Hi, friends! Welcome to my website! What?! I actually cannot believe I am speaking those words. This is really happening. (deep breaths)
I have dreamed of being a writer since I was in second grade. I remember having the opportunity to “publish” books and thinking it was just the coolest, most fun thing ever. But it turns out that being a writer isn’t really a career that is highlighted or supported through childhood and early adulthood. Sure, I had teachers tell me I wrote well. They complimented my clear voice and articulate ideas. I often heard about how emotional my writing felt to them and how I was “beyond my years.” But that was the end of the conversation. In fact, outside of making up stories in my head, writing essays for school, and writing letters or notes to friends, I kind of gave up on writing. (Although I was almost always the weirdo who would choose an essay exam over multiple choice.)
That’s the funny thing about dreams though. The whisper and the nudge never goes away. In college I took a few writing courses that re-sparked my curiosity about writing. I would find myself writing stories for fun again, dreaming in narratives, and journaling about all the things. I remember sitting on the couch with one of my roommates one night talking and panicking about what our futures might be. We were both more than a little freaked that we couldn’t actually picture ourselves using our degrees longterm and yet neither of us had a better path at that moment. She asked me, “if you weren’t spending a gajillion dollars to get an english/education degree, what would you do?” I told her I would write for a living. But that was a pipe dream. I literally laughed as I said it out loud. I was convinced it wasn’t an option. Then I immediately jumped into student teaching and Lord knows I had zero extra minutes to think, let alone write. And life continued that way. Busy, busy, busy with no time for anything. Or so I was convinced. Student teaching to actually teaching to getting married to moving states to having babies…writing was one of the lowest ranking priorities and therefore not a priority.
Although, after my first was born I did start writing again. I had a freebie blog with no readership but I wrote and I posted and it was everything. I am convinced that stupid little hole in the internet that held my thoughts saved me postpartum. I recently read some of the things I wrote and it is obvious I was screaming into an abyss for some sanity. But writing gave that to me.
Eventually I got busy again (shocking) and writing slipped down the to do list until it fell off completely. Then my youngest was diagnosed with leukemia and my whole world came crashing down. And you know what caught me? Writing. Putting words on page after page. I was drowning. I was overwhelmed. I was scared. I had so much to process but I didn’t have the language to talk it through. So I turned to writing. I immediately remembered how grounded writing makes me feel. I remembered how much I love and need writing. I spent countless hours in the hospital room journaling thoughts and nonsense in notes on my phone and on a Caring Bridge page. Getting thoughts out of my head and onto paper was my therapy before I actually started therapy. And honestly since then I have fallen even more in love with writing and words and communicating my insides, no matter how messy and raw.
Writing and maintaining a blog requires a commitment and my relationship with writing has been on and off at best. Some days I’m still not convinced I have it in me. There’s a whole list of things that get in my way of writing: needless worry, writer’s block, social media, perfectionism, self doubt… Check, check, check, check, and check. And really these are the same things that have been getting in my way since I was 8 years old. Distraction, worry about what I’m writing and how it will be received, guilt about whether I’m being selfish by prioritizing writing over other tasks, not being able to find words or something that feels important to say, knowing its an off day and the words aren’t coming and the ideas are choppy, and feeling like who the hell cares what I have to say? I would rather not write than risk failure. Oof. But that’s what I believed most of my life.
Now, as a mom, and even more specifically as a mom whose entire life was shattered when her child was diagnosed with cancer, things have come into focus a bit clearer. I cannot continue to live my life being afraid to fail. I deserve more than that, for sure. But I also keep thinking, what does that teach my children? If I wouldn’t want it for them then why do I live there myself? Wouldn’t I rather them see me work hard and reach and push? Isn’t “failing” a word only we can define? So what if I do fail? Who is to say my dream won’t shift and change along the way? Isn’t there value in working through and coping with failure anyways?
There’s a delicate line between joy and fear when you decide to chase a dream. But I’ve committed to doing this.I’ve committed to possibly failing and I’m feeling good about that. I’m learning and shifting and prioritizing. I feel more excited than I have in a really long time. I feel a level of aliveness and fullness that I haven’t in a while. And yet the fear is so damn real. I recently heard someone say, “Everything has already been said. But it has not been said by you.” This is something I find myself repeating every time I sit down to write. So many lessons I’ve learned I have learned from authors I love. So many life experiences I’ve had have already been captured similarly by someone else. So why should I write my story? Why spend the time, energy, and effort to write when in the end it may not go anywhere? Because I want to. And I’ve wanted to since I was in Miss Rothove’s second grade class. And it is about damn time I learn that doing something because I want to is just as good a reason as any.
So here I am. Writing. For me. And a little bit for you too. I hope you stick around to read more. Thank you for supporting me as I find my voice and reclaim my space in the world again.
Be brave. Be you. Be human.
With so much love and gratitude,
I would genuinely love to hear from you. Comment below or come find me on Instagram (@abigbravelife)
*Originally published in Feb. 2022 and republished in July 2023