Dear Universe, Make me a writer

I was in fifth grade the first time I won a contest. None of my classmates knew about it. I did not even tell my parents. After an essay on the Civil War, my teacher, Mrs. Jones, quietly approached me and asked me to stay behind before lunch. She said she needed to speak with me about something. I was terrified, until she handed me my graded essay. I had passed with 110%. She then explained that there was a writing contest she wanted me the enter, as she felt I had the potential to do well. I entered and I won third place. She had been my editor. Until now, no one beyond that empty classroom, and the judges, knew about it.

I spent many teenage summers reading book after book. It helped me escape from a hormonal/ post mononucleosis depression I had encountered. I withdrew and found myself reading and writing for hours each day. Perhaps, for a hormonal and depressed teenager, Stephen King and Dean Koontz were not the best books to read, but they lined my bookshelves.

Short stories we wrote for school always landed me in the position of being forced to read them aloud to the class in a “final contest” of whose story was better. I usually came in second, but I spent more time writing about sadness then joy. I have since realized people enjoy happiness over a tear-jerker.

In college, I excelled at essays and research papers. In sociology, my professor asked me if I had ever considered creative writing courses. Assuming she meant I lacked critical skills necessary for college level writing, sociology papers specifically, I felt embarrassed. But she replied that she was highly impressed with an essay I wrote regarding society’s debilitating views on women and how it caused low self-esteem and lack of self-worth. She told me I would make an excellent magazine writer. Honestly, the idea of a magazine writer made me feel slighted. However, I was humbled that, once again, I was considered to be a good writer, at least in that context.

Two semester ago, I worked on a project with two other classmates. One of them contacted me to discuss our approach. She had mentioned that our professor had grouped us together, as we were “the two best writers in the class.” That had been a quote from our professor. A woman with a PhD had stated she felt I was one of the best writers in a class of about 30 people. Again, I felt that familiar blushing and humble satisfaction. Although, the part of me influenced by society’s rash views on women has left me wondering if my group member was merely fibbing to pump me up so we came out with a good grade. After all, people do perform better with positive reinforcement.

Within the last month, I wrote something, sent it to two dear friends, and they both told me it brought tears to their eyes. I cried myself, thinking maybe, just maybe, with a lot of editing, I could write the books I have randomly dart through my mind.

But I am afraid. I am afraid that there is no gift in me. I fear I will try and fail miserably. I fear that I am delusional and would have better chance at success in finding a cure to ADHD. Fear has held me back, as it holds far too many people back.

Dear Universe and God,

Please make me a writer. If I am a writer in hiding, help extinguish my deep fear of failure.

Many thanks,

Marsh

Fear of change is unescapable during sleep

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

It is early morning, probably four a.m. I am driving. I get the sense that I am headed north. I see nothing but freeway lanes in front of me. Bright city lights line the distance of my rearview, but I do not know which city I am driving away from. I keep thinking Atlanta, but there is nothing definitive to suggest that. I am alone on the road, in the car, and I feel alone. But I do not feel that loneliness at heart. My family is still in my heart and somewhere. Suddenly, I take an exit, the wrong exit. I start to feel a panic arise as I know I am headed in the wrong direction. I try to remember the way I am supposed to go, but I cannot remember where I am headed. The exit twists and turns around many other exits and freeways. I am left driving back and forth, almost in circles, lost and fearful. Then, as I feel the anxiety rise, I remember I really do not have anywhere to be or any definitive direction. Immediately, the road splits and I feel the urge to get in the other lane. The morning sun has emerged, and it is mid-morning. There are cars driving around me, passing me, swerving in and out of the lanes. I cannot merge into the other lane and I miss my exit. I panic again, as I know that once I miss that exit, I can never turn back. I will forever be lost. I want to slow down but fear getting into an accident. I keep trying to stay with the flow of traffic but try so hard to get into the other lane. I must get in that lane, or else I will never get where I am going, although I still do not know where that is.

Then I awake, feeling as if the breath had been yanked from my lungs. I jump up from the bed and have the urge to check on my children. More and more these dreams come. The finale is always unresolved, and I am left with an uneasy awakening and lack of air. I imagine that a bedside spirit has reached into my chest and stolen the air from my lungs.  Although these dreams have significant relevancy of current life decisions, I cannot shake the aching suspicion that I may be developing sleep apnea.

Now that I have cracked my daily joke, analyzation of the above dream is necessary. My family is undergoing some major changes, none of which are negative. I often find, right before major changes occur in my life, whether planned or not, I have lucid and predictive dreams. Many times, I have not understood them, as the change was unplanned.

In my twenties, I dreamt I was in a public restroom. Every stall was disgusting, all the toilets had backed up onto the seats and the floor. Toilet paper was covered in urine and stool. I could not walk or sit or use the toilets, as they were completely unsanitary.

At another time during my twenties, I dreamt that all of my teeth suddenly cracked and crumbled. Every single tooth slowly cracked and fell from my gums in pieces. There was no pain. There were no obvious medical reasons. I had simply opened my mouth to respond to a friend and my teeth crumbled away.

From reading, mostly personal blogs by so-called experts on dream interpretation, these dreams are very common. The Dirty Toilet and the Crumbling Teeth dreams both represent a strong dissatisfaction with one’s current life and/or situation. They represent a strong desire, sometimes subconscious, for change. Looking back, they represented my intuition telling me to sprint away from the possessive and abusive relationships I was in during that time.

The current dream is a representation of the changes my family is currently undergoing. We are considering a bigger house, my husband has been given new opportunities at his work which will alter our lives, and there are many other changes occurring.

Recently, I told a friend, I felt as if my family was on a speeding train that was headed straight for a cliff. I felt as if we would jump from the train right before it caught fire in an explosion, but we were still on that train and going to go over the cliff with it. But it was the train we were meant to be on as it still was where we were meant to go.

Anxiety and fear is not always a bad thing. Getting lost, lacking direction, dirty toilets, crumbling teeth, and exploding trains may not always be a bad omen. Change is scary. But more times than not, it is more than just fear. Fear pushes us beyond our comfort zone. It can cause us to shed our security blanket and move into a life, a better life, we were meant to live. Embrace fear and anxiety. Without, we would not seek change.

“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.”
― Søren Kierkegaard