Glimpse in the Mirror

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I couldn’t look away.  My hair was sticking out at all angles even worse than usual.  My thick half curled mane does whatever it wants whenever it wants just like a spoiled child.  I take photos of it and text to my kids to give them a laugh.

Listen to the story

But this hair was crazy woman hair.  It framed a face wrinkled by strained muscles with a deep frown.  Sweat sat in large droplets like a liquid pearl necklace waiting to burst and form vertical creeks to release the perspiration.

What the hell was wrong with me?  What on earth just happened?  I came into my office just minutes ago to water the plants before I sat down to write.

I remember I was thinking about what I’d write today, stressing over whether to continue my novel or allow myself to just write mundane crap on a page.  Sometimes it helps to purge the excess words that build up each day and block the creative flow.

From the outside I look productive but it’s just a cover.  I’ve had decades to practice looking normal.  I move slowly and purposefully to hide the fact that there’s a million voices in my head.  Ok, I exaggerate, there’s really only 12 voices, but you know, that’s still a lot.

And when I caught my reflection I realized the thin veneer of sanity slipped away.  This manic, sweaty, old, crazy woman in the mirror looked just plain…crazy.  She didn’t look creative.  There was nothing about her that said genius.  She just looked like she’d crossed over that line from holding it all together to being crazy.  Which is how I feel 99% of the time.

You see, I was debating what to write, or not write.  But deep down I was wondering if I’m worthy of the space I take up each day.  Am I brave enough to face that empty page yet again today?

During these thoughts I was watering the plant high up on the bookshelf.  I set it there because it’s the only spot in the room where the baby green leaves can reach the sun.  It’s one of my old tricks of doing something that looks useful while feeling less worthy of care than that tiny spider plant.

I got caught up in my thoughts.  Those 12 voices are loud, you know, and it gets distracting.  The water spilled over the edge of the plant pot, creating a waterfall all over my books.  Oh, my precious books.  I knocked over my desk chair in a race to carry each prize of boxed words to safety.  I tripped on the chair leg that stuck in the air like a dog in mid pee.  Then, I ran to the bathroom to grab a towel to mop up.  And that’s when I saw her.  That woman with the crazy hair, her panicked face, and all that perspiration.  I saw her wild eyes that were….mine.

I realized in that moment the plants, those books were all more important than me.  At least , in my own opinion.  But, to another woman, MY book is the prized possession.  In that scenario, I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK!  My words are important!

So, I leave the mess as it is and turn over the desk chair.  And I sit, returning again to the page as I MUST do each morning.  And I write, despite what the dozen voices in my head are saying.