It's been a while since I've been here. Where I want to write about anything or am willing to. It's been a long, long time.
That's because 2017 has truly been a year of struggle, heartbreak, and disappointments.
My father died on July 9, 2017. The worst day of my life.
Anything else that has happened is so small or almost as important, but not quite like having a parent die.
This is something that changes you forever, depending on your relationship. Our relationship was shaky at times, but for the most part, it was an okay relationship that was cut short because of cancer. And I wasn't around for much of the cancer because I had school and then struggled through life to find full-time work when the opportunity wasn't there at my current job (or used to be current job where I eventually became full-time because I lost that too, due to the company shutting down at the end of November - surprise! almost as important, but still not the worst thing).
I lost time with my father because I had to keep a roof over my head and didn't have enough money to move there or to fly out to see him all the time. I was going through so much to keep afloat that I lost time. Now I am haunted by the urge to pick up the phone and call him, then remembering I can't. I am haunted by a lot of things, including his last days, But let's not get into that.
I will have time to write about all the things I am feeling.
Because other than searching for a new job, I need to do something that is right for me.
I need to write.
I woke up on the last day of the year, skimming through social media quietly as I've done for the past year or so (yes friends, I see you online though I don't do much online for myself anymore. I see you.), and something in me broke.
I am extremely tired of the rules of a writer, playing the game to get recognition. A game I haven't participated in for a year because I just got tired, so tired that I couldn't say I am tired.
I am tired! I used to have a hunger in me. An abandon where I shared my writing and nothing else mattered. The literary magazines, the fellowships, the workshops. None of that mattered to me at all.
I wrote and I shared.
That's how this blog came to life. It was many things before it was The Write Queen. It's even broke off into different parts. But it started with a hunger to share without boundaries.
I need that back. I need to take myself back.
I want the things that other writers want. I want to write for a publication. I want to be published in literary magazines. I want to be published by a press. I want validation. Who doesn't want that?
But sometimes, validation isn't worth the decline of yourself.
Validation isn't worth the decline of yourself. Validation isn't worth the decline of your art. Validation isn't worth the decline of your life.
YET part of my education and slowly building career involves giving other people validation. Because I love the arts. I love writing. I love being a part of the foundation. I want people to have the tools they need to be seen as a valid piece in the arts world. I believe that if you want yourself out there in the world, you have to have a place to do it. You need to have the tools.
It has to be for the right reasons. Not because this is the way things are. Not because the arts can also be a business so you must treat it as such. The only thing that matters is that you put yourself out there in the world because you love what you do. Yeah, we want quality. We want craft and talent. But are those the only valid traits for art?
No. I've seen art in all forms whether it's good or not. But it's out there because people believe it should be. The artist believed it should be. It's the hunger of wanting your art in the world. Not caring about the rules or the traditional route.
I've drowned myself in trying to get in traditionally. I've learned that I am nothing special, that my work isn't the best. I am not the best writer. Not the best poet. Hell, I am terrified to perform on a stage and because I sound terrified and I stutter, my work isn't seen for what it is. I am not good enough for some workshops. I am good enough for other workshops, but still won't get in. My writing is too similar to someone who got published the issue before so they won't publish me. I know editors and that still doesn't get me published. I am not as good as some of my friends and people in the writing community treat me as such. I am a tag-a-long. Not the strongest member of a group. Doesn't matter if I came up with the ideas that set the foundation. I am not the superstar, so anything I do is invalid. I think too big, too abstract, too much and people don't get me.
I am sometimes the weakest link. Sometimes I am no one and everyone passes me by. Sometimes I am abandoned despite being the best friend to someone. Sometimes I have an opinion and because I put up with a lot of crap that I don't speak up for, I am seen as someone who has an attitude. I yes people to death. I hold a lot of hands and soothe a lot of tears. I have been treated badly and don't tell that person that they have done something to hurt me, but the minute I disagree with them or tell them that they have treated me badly, I get shitted on like I am the worst person. Sometimes I am accountable and sometimes I can't be because people are being petty for no reason before I can process. I have to be a friend based on that friend's emotional landscape and nothing more because apparently I don't count unless I am someone's friend their way. Same thing with family. This happens because I am a quiet person who is too good to people and not good enough to herself. Who has become fed up along the way and admittedly can be stubborn when she finally shows she is fed up. But that doesn't mean I am wrong.
But none of this matters to me anymore. My dad died this year and none of this matters. I want my writing to matter. I want my life to matter, but I can't do it this way anymore because none of this is the most important part.
I never thought that my dad could live forever. No one does. And that is scary. But when someone that close dies. you realize that all the stuff you hold on to doesn't matter.
If I want to write, I will write. If I want to to submit it, I will submit it. If I have support, I have support. If I don't, it's okay because no matter how woke you are or say certain things, communities still act like it's a popularity contest. I no longer wish to be popular. I no longer wish for validation. I haven't made the moves to self-publish because I still want a press to validate me. Well, if a press sees my work, if an editor sees my work out there in the world and likes it, contact me because unless I choose to put myself through the traditional process, this is the only way I want it. Reach out to me. My time is valuable and I am making it MY time. As the great Maxine Waters says, RECLAIMING MY TIME!
I am a good person, a good friend. I will do anything for you, but only if you know how to be a friend. I will no longer chase certain friendships or validate bad behavior. I will no longer let that interfere with my creative life. I know who my true friends are and I accept that we will both make mistakes. But if you can't talk it out and listen to me when I say you are hurting me and then turn it around on me like I am doing all the things I am saying you are doing to me when I haven't or I have and rectified a situation that you can't let go or admit your part in, then we no longer have a friendship. If you don't take the time to reach out or only reach out to me when things are good in my life, then bye, I don't need you in my life. If your ego is worth more than my feelings, then I hope your ego is a better friend. I will no longer be crapped on. I apologize when I do something wrong, not because you can't admit you are wrong or have blown something out of portion and the only way for things to calm down is for me to apologize for something I don't have to apologize for or that my feelings don't count. If you can't talk it out, get out. If we can't respect each other's time for talking things out, then go on with your timetable because FRIENDSHIP IS A TWO WAY STREET WHERE WE HAVE TO RESPECT EACH OTHER. If I didn't talk it out fast enough for you because only your feelings count, then I guess that's what it is. You don't get to decide when it's on or off because you can't handle your feelings. If you can't be on a two way street with me, then you can go on your one way and hope you don't meet a dead end.
If you don't see me as a flawed person, as a good person, as a person who has given you so much in a friendship, maybe too much where she should value herself more, if you can only see bad because your ego is more important than seeing that people make mistakes or that misunderstandings happen on both sides, then it's not a true friendship. Friendship is not only your way.
If I am seen a certain way for saying this, then so be it. My tribe knows who I am so they don't see this as a certain way. If anything, they are hoping that I keep this up because I am a lot of good things in this world and I let so much get me down.
It's a waste. We could die tomorrow and all of this is a waste of valuable time.
Standing up for myself in whatever way I choose doesn't mean that I don't see the issues I do have or that I don't apologize for wrongdoings. If I am wrong, I am wrong and I am sorry. If we have differing opinions, let's get to a compromise or agree to disagree. But that doesn't mean that I have to put up with certain treatment. Not anymore. I wish no ill will towards anyone. I wish you all the success in the world. I still love you and for some, still want you in my life. But that doesn't mean that I have to support toxic friendships, uneven friendships. I am tired of the physical ill this causes in my life. I am tired of losing my hair. I am tired of sitting alone because people decided their egos are worth more than true friendship and they make decisions before looking at the whole picture. I know what true friendship is and it isn't all of this. I've talked it out many times with people and other people let me know that it isn't all on me. So this isn't me crying a woe is me tune and I am really an evil bitch. I've been told that other people are being unreasonable. Sometimes I choose shitty friends. Or I choose emotionally stunted friends. Or I choose people who see that I will be their cheerleader and their ego wants a yes friend, not a real friend.
These are the things that have be plaguing me for over a year. This is why I've been quiet. This is why I've been killing myself slowly. I don't talk about it and this is dangerous. There's so much I have to work out and I have to start telling people that they haven't held up their end of the bargain. That they hurt me so I grew so quiet to avoid more conflict. This isn't healthy. I have to value myself more. I have to stand up for myself. Sometimes I even need to yell.
I need to write. I need to achieve some goals. I have to fulfill my ideas. I have to fail and be messy. I have to feel these things. I have to continue speaking even when the world feels like its collapsing. I need to be cliche and original. I need to live.
My dad would want me to push through. Even when we didn't see eye-to-eye, even when we fought about the way I did things because he had a certain view, he let me do it anyway. He would want me to stand up for myself, even if it burned down my life.
So this is the start, this messy blog post that I have been writing for over an hour. I am writing and it feels good, even if it isn't good, even if it causes problems. This feels good. This is where healing starts. This is where more trouble starts.
I no longer seek validation from the outside. I am starting from inside and if it validates me, then I have overcome half the battle.
I am writing and I am writing for me. I am becoming my own best friend, not out of poor friendships, but because this is where it starts anyway. It all starts within.
Till next time,