Today was a little bit surreal. I was wandering around work, hefting giant trays and handing out platters of food, all the while thinking about the book in the back kitchen. The hardback copy of my memoir Freak had come in the mail the day before, and in my excitement I dragged it in to show all my pals at the restaurant. I'd re-read it that night, but this time it was different. It wasn't a manuscript, it was a bound book. I was surprised at what a difference that made. I knew most of the words by heart but still...it was different. There was something thrilling about it, holding my own book in my own hands and reading about some ghastly thing from the past. It was as if the words weren't about me anymore; they were about someone I'd never met, but heard about.
Walked into work layered against the biting cold, thinking about the book. What to do with it. Would it do what I wanted and help people? How to get it seen, how to get it into the hands of the world. So many screwed up and broken brothers and sisters out there, so many that might be touched, might think a little higher of themselves if they read about my dumb ass mistakes. If they nodded and thought, "Yeah, I remember that feeling. I know just what she's talking about." I want them to take comfort from this strange little memoir. I want them to know they're not alone, that I'm not one of those spunky survivors, that I'm a survivor who was stupid, stupid, stupid and absolutely fucked up for decades and I STILL found a way out of the pit. You don't have to be super human or larger than life or tough as nails to escape yourself, the self that's so hated. You can do it quietly. Slowly. If you just keep at it, self-love will sneak up on you like springtime after an ice storm winter. First you'll only see a few dips in the snow. Then crocuses will peek out of the frozen ground, and tiny snowdrops. Next thing you know, you're in a garden you didn't even realize you were planting. A secret garden all your own, that YOU made, that you cultivated and grew. Hard work, digging through the shit of the past and tilling it into fertile soil for new growth. But, oh, so worth it. I was sweating bullets today, hoping so much to do some good with my story, to let a bit of gruesome reminisce shine some light on fellow dumb asses. Because it's okay to be a dumb ass, or a victim, or an addict who's crawling across jagged glass every day to try and change. Trying is everything as long as you keep at it. There's something cleansing about finally letting go of all those years of self hatred and bitter regret. It literally feels like stepping under the shower and letting the clean water wash away greasy, clinging shit that's been coating every inch of you forever. I had no idea of the amount of filth I'd been slorped up with for pretty much my entire life. Looking back, I can understand why I made the very bad choices I did, why I repeated the pattern of self-abusive relationships and self-destructive decisions. When you look like shit, feel like shit and smell like shit, you begin to think that's all you are. But we're people under all the sewage. We're beautiful children and gracious adults. One just has to scrape it all off to see that. So keep digging, my brothers and sisters of circumstance. Believe that you're in there under all the mess. Because you are, and you're worth all the effort in the world to rescue.
That's what I want my book to show. I hope it does, just a little bit. I'd be more than happy with that.