Daybreak is approaching as I impatiently wait for my coffee to finish brewing. My trio of poodles, Mischief, Moxie, and Mayhem excitedly greet me as if they didn’t just see me last night. I put Mayhem’s breakfast down first in the hopes he’ll stop “parkouring” loudly off the kitchen cabinets. Mischief is next. That sweet picky eater is the reason I do my best to stomach wet dog food first thing in the morning. I must sprinkle it on top of the dry food, so he eats. Moxie sits patiently as her tail stub wiggles. At only six pounds, she’s smart enough to wait, so she’s not crushed. I’m convinced she enjoys being the last one eating while Mayhem, who always scarfs down his food too fast, sits close by staring.
Still half asleep, I make my way to my favorite recliner. While scrolling through my phone like it’s the morning paper, I let the dogs jump on my lap and say hello again. I mean, can you have enough puppy kisses? Eating has left them in a food coma, like after Thanksgiving dinner. The boys trot over to the couch while Princess Moxie knows she is allowed at my feet. That’s my morning routine, COVID-19 or not. What has changed is what I do after I’ve finished my caffeine fix. Instead of being overwhelmed by the depressing news, I hope inspiration will hit me as I scour new leads.
Creative writing was my favorite subject back in high school, and my grades reflected I was good at it. In 2003, I took a class at my community college and was the only student to get an essay published during the eight-week course. That achievement lit a creative fire in me, and over the next year, I sold a few articles. Then I stopped writing as it had become physically draining. And if I am honest, I never felt like I was a “writer,” despite any accolades.
Read More: The Opposite of Failure-Why I Write
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000. Four years later, I fought through a relapse that left me blind in one eye, bedridden and unable to speak or write for over a month. Stress can be a trigger for a flare-up of MS symptoms, and there was much going in my life back then. My husband was struggling with an addiction to pain pills. We had a three-year-old daughter whom I felt I was raising alone. I couldn’t work. We were so in debt that I lied to our daughter as to why Daddy’s new truck was not in our driveway. I left out the part about the missing payments and repossession.
In 2007, while driving around aimlessly, my husband fell asleep at the wheel and passed away in a single-car accident. I married a sincere man in 2011 who treats my daughter as his own. I started writing again in 2016 when I took on the mammoth task of writing a memoir. At first, I wrote it as a legacy memoir for my daughter. I trusted a friend with a background as an English teacher to review a draft, and she gave me the confidence to publish it. The embarrassing stories. Family secrets. All of it. I can still remember how it felt to hold my book in my hands for the first time. And the heart-racing anticipation of hitting “post” as I released my work upon the world in 2017.
But You Look So Good and Other Lies: A Memoir was well-received and well-reviewed. Writing my book was helpful during my ongoing healing process of childhood trauma. But it took an emotional toll, and I put down my pen. Again.
That was until the apocalypse struck. Deep down, I’ve been yearning to create again. And honestly, how much “Marie Kondo-ing” can one person do?! Thanks to years of therapy, now done via teletherapy, I know why I never felt “good enough” and that understanding “the why” can be a great place to start healing. Since the Governor of Nevada asked my state to stay home, I’ve crafted five essays. Three of them have been accepted for publication! If you’re reading this, that makes one more!
Although I still spend time quarantined in my pajamas watching Netflix, I try to carve out time to write. When our time inside is finally over, won’t it feel amazing to be able to say, “Look what I created!” I hope that you will express yourself through whatever creative outlet you have during this uncertain time and start, or in my case, reignite that fire inside.
The article was first published in the first issue of Passionate Chic