I went for so long without writing that now, I have this very real fear I’ve lost my talent. Forgotten it in the wasteland of my depression, when even the things, people, places I loved drowned, buried beneath the weight of it.
It’s irrational, I know. I worked for Starbucks at twenty years old, and returned eight years later to find it was just as I’d left it. I knew how to make lattes as if the talent were remembered in the tendons and muscles of my arms and hands. Within a week of returning, I was just as quick and efficient as I had been nearly a decade before.
So I know talent isn’t something you can lose. It isn’t a threadbare connection easily cast aside by the strong winds of our lives. When you go back, that talent – whatever it may be – is there waiting for you.
Still, I find myself frozen sometimes. I’m writing again – have been for about two months now – but hesitantly. Cautiously. Like my talent is a skittish wild animal, frightened by my grasping fingers and cajoling expression. I’m before a dark forest, my scared talent my only salvation, and I’m so desperate to make that connection, to fit together with it like the puzzle pieces we were three years ago, because that is where my safety lies. I reach for it with no fear. It belongs to me. It is me. But inside, I am frightened. I’m frightened it will reject me, leaving me alone to the forest.
The anti-depressants have nixed my self loathing, but it’s been replaced by self doubt. Am I a real writer? Am I good enough? Will I find the rhythm again? The rhythm that used to drive me to type like a madwoman late into the night, when the rest of the world slept in reality but I existed solely in universes of my own creation?
Maybe I am good enough. I do know that I am dedicated to this path. It was my husband’s fear for me and my complete disassociation from writing that pushed me to seek help for my depression. Those two things I love most in the world – him and my art. I had to get better because I was losing the true loves of my life.
Now, I stare at the blinking cursor on a novel I’m writing, the first tentative steps of falling in love passing between us, and I am terrified. I want to do this beautiful story justice. Because high sales isn’t success, and I know that now in a way I never understood before.
MY success. The success I need, I seek, I grasp for – that success is finishing a book and feeling like I’ve closed a chapter on a grand love. A lover I gave everything to, so I could share it with the world.
I gently wrap my arms around this talent, this skittish, wild animal inside me that makes me a writer, and together we walk into the woods.