my wanderlust at anytime.
Might as well have told me that I’d have to chop off a leg.
In the last six months, I’ve also let go of the notion that I can continue on with no health insurance, working as little as I can get away with so that I can write fiction. Full-time job, here I come, and, believe me, I’m ambivalent.
And, last but not least, I’ve let go of the notion that I’ll land the perfect agent and land a fabulous publishing contract. Not saying that it couldn’t happen, only that it’s not a slam-dunk, and that given the new indie world of small presses and self-publishing, I can now do what I want. I know so many established novelists who are self-publishing, yet, it’s like cutting off the other leg to let go of my dream of the fancy New York agent and editor.
Make decisions about Mom’s care…Make decisions about my financial and physical wellbeing…Make decisions about how to achieve readership. Sounds like full-fledged adulthood to me.
Truth: I’ve been holding on so tight to my cherished notions about myself, my lifestyle, and my dreams that I’ve squeezed the life out of them.
I titled this post “The Fine Art of Letting Go,” but I don’t know if there’s a fine art to letting go. It’s effing demoralizing and frustrating and depressing. In my case, there’s been a lot of screaming while I drive (cathartic) and crying into my pillow (not so cathartic).
What I do know is this: holding tight is all about the ego, and my ego is the ultimate harridan. She’s a beady-eyed, shriveled thing who points her finger at me, sneers, and says, Choke down that humble pie, oh unpublished novelist. You’re a failure at the one dream you’ve ever had and now what will everyone on Facebook think of you?
Hard to ignore the ego sometimes, but the truth is that I’ve got to deal with what I’ve got to deal with: family, finances, health care…All that boring, unspecial stuff. I’m just like everyone else, after all.
I may not know squat about the fine art of letting go, but I gotta hope that there’s a fine art of letting IN new possibilities. That’s what I’m working on now.