Release: Word of the year

For 2018 I decided to write a bullet journal, which obviously didn’t last long. However, I liked looking back on the 10 or so pages I did do. They were all goals. Books I should read, movies I should see, things I should do. A list of friends I had already, as well as space to write in new friends I make along the way. I liked crossing out the boxes I drew about a year ago. I didn’t get to them all, but I got to quite a few.

On one of the pages, I wrote: Word of the Year: Renaissance.

I think I did quite a bit of that. Renaissance means “rebirth,” as I learned in 7th grade history, and I did try to be “reborn” as well as I could. Things truly have changed, and I do have a totally new life.

For 2019, I think my word of the year will be “Release.” I have changed my life for the better. Now, it is time to let go of all the pain of the past.

It is going to be a challenge, but a worthy one. I want to be able to forgive and forget, to move on, to let it go.

Hm. Let it go. I teared up the first time I saw that scene from Frozen. I watched it over and over until I knew all the words–and I was about 17. I was so inspired that this person could, well, let it go. Move on past her pain and her depression and her awful parents. Maybe she’s a good role model. A little “basic bitch” to look up to a Disney princess, but whatever. I’m done adjusting my personality to fit the molds of others.

I need to stop indulging in escapism and bottling up. I need to learn how to feel my feelings, acknowledge them, and let them go. I need to learn how to let go, how to move on, how to accept that people don’t change and things don’t change and all I can change is myself. I want to be able to let it all go. I want to be able to have my mind free of worry, both about the past and about the future.

My worrying is the biggest threat to my life. It threatens to ruin job and relationships all the time. I need to get a hold on it, and the best way to do that is to learn how to release.

Release. 2019. Release.

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So fast

I always roll my eyes when people talk about “how fast this year went by.”

Because it didn’t.

January was so long ago. I went to Ireland in June and that was ages ago. I taught ski lessons last year and that was so. long. ago.

But also, it did, at the same time, go by fast.

I don’t know. I think I mainly hate it because it’s so obvious. You know? It’s a cliche. Everyone says it every year. Maybe, turns out, a year just isn’t very long. Maybe that’s why it never feels very long.

I have a week and a half left of a job I love. Then it’s the holidays, then gig work until possibly September, possibly forever. That’s life, now. That’s how years go by, now. In a single breath.

I’ve inspired a kid so much he bought me an ornament and a package of cherry turnovers (for some reason). I really like teaching. I’m glad I’m pursuing it.

I’m glad I’m pursuing a lot of things.

My book is almost ready, and that fact makes me want to throw up. I can’t write a query. It’s the hardest page to write out of this whole process.

I wonder if my anxiety is actually under control? I just assume it is. I should check in with myself more, but I’m too busy worrying to do that.

I’m too busy. And yet not busy at all. Just like how this year was fast, and slow.

When I leave stressful days behind, I mutter to myself, “kill me.” As if the stress isn’t already doing that. I leave a bad class, then mouth “kill me” to the bathroom mirror. I get in my car, I sing “murder me now” to the tune of the radio. It’s not that I want to die. I don’t want to die, I’ve never wanted, actually, to die. It’s like my anxiety is speaking to me with my own lips. Kill me, it says. Kill me, I say.

They never tell you how much of a teacher’s day is spent pretending to ignore the fact that all the kids would rather be elsewhere. Then again, so would I. So maybe that’s not so bad.

No one cares

The hardest thing about life after school is that no one cares about what you do, anymore.

I don’t even have a permanent job yet and I already see how little people care.

Oh, she’s making money biweekly? She’s good.

 

A lack of tests and papers and structure has made working on my own projects all the harder. I feel less obligated to care about myself when no one else seems to.

 

Of course, this is what I’ve always wanted.

 

And it’s the challenge, too. It’s why so many people have rooms crafted of half-finished projects and half-eaten meals. Tomorrow is always there, and no one cares more about you than yourself.

No one cares more about my novel than me, and if I feel okay putting it on the back burner then the rest of the world is definitely okay with it.

Gah. I’m just having a bad mental day. You know I am, because I only ever write on this blog anymore when I need a diary. Maybe that’s always what it was. It started out when I was starting therapy again, after all.

It’s not a bad thing, needing a diary.

architect

I want to write.

I’m terrified.

Even my sister, who’s never read a word, told me that I need to get over my fears and do it, edit, send it off to people.

I’ve sent it off to people.

Every time I look at my novel I feel both better and worse. I touch up a few things, take out a word here, add a word there, make a few more connections from here to there. It’s like weaving a hammock, and every little knot makes it more structurally sound.

And now that I can lay in it, I’ve taken to weaving in flowers. Dying the rope. Making it pretty, not just serviceable. And I’m happy.

And I’m locked.

My stomach has been churning at top speed. My fingernails have been bitten away to shards. I’m breaking out in welts.

I need to get this book out.

It’s not ready.

That’s the thing, it’s not ready. It’s not good enough. I’ve been writing since I was in second grade and I’ve been writing books since I was twelve and this is my tenth year writing novels, my eighth novel, and it’s not good enough, not yet. But what can I do to improve?

I know it’s good. But it’s not great. It’s ignorable, and I don’t want that. This is something I have been putting every ounce of my being into, every drop of my soul.

I have agonized over every paragraph, and yet it’s not good enough.

I know it will never be perfect in my mind, but my heart won’t agree.

I must be a designer, not just an architect.

Pseudonym

Ginny Brattle isn’t my real name, and I don’t even like it.

How am I supposed to pick a pen name?

Why is this even on the top of my mind?

I hate my real name, too, to be fair.

Ingrid, Ingrid Peterson? I.P. Introvert Playground. Intellectual Property.

I.P. I pee. Nope. Or yep.  Whatever.

Ginny Brattle, bah. Reeks of youth.

I want my author persona to be one of mystery and age, like red wine and balconies, not one of a whining teenaged poet.

Brattle. After the Brattle Book Store, which I’ve gone to a handful of times.

Creating a Persona. A Star is Born. If everyone knows I’m fabricated, does it mean I’m even fabricated? Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm). Ginny Brattle (born Ingrid Peterson).

What is your mother’s maiden name?

Answer: I don’t know.

And why a pen name, you ask? Because my book is bathed in controversy before it even hits paper. It’ll be judged and hanged before it’s even read. Mothers and teachers and “the man” will condemn it.

That is, if anyone even hears of it.

Am I damned to be a nobody? Will no one even know my pen name, never mind my “maiden name?”

My worst fear is not never being published, it is being published and selling 43 copies, mainly to family and friends.

Eulogy

How can I write you goodbye

While feeling fingers on my wrist?

How can I write that I miss you

When you don’t feel missed?

 

How can I explain the loss

The fever and the pain that you’ve brought me?

Your family has fought me.

 

They thirst for my words, for my soliloquy.

They thirst to hear of everything you’ve meant to me.

I thirst for your kiss and your breath and your love—

I miss you—but that isn’t enough.

 

They want my tears,

my choking,

my grieving of the things that we’re missing

My kissing

of the ring that I’m still wearing

They’re not caring ‘bout me

They care not about you.

They care only ‘bout the sadness brought on by our youth.

 

A funeral is a practice of saccharine drowning.

Of comparing your frowning.

Of parading ‘cross the town

In lines

and lines

and lines of black

Would any of you visit if he were to come back?

 

What right do you have to mourn my Clay?

Who among you would have come to our wedding day?

How many of his precious words have any of you read?

An artist’s only worth a damn the second they fall dead.

Absolutely Remarkable Things

This isn’t a book review, by the way. It’s more of a life review?

Anyway. A million years ago (…10, I guess, in retrospect) my friend introduced me to the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, starring Hank and John Green. I got super into them, watched every video, and John’s book Looking For Alaska quickly became my favorite.

Then The Fault in Our Stars came out, etc.

Anyway, the other brother, Hank, just came out with HIS first book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. To be honest, I wasn’t going to read it. I’m kind of over watching their videos–they’re aimed at a younger audience, which is fine, but it’s just not my thing anymore.

However, that friend (who introduced me to them 9 years ago) and I recently reconnected after like, a five year separation (I started dating her ex, we went to different colleges, then ended up back in our old home town). And she had an extra ticket to An Absolutely Remarkable Tour, the book tour starring the Green brothers. So I went.

And it was great, and weird, and everything I knew it would be, being a stage show put on by two incredibly famous middle-aged YouTubers. And the book (so far) is pretty good, too, but that’s not my point.

As the Greens were talking about how strange and complex and wonderful the world is, and the internet and books are, I began thinking about how strange and complex and wonderful it was that I was in that theatre at that moment. All the things that had to happen to bring me there…I had to pick the cello as an instrument in third grade, I had to stick with it and be just good enough to be my friend’s stand partner in middle school, I had to like Vlogbrothers and fall in love with John Green’s books and let them influence my own budding writing, I had to go to the same high school as her, and watch her break up with her boyfriend and consequently (a year or so later) start dating him myself, then go to a different college and then reconnect and then have her current boyfriend-fiance bail on her extra ticket, then be free on that day and then bam, there I was. In a theatre with this friend and these YouTubers I’ve known for a decade.

That friendship had become inextricably intertwined with the Vlogbrothers, and my loss and reconnection with both my friend and Nerdfighteria mirrored each other in an absolutely remarkable way.

It just goes to show the crazy weird coincidences that happen every day.