This afternoon, I took a five-mile walk to clear my head. I do this pretty often if the weather allows. I'm so grateful the sun has been shining this week. I can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel called winter.
I'm reading The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I've been writing down some of my favorite lines and phrases. One that I jotted down was this:
"All the evil hate in the mad heart of February was wrought into the forlorn and icy wind..."
Yes, February does have a mad heart! I'm totally feelin' you on this, F. Scott! A friend sent me a link to a job opening with Frontline in Boston, but I think I'd rather be a hotel housekeeper in Key West than a respected journalist in the cold-as-Voldemort's-nipples northeast.
Anyway, during my walk, I tried to talk myself out of giving up for Lent. That's right. Not giving up something silly (like "meaningless gestures" as my brilliant friend Christopher Davis does every year), but simply giving up. I'm sick of being rejected. I'm sick of being told by agents that they can't sell my book.
They don't tell me that the book is bad. No, I've been told that it's good and powerful and intense. No, what I have heard repeatedly is that they just can't sell it.
If only my book had a shirtless werewolf or a sparkly vampire or a story that is wrapped up with a pretty bow at the end. If only I'd once had sex with a president or some other famous adulterer.
So I've been thinking about giving up, sliding the book into a drawer and forgetting about trying to get an agent. I walked four miles and I did a really good job of cleaning out the crap in my head (at least for the moment) and then, boom, by the end of mile four, I was telling off God.
Excuse me, sir, but where are all the rewards I should be getting for putting up with all the crap that has been heaped upon me? When can I expect delivery of the order I have placed with the universe? Hello? Are you listening? What's the freaking deal here?
"It's always darkest before the dawn" is something some dumb ass once said and that people like to repeat. So then we, as human beings, are brainwashed into believing that the darkest moments are actually followed by a dawn. We expect it to be as splendid as a sunrise. Sometimes it's just a slightly less dark darkness, that's all.
But, at the end of mile five, I thought about how my mom is coming tomorrow. We've been talking about how much we want to spend some time together. Unfortunately, plane fares are too expensive right now and my mom doesn't like driving on the interstate. Not two weeks ago, we were trying to figure out how and when she could come see me and Kate and Jacob. Then, boom, my mom found out the track team from Northwestern, where she works for the football coach, is coming to Birmingham for a meet at UAB, and the coach invited my mom to ride the bus with them.
She'll be here around 5 pm tomorrow and I can't wait. My mom is my hero and my best friend. She believes in me and understands me. This weekend, when I will tell her that I want to give up, when I will tell her - not for the first time or even the fifteenth time - that I am afraid I made the wrong decision (that I've made a million wrong decisions), and when my eyes fill with tears as they do every time I admit this fear aloud, she will listen and then she'll reassure me.
When she hugs me, I'll feel better. I've noticed only recently that she feels like a grandmother when I hug her. She feels a bit smaller than she used to. "I'm getting shorter!" she has exclaimed. She feels warm and comforting. I hope she doesn't mind this, because it's pretty wonderful. It reminds me of how my grandma used to feel.
For a good long while after she hugs me and says uplifting things and makes me laugh and goes home again, I'll give up on the idea of giving up.
Sometimes when it's dark, what dawns on you is that you are looking in the wrong direction. You are looking at things you don't have instead of focusing on what you do.
Sometimes when it's dark, what dawns on you is that you are incredibly loved, that someone is looking out for you and believing that you can be all the things you want to be, believing that you already are someone amazing and worthy and living a life full of rewards.