As cute as it is to tell people that I wrote an entire book in my closet, I finally decided that it was time to rent an actual grown up office space. I wanted to be able to write and not being constantly interrupted by annoying things like laundry and my family asking for dinner. So now when people (and by people I mean my husband and children) ask where my office is, I simply tell them I found a quaint, reasonably priced, underground bunker…in the desolate Nevada desert.
Being the responsible renter that I am, I did my due diligence before I signed on the dotted line. I asked the property manager if anyone had died in my office or if they had to replace any carpet squares because of bloodstains. He just stared at me while I noted the visible shift in his demeanor as though he had never been asked this before. Whatever, play coy pal. I took a broomstick and hit the ceiling tiles to make sure no body parts fell out.
Fortunately, my good friend, Misti, informed me she had an eighteen minute window between clients to come over and sage my office that day to rid it of any negative energy. (This Sister is absolutely stunning, brilliant, and kind; I am just not entirely convinced that this chick isn’t a dude. Misti is proudly and always in direct violation of “woman code” by refusing to apologize for existing, not using emojis when we text, and actually saying “thank you” to compliments. It’s SO weird.) Anyhow, she strode in carrying a giant joint looking thing, lit it on fire, googled a prayer, and had me walk around the room clockwise three times to spread smoke. Then she promptly got up and left.
I shut the door, slunk down onto the floor of my 1000 sq. ft. freshly hot-boxed/ghost free room, and leaned my head back against the wall. I gently ran my hands over the tightly woven carpet. My heart swelled with delight as I basked in the newfound safety offered by MY cozy, little room.
My bubbling excitement and contentment were suddenly seized by a merciless and unexpected assault of shame and guilt. I swallowed hard as I realized I had delineated from the script of my life. I had taken space for myself. I had put my needs before my children and my husband. I did not ask for permission. I felt the lump forming in my chest and the tears welling. Please stop. No. Please. I didn’t want to feel what was inevitably coming. I felt my mind helplessly flailing. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I don’t want to hurt anyone.
The attack continued as I reminded myself that I am married to a gorgeous doctor. Someone tells me I am “lucky” to have him nearly everyday and they are not wrong. I have three beautiful children. I am a stay-at-at-home mom. I volunteer. I grocery shop and clean my house. I follow the good rules. I make people laugh. I look how the world says I am supposed to look. I apologize and smile. I dutifully take my anti-anxiety pills. I have a life that people dream about.
Writing a blog was one thing, but having a tax ID number and my own business? I just spent eight months writing a book, taking precious time away from my children. Why can’t I find complete fulfillment in just taking care of others? What the f is wrong with me? Do other women long for more? Am I even a “real” writer? What if I disappointed everyone? Or even worse, what if I failed? Mike told me he did not want to fund my “hobby.”
Selfish. I am so selfish.
Tears began to fall freely and unapologetically now. I watched them splatter across my legs and bounce off into oblivion. I sat perfectly still; paralyzed in my agony. Waves of pain relentlessly surged against me. Only this time, I didn’t ask pain to hurry up. I didn’t ask her to leave. I didn’t try to justify or rationalize or negotiate with her. I didn’t try to numb her with a pill. Instead, I sat with her and allowed her to stay as long as she needed to be with me.
Eventually, pain grew weary and the raging storm began to subside. I survived. I shakily pulled myself up and steadily braced myself against my desk. I glanced down at my mess of papers and saw a note from one of my daughters. She had written: “Courage is found in unlikely places. Be brave. We are proud of you. We can do hard things. (Btw-I totally googled this.)” I started laughing.
Okay Erin- Time to pull it together girl. You very well could be the “stupid whore” that man from Kentucky just graciously messaged you. But what if you are finally leaning into what your Spirit has been asking of you? What if you just boldly took advantage of a brilliant invitation that was waiting for you? What if you stare fear and shame and guilt straight in the eye, and forge ahead anyway? What if vulnerability, truth-telling, and laughing at being human is part of your earth work? What if Mike is lucky too? AND what if watching their Mama write and run a business is exactly what those three young women need from you?
Now wipe your tears and stand up straight. You have JUST as much of a right to take up space as everyone else. There are not any dead bodies in your office. It is simply time to write the next chapter. Caaaaalm down.