I started writing a book when my youngest son was one year old. I wanted to share my experiences as a young mother, the difficulties I went through with my eldest son who was adversely affected by vaccines, and the challenges I faced dealing with inter-cultural marriage.
I got to about four chapters into my book when I stopped. I stopped because I thought, I don’t really have a proper ending for my book yet since my children are still young. Who knows how they are going to turn out? Who was I to talk about how I raised my children when I haven’t really “raised” them yet? I stopped because there was so much backlash about non-compliance to vaccination and I was intimidated, not wanting to get the spotlight on me. I let fear silence me. I stopped because my marriage was not perfect and I was too embarrassed to let anyone know. I had lots of excuses. And I used it shamelessly. I hid behind my excuses for a long time.
Over the years I read so many inspiring books of people overcoming what seemed to be insurmountable challenges, books such as Unstoppable by Cynthia Kersey, and more recently Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani. While I was inspired, I was also intimidated by the fact that I never faced challenges as big as theirs. I never survived cancer. I was never homeless. My life, though fraught with challenges, seemed pretty ordinary, and relatively good in comparison.
I thought, maybe I don’t really have anything to contribute that had not already been contributed by these amazing writers. Still the writer in me kept niggling at me, urging me to go back to my notebooks and start writing again, and finish my book.
When my sons got a bit older, I started writing again. I figured, now I really have something to write about. But once again, something stopped me.
You see, when my sons were little, and people met us, I was always told “Oh, you must be run off your feet with three boys so close in age.” And I would tell them, “No, they are really very low maintenance, they are good at picking up after themselves. I have no trouble with them and they don’t fight with each other.” They looked at me in disbelief and, I suspect, a bit of pity since, I must be in denial. They then proceeded to tell me, “Oh just wait until they are in their teens, then you’ll know what trouble is.” And I just smiled back at them then.
When my sons got to their teens, they continued to demonstrate exemplary behavior. The reviews from their teachers became almost predictable. They were model students. The only change that was noticeable, when each of them reached the age of 13 (and the same thing happened to each of them), was that they went quiet for almost that whole year. They spent more quiet time in their respective rooms, were not as chatty (as was usual) around family, and they had less patience. Once they reached 14 though, they each came back to being the sons we have always known! So, I felt I was never really challenged as a parent, how can I write about parenting?
I let my doubt get the better of me. I let this one thought stop me each time: “WHAT IF… ?”
“What if nobody likes my writing?”
“What if my story was not inspiring enough?”
“What if nobody reads my book?”
The big WHAT IF punched my dreams back into the cupboard.
Over time, I wrote a few things, all of them just beginnings of a book. Never finished, and therefore never published. I sent a few selected ones to my friends and family who I thought might be kind and loving enough to give me good feedback and provide me with a bit of encouragement. I thought that’s what I needed.
And you know what? I always got positive feedback from the friends and family that I sent my writing to. But even that didn’t seem enough to get me back to writing. I suspected they were just being polite.
My younger brother who lives far away from me is my biggest encourager. Every time we talked on the phone (which has become a rare occurrence now) he would ask me if I finished writing the book. And always, my answer was no, and would give him my latest excuse. It got to a point where he said he won’t talk to me until I can tell him I finished the book.
Well, I haven’t finished the book, but I am writing. I write about my thoughts. Current events. Life-changing events. Things that touch my heart. Events that brought tears to my eyes. Anything that I think is worth sharing. Usually about my children. Because my heart needs to express itself. And maybe someone somewhere might relate to it. But even if no one did, I write because my heart tells me to write. And I’m happier when I listen to my heart. I feel a sense of fulfillment in the knowing that I get to do what I love.
None of us will come out of this life alive. Sooner or later, we will each leave this world. But remember, we came here to this physical time-space reality to experience life. To play. To have fun. To satisfy our heart’s desires. In other words, to live. And so, live is what we must do. To live our life as if we are alive. Instead of living as if we’re about to die, or worse, already dead. There’s time enough for death. For now, this moment, it’s time to live.
What makes your heart sing?
What is it that your heart wants to do?
What do you want to be?
Where does your heart want to go?
Let your heart speak. Live the life you love. Express yourself.