I don’t know how to tackle this. I am trying not to let the weight of years press on me. I want to feel organized. I want to feel momentum. I want to feel FLOW. (Or like David Petraitis said, conjoining flow and focus, flowcus.) Maybe I can get there, finally.
Maybe it’s important to acknowledge just how hard the past two years have been. Maybe the reason I couldn’t get a firm grasp on my book was because it was literally impossible, in the face of feeling so depressed and alone and unsupported. Maybe the terrible burdens of secrecy and shame can be thrown off, now. Maybe I don’t have to give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks of my relationships or how my approach to intimacy has shifted and grown.
SO: I think the central theme of my book is INTIMACY, and pushing against the forces that squelch it, and trying to make it EMBODIED and REAL. I don’t want a diluted version of life, parsed out in tiny doses of officially approved shape and size and parameters. None of that. I don’t have fucking time for that. I have a finite life and I’m going to live it, and I’m going to do my utmost to model to my child that a meaningful, full life is not something to aspire to, but something to immediately grasp, taste, hold close and love madly.
I need to write about DISEMBODIMENT. I need to write about the intersections between personal trauma and collective trauma. I need to write about the breakdowns in connection and how we have to jump the guardrail if we’re ever to have a prayer of getting real with each other. Brené Brown really hit the nail on the head with her work on shame and vulnerability and what we need to do to live wholehearted lives.
This isn’t being fluffy. This isn’t some cutesy tale in the vein of your average hearts-and-flowers love story. It won’t fit the narrative. It only fits MY narrative, and that’s all I want, to get personal, to know what others’ gritty, messy, gorgeous, personal stories are, and how our stories join together. They always do, when we allow ourselves to be open.
I took a journey I didn’t think was possible, and I’m still on it, and it’s not done with me yet. I’m not sure how to get perspective in order to write the book that I need to write. I don’t want to write a book for the sake of having it done—I want it to be the book that calls out from deep necessity. I need to find a way to spell out that INTIMACY, in its myriad guises, is what offers redemption while we are alive, what so frequently gives us meaning as human animals, what transcends the fear of destruction and death. I want to say: I wanted to know my own heart and whatever it had to say. I wanted to share it. I wanted yours to speak to mine, directly, without these infernal filters that clog up relentlessly.
There are structural elements that need much more clarity. I need to study and practice. I need to bring my cognitive abilities into the service of my heart, into the service of accessibility. The practice of writing, as far as I can tell, is most spiritual when this integration of head and heart can take place. My head has not been tidy. My life has not been tidy.
I think all I can do is keep spiraling back to what’s centrally important and stop berating myself about not having a Product to present to the world. It seems the only way forward to creating a real, tangible Book is to forget about the final product and focus entirely on process. It brings up colossal amounts of internal shit for me. Inner, younger Jen can’t comprehend that it’s not about making the grade—she still thinks that’s the measure of value even when it leaves her hollow and desperate. Inner Wise Woman says: Sweetheart, it did a number on you. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry you had to grow up in a culture of ruthless competition and hierarchy and soul-stomping. But listen: you are dismantling it daily, in every act of disobedience. You are finding a different piece of ground to stand on, a wild place, with uncoerced fruit ripening on trees and shrubs. Soon you will be spreading a feast and inviting everyone you know to join you.