A Wolf in Red Lipstick

How I feel

I’m nearing the finish line of the first draft of my book and it’s filling me with a terrible anxiety. I’ve gone totally broke while writing this. I’m unearthed stories about my past that irrevocably have changed my present and maybe my future. Some alliances haven’t survived; others have formed or reformed. And there are so many questions I’ve put off until now: Will anyone give a fuck about this story? being the first and foremost.

For the last month I’ve been drowning in sadness about a breakup but just now am gripped with a shimmering, ever-widening existential fear that I suspect has lurked beneath everything else all year. I’m honestly not sure if my book is any good, and that’s not a fish for a compliment so much as a bleat from the abyss. I have no idea how I’ll sell it. And I know I’ll feel terrible if it doesn’t find a home in other people who may need it, because I’ve never done anything just for my health–let alone write.

Yet my bravado is such that I never admit to how much I want something or someone lest I be forced to perceive myself as a failure. And my addiction to a victimhood for which I constantly overcompensate is such that I cannot imagine a life based on success rather than survival. My whole shtick is Against the Odds, prevailing over nothing and everything, shoulders squared as I stride down a subway platform in fake fur and real danger.

How I wish to feel

There are wonderful people who have nurtured my work and my heart, and I don’t acknowledge that support so much as I cling to my self-image as a lone wolf in red lipstick, hurtling through space and time without a care in the world. This is not a good look in middle age.

If I am to move forward–if my work is to deepen and set root in the world–I have to let go of all that shit and admit how much I need, how much I want, how ugly all this feels.

So this morning, as I blow snot into an old tissue and bleakly eye the grey sky adrift with grey snow, know this: I appreciate anyone who is taking the time to read this. And I wish desperately to live up to your love.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy