I’m a part of this brilliant writing collective. We’re a group of loosely-bound women that are friends of friends via personal connections between us. So, I know two, and one of them knows a few, and we decided to band together to write. We each have a personal blog, and the deal is that we each write for ten minutes per day and then post whatever we’ve written.
It can be random tidbits strung together or focus on one moment in particular. Doesn’t matter. The point is to write. And the other piece of that point is that you have someone encouraging you to write no matter what.
Why is that so hard to do? I know it varies for different people. For me, it’s the day-to-day life of being a working woman (bringing home that bacon, bitch) [I feel like I’m saying bitch too much lately], of raising a toddler, and loving my husband, not to mention all the other little and big things thrown in to boot. All that going on sometimes drains, sometimes steals my focus, sometimes gets in the way.
Just now, The Hubs walked in the room.
Him: Still working?
Me: I’m writing now. [expecting silence to follow my statement]
Him: [picking up his shoes in the middle of the bedroom floor] The Kidlet must have been playing with my shoes. I’m pretty sure I didn’t leave them here. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH QUESTION COMMENT QUESTION QUESTION
Him: Oh, do I need to leave the room?
Me: No, just stop talking to me!
Him: [injured feelings] I’ll just leave.
Me: [now cloaked in guilt, muttering in my head] Virginia Woolf really did have it right when she said a woman needs a room of her own in order to write. Sigh…
That wasn’t supposed to be the point of this post. Here’s the point I really want to think through: in my group, we agreed that the comments section would be off. I don’t know if that means we were supposed to disable the comments on our individual blogs or just agree not to comment on each other’s, but so far that’s what we’ve done.
Until I requested them from one of my friends, Mia. I had written this long, ranty post about my friend who’s been our roommate for a whopping six months now. My roommate in the house where my family (The Hubs and Kidlet) also live. It’s not a matter of being crowded; it’s just I want my office back (a room of my own), I want to walk around in my draws, I want to sex up my husband without wondering if she can hear us, I don’t want to look at her stuff all over the living room, BLAH BLAH BLAH. Anyway, after writing it, I realized I felt like an awful person. It helped that those feeling awful inducing thoughts weren’t just banging around my head, but I needed to know, from someone else, that I wasn’t awful. I texted M, who is my friend for so many reasons, one being she will give me the truth. Even if it’s not pretty, she’ll be honest with me.
We chatted through it, and one of the things I mentioned is my personal need for commentary on my life. Not from random folks, not from my mother who I love but who wins the merit badge in unintentionally hurting her daughter’s feelings, and not from my husband, but from women I trust, love, and feel safe with.
Adrienne Rich wrote this beautiful poem, and one of the lines is “There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.”
There is validation in someone telling you that she hears you, and cares what you have to say, and this is what she thinks about what you have to say.
Which leads me to the purpose of this blog. Is it just a space for me to air out my head and my heart, my feelings, my anguish, my joy and be lightened from those sometimes burdensome emotions? Or do I need to write for an audience? Why is it that I need those comments? Is it because sometimes I feel like such an horrible human being, I need someone to remind me of the importance of being gracious to yourself? Is it validation that I seek? And is it okay that I need to be validated? Does that suggest an insecurity I’d rather ignore or one I should shore up? Or is it perfectly normal? Do I need to be normal?
I don’t need to conform. I learn, every day, how to be more comfortable in the fit of my skin. But oh, how lovely, for a fellow woman warrior to take my hand and say, “I hear you. Your words, your feelings, your fears? That’s okay. Give me your bitchy, your disconsolate, your sparkly, your fearful, your fearless, and I’ll hand you back mine. And together we’ll keep each other through this storm in the way only women know how to do.”