You know how, when you’re young, and someone breaks your heart, every. single. song seems to be speaking to you? The words pierce your heart and you wonder, “How did they know?” I have been experiencing this with my writing. I’ve always believed in messages. Remember the book, Celestine Prophecies, “There are no coincidences”. I mostly believe in that too. I recall sitting in a high school classroom, praying, “If ___ wants to ask me out, send me a sign.”
I don’t request signs much anymore, but I DO watch for them. I don’t have many passions but writing has always been one. I won some essay contests as a kid. Had a few vignettes published in a local paper. Wrote killer reports as a Speech Pathologist. I have never thought I could write a book. A memoir, for sure. A short story, maybe. A book, uh uh no way. So many self doubts, including minimizing what I could create. “too many fragments”, “nothing important to say“. Then I started getting little signs.
The yoga instructor paraphrased one of SnoopDogg’s acceptance speeches thanking people, “And finally I would like to thank myself. I want to thank myself for not giving up on my dream when no one else believed I could do it; I want to thank myself for showing up everyday and putting in the work.” How many times have I asked myself, “Is it worth my time???”
In Neil Gaiman’s introduction to American Gods, he writes, “Something started in the back of my head. There were unrelated ideas that I knew were important and yet seemed unconnected.” Precisely what I feel. He put the ideas together into a masterful book. Self sabotage 1, gone.
Another message came while watching the newest Little Women. Jo states something like, “Nobody wants to read it, it’s not important.” Her sister replies with, “Maybe it’s not important because nobody’s written it.” Wow. Barrier 2 challenged.
The final message was a kick in the pants– making, no, allowing myself time to write. Last May at my retirement party, I casually mentioned I wanted to write more in retirement. 8 months in, zero action. About 3 weeks ago a former, but little known colleague, started texting me, asking how my writing was going, what had I written, what did I know about writers groups. It was so frequent I started to wonder what stalking felt like, but then one day I put my writing envelope on the couch, the next day I reviewed writings, and the next I sat down and wrote for the first time in 2 years. My mind shifted those texts from peculiar to pure angel. Just like those break up love songs, “How did she know?” I will be forever grateful.
I leave you with something we might say to students on the Autism Spectrum (or to any of us introverts), “Look up and look around.” Observe, pay attention, be ready, be open. Positive messages may already be slipping your way.