Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Life in the Between

First a quick recap of the stitching accomplished in 2008:

I completed Plumstreet Samplers complimentary design, Coffin Buzz. I dyed my own fabric after I stitched the piece and also framed it myself in a frame from the "Store Who Shall Not Be Named" oh we all know it's Walmart, I shop there. Ok, I shop at WALMART.

I finished Blackbird Designs Beneath the Sunlit Sky. It is still unframed and folded up in a ziploc baggie, shoved in a drawer until I can get it framed. I have one complaint about this design and it's that the designers didn't include a stitch diagram. It bugs me. I love BBD, I have quite a few of their charts, but I think that leaving out a stitch diagram for whatever reason is like watching a movie where somewhere out of the blue someone speaks a foreign language and the director decides not to subtitle it. If the lines were important enough to leave in the movie, then they should be important enough to subtitle. If this speciality stitch is so important then a stitch diagram should have been included. I was fortunate to have some embroidery books around the house and access to Google to look up the stitch but not everyone is so fortunate. So please in the future if you want to include a speciality stitch please include a diagram.
This post is titled Life in the Between, because this year was the year that opened my eyes to my life and how much of it has been spent "in the between". What does "in the between" mean?
It means that I have spent a life divided between the me I want to be, wish I was, and the me the world sees.
For years, like 40, my deep dark secret was that I wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid and mentioned that dream to people, I was laughed at so writing became my secret garden. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, journal entries, random thoughts and the me that everyone else saw was a wife, a mom, a phlebotomist, a dental assistant, a data entry operator, a waitress at a BBQ pit on the side of the road, they were my cover, my attempt to be just like everyone else. Getting through life, being normal, accepting life as it is, living in the real world, just getting through it.
I created this blog as an excuse to write every day. The earlier entries are journal posts. Just a day in the life. A couple of years ago, I was approached to write a book of essays about cross stitch. I have an agent who worked so hard to sell the book and she did. I got paid. Paid to write. Paid to write about something I love almost as much as my husband and kids. I had an editor who loved the finished book, it was on it's way to a proofreader(copy editor?) and the call was made to pull the book from the November publication list. I spent most of the summer back "in the between". No longer Missy the writer, just Missy the mom, the wife, the friend. Missy the horrible housekeeper. I tried to get over myself. I tried to work on essays and a proposal for a second book but my heart wasn't in it at the time. I spent a good bit of Autumn crying for no reason, well there was a reason for my sadness but I wrote it off to friends as PMS, being Peri-menopausal, whatever sounded good at the time, but the truth is I was crying for my book that was to never be. I was crying because I was so flippin' close to that dream, my deep dark secret dream, and all of a sudden it was like it never happened, just some bizarre alternative reality. As November flowed into December I found myself coming out of the "between". I was tired of being normal. I wanted the writer me to float back up to the top. I got ideas for book two, I still wasn't ready to sit and write, but the thoughts were there and I wrote them down. I had participated in NaNoWriMo. Didn't come anywhere close to winning but it got me back in the groove. I truly believe if I wasn't having to share a computer, fighting for every minute of computer time, I could have done better.
So as of now I am no longer living "in the between". I'm sucking it up, I'm writing again. I'm going to face rejection and you know what? I'm going to face it over and over again because DAMN I want to write, I need to write. When I don't write, whether the writing be good or bad, there's this part of me that dies, that part of me has been on life support since late September. NaNoWriMo was a good kickstart and I'm crossing the line from "the between" to who I am and who I want the world to see. Why do I care if anyone thinks I'm insane because I say, "I'm a writer". All that matters is that I know that I'm a writer, because a few hours spent writing something bad is at least a few hours spent being true to who I am.
2008 was a year full of sadness. My dad died. I didn't go home before he died and I regret that but we talked almost every day sometimes several times a day. I miss him. I reach for the phone often to call and ask him about this or that and then I realize that he's not going to answer.
When I went back home, I slept in my old bedroom, now my niece's room. I saw people I have known most of my life. Looking around me I wondered why I spent so much of my childhood plotting my escape from Bartlett, TN. It's not a bad place, but I also learned that you really can't go home. You can return to a place but just like you, that place is living, it changes, it adapts to the times. You remember the things that made it home way back when, but you also remember that that place never quite fit who you are or those deep dark secret dreams. You go back to that place at 44 and you are just as awkward as you were at 14. For a nano-second you fantasize about buying the house up the road from the house you grew up in, spending mornings having coffee and eating cookies for breakfast with your aunt and uncle, spending afternoons after school with your niece and nephew, drinking wine at sunset with your brother, sitting around your bestfriend's kitchen and picking up the conversation where we left it the last time we said goodbye be it five minutes ago or two years ago. But nothing is ever exactly how we think it's going to be. The reality is, we ran away for a reason. We built a new life, a new home, 600 miles away and there's a lot of happiness in that place that we created for ourselves. It might not be perfect, it might fit with the memories because aren't memories always happier than the reality of that time? Aren't memories warm and fuzzy even though we know there was a reason we wanted to get the hell out of there when we younger?
2008- I will bid you farewell with a glass of champagne at midnight. You were a year that sucked balls, I'm sorry to be so crude, but that's the truth. But you deserve a nice send off because through all the suckiness I learned a little more about me and who I want to be when I grow up. I do believe that the lessons learned will help me be a better me and a better human being in 2009 and hopefully many more years to come.
I want to thank each and everyone of you that take the time to read this blog and comment on it.
My wish is that 2009 is a year where your cup is overflowing with joy and happiness. May all your deep dark secret dreams come true and may your quiet moments be filled with little Xs.


Nic said...

Hey, you are a writer, you just haven't got a book published yet :o) It will come...

Happy New Year!

Heather said...

What a great post you wrote here, you got my mind spinning and twirling with thoughts. Thank you for that. I am hoping for you, that you will get a book published someday! You will do it :) I hope your year is filled with tiny X’s as well :)

Siobhan said...

Okay, hello, I am crying. That was a great post, Melissa!! You ARE a writer, no matter if you get paid for it or not. I truly hope that comes for you, but I also hope that you find satisfaction in writing for yourself, w/o the need for somebody else's approval. Writing is so subjective, people approving of that writing is up to the whims of the person reading it. Be yourself and be proud because gf, you rock.

Nancy said...

Am a definitely NOT a writer, but that was a great post and I believe one day you will get published. Wishing you a better 2009! Keep stitching!

Jacque said...

Melissa, like everyone before me said....paid or not, you're a writer! I read this and cried....for you and for me. I know how hard it is to lose a parent and to have shattered dreams. Make some lemonade, gf..2009 is your year!!

Big hugs to you!

P.S. Email me your address!! : )

Michelle said...

Melissa, I love this post. It echoed so much of what I felt in 2008 - for different reasons, but ultimately feeling in the between. I think you've discovered that you are a writer regardless of who sees write because you have breathing. It is who you are. Thank you for sharing this, my friend!