Christmas has come and gone, and so have both my decorations and my health. Now before you all start attacking me for my un-Christmassy spirit, let me lay it all out for you: new baby, new house after 10 months of bumming off family, hard-core Holiday season. (We were “smart” and moved the WEEK of Thanksgiving. Brilliance, I know.) Add on to all of that a cleanliness complex and the intense desire to see my living room without looking through a billion nutcrackers I had no other place for, and you might begin to get an understanding of why everything came down FAST. I mean, I literally finished college, came home, became a stay-at-home mom because that sounded fun, and spent the next week trying to cook a myriad of cookies with the four-year old for Christmas presents, because “that’s cheaper.” Lies. Alllll lies. Next year, people will get a craft from the boys and be happy with it. So there!
All that said, the stress and insanity have led to that age-old bane of winter: the Drippy Nose Cold. I’m not quite sure how to survive. My bathroom trash cans are over-flowing with wadded up tissues, my nose runs like Niagara Falls every time I slightly test gravity, and I think I pulled a muscle in my neck from sniffing. How’s that for a trip to the doctor’s? “Doc, I need some of the good stuff. I’ve pull a muscle in my neck and can’t see straight.” “Alright, how’d you do it? Car accident? Slept wrong? Wrestled polar bears?” “Ah…no… I sniffed too much.” I can just hear my mother telling me to go blow my nose. Doesn’t she understand, though, that you can only blow your nose so many times before a.) you are living in the bathroom blowing your nose every 5 seconds or b.) your nose turns into a massive bloody appendage worthy of a Kleenex commercial.
Alas, life must go on. My head may feel like a gigantic melon, my cheeks might feel full of rocks. My nose may be an endlessly dripping facet of nasty, and I might use up all the tissues and toilet paper in the house, but life must go on. So, I valiantly head forward, back into the melee, armed with a roll of Charmin and my trusty Lysol. If I fail to re-emerge, send in the foot patrol. I might need some Dayquil or something. Maybe, JUUUUUST maybe, if I survive, I’ll share a little of the chapters I’ve edited. Maybe. IF I survive.
Christmas: a time of celebration and joy. It was fantastic this year, so much calmer than last year’s hectic dashes across Texas.
Yet again, though, I was faced with one of the most difficult things about writing. I am very open in my pieces about my feelings and impressions. I firmly believe that a writer should never change what they want to write just for someone else. That belief has gotten me in deep water and I’m not sure whether I’m treading or sinking.
Some of my stories on BookRix (excluding the longer pieces) and most of Freedom From Chains contain bits of my life. I won’t take them down and I won’t deny the way I felt when I wrote them, because I’m tired of people telling me that what I felt wasn’t real. A perceived reality is still a reality, so they remain. I published Freedom knowing that many people in my family would either be upset or would use it against each other for the simple fact that they were part of my past.
I am frustrated. So, so frustrated… I almost want to put a tagline on each of them saying, “This is the writer’s interpretation of events” but that is such a petty thing to do. There are about 20 people who would take this the wring way and most of them haven’t given me a second glance. Only a few are, and I refuse to cater to a few for a book that should be allowed to stand on it’s own. It is a work of art. In the same way that I refuse to skip over the sex parts in my books because my mother will read them, I refuse to censor my impressions because my family and close friends will read them.
At the same time, I find it rather adolescent for family or friends to nit-pick through those pieces searching for dirt on either myself or my parents. While most of you do not know me personally and will never meet my parents, know this: they are amazing. I don’t think another set of parents could have done a better job. I am healthy, smart, and passionate about things in life because of the values and lessons they taught me. I have skills most of my friends and co-workers lack because of their parenting. I was not an easy child, and they did a great job. I have short stories written about the love I have for both of my parents (although those are mysteriously forgotten). For someone to look at my perceptions of the world seen through a teenager’s mind and judge myself or my family is beyond me. On top of that, my struggles are out there to give solace and encouragement to others. To dig through those pieces just to point out my flawed ideology is hurtful. Mistakes are mistakes. Choices are choices. Consequences happen, but they do not define us. Our attitudes and the decisions after do define us.
Life is life. Every person has a point where they struggle to find themselves, and often during that time they fall and make mistakes. It’s part of growing up. I chose to write during that time, and it kept me grounded while I waded through insecurity and loneliness.
So please, if you’re close friends or family and you’re reading any of my more personal writings, remember that it is filtered through my perceptions and mine alone. Do not blame anyone for what I write and do not judge me for my honesty. Enjoy the piece and stop to think. Maybe you’re reacting not because Stevie has written something scandalous. Maybe you’re reacting because you’ve felt those same feelings of fear or wonder or longing or emptiness. Look past the time frame of high school or college and see the universality of it. I didn’t write these to throw heaping coals on my family or to air my dirty laundry. I wrote these because if I felt it as a person, someone else did, too. Note the word “feel.” It’s all relative.
If you’re a writer, do you struggle with this, too? Or do you stay away from anything liable to blow up in your face? If you’re a reader, do you appreciate honesty or find it easier not to know the writer? I’m not even sure someone I know personally can read anything I’ve written impartially. What a depressing thought.
My apologies for a much more heated post than I usually put up, but this has been bothering me for a while. I sincerely hope I am the only writer struggling with this, because it almost makes me want to keep thoughts to myself. Almost.