This year I've made a ground breaking, climb up to the roof and shout it out discovery. After a decade of teaching creative writing to adults and kids, it has become clear to me that how we feel about our writing is a mirror of how we feel about our selves. Rarely do we love ourselves but feel that our writing is total shit. Rarely do we hate our writing but love our selves. When we say our writing is trite, boring, self-indulgent or dumb, it's generally not the words on the page we are actually referring to.
As I work on letting my writing be, I'm working on letting my body be. As I work on letting my body be, I'm working on letting my writing be. Of course it's not just my body, but my mind, my house and my soul. My body is just the mostly condensed, concise representation of all of that. It's an endless loop that either spirals inwards or outwards, up or down, depending on how rigorously I'm working not to be insane at the time.
Last month my co-editor Sarah Allen-Short and I were on CBS 6's Virginia This Morning to talk about the very thrilling publication of Nine Lives: A Life in 10 Minutes Anthology. I was afraid to wear my sleeveless dress without a sweater into the interview, afraid that my dreaded armpit under-hang would steal the show. "If you put a sweater on over that sleeveless dress," Sarah told me point blank in the parking lot, "You are letting the Patriarchy win."
And I can't do that. Not for my sisters or mothers or students or friends. Not for my son growing up in this crazy world.
Not for myself.
And so, as a continued commitment to loving myself and fighting the patriarchy, this summer I am not wearing a potato sack with a skirt into the pool. I am not wearing a parka and cargo pants to hang out with friends when it's one million degrees. I am wearing fitted bathing suits, spaghetti strap tank tops and when I feel like it, booty shorts.
And though I haven't quite yet achieved perfect self love or finished smashing the patriarchy, I am doing my best to let my writing hang out and shake it all around.