I’m thinking about becoming famous. It’s not something I’ve ever wanted, but apparently, these days, in order to sell a memoir, the memoirist must have a “strong platform.” One agent told me she’d be interested in representing me if I had a YouTube channel or a podcast with at least 100,000 followers. I told her I made a couple of make-up tutorials. She didn’t think that was funny.
So, what is a girl to do? Do I continue querying as I am, cross my fingers, and cast a spell in the hope that there is an agent out there (one I happen to find in the haystack of bajillions) who believes in my project enough to take it on and shop it around to publishers? Or do I start a podcast? Or do I take videos of myself wearing fancy hats while I read poetry?
About a year ago, I interviewed to volunteer with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and thought I would be able to help those who struggle with mental illness. Then I realized Sure, the idea of being strong and showing up as an ally for others sounded great, in theory. It was my brother who made me see more clearly what I’d tried valiantly over the years to forget–I’d spent enough time over the years learning how to cope with my biological mother’s mental illness. Did I really have the emotional fortitude to willingly throw myself into that realm again? As a trauma survivor, working in the mental illness sector might not be good for my own mental health. After all, I suffer from anxiety, codependency, and intermittent mild depression. Wouldn’t I need to be some kind of Superwoman, or stupid woman, to open my arms to this? To say to others, your mental health is more important than mine, so let me help you while I ignore the emotional rollercoaster roaring inside of me? Yes. So after attending an orientation and passing an interview to be a mentor, I quietly backed away without even saying goodbye.
I’m not a quitter, but maybe I am. I quit teaching, didn’t I? But maybe that (and leaving NAMI before I’d officially begun) was more about recognizing something important–a calling, perhaps–and letting my inner voice and wisdom guide me to a better place for myself. Recently, someone very wise whom I admire greatly, spoke with me about the inner spirit we all have that has a voice and constantly tries to teach us what we need and in which direction we should roam. Now that I’m a full-time
trophywife housewife and writer, maybe all I need is to meditate on this, to give my spirit some tranquility so it can show the true me to myself. Maybe I am supposed to start a YouTube channel or a podcast. I have no idea where to begin or how to sustain such a thing. But every success starts with an idea and I have a few of those, so, at the very least, there’s hope.
Last night, I Googled “how to get involved with programs to help heal trauma,” and I stumbled upon the “Attachment and Trauma Network, Inc.” I had never heard of this, but as I explored their website, I became more interested in the work they’re doing. Primarily, they educate parents and professionals about how early childhood trauma affects neurobiology and learning. They also have programs aimed at helping people heal from attachment disorders and trauma. In the past, people have suggested I volunteer with foster kids or become a foster parent myself. Those ideas put a pit in my stomach, which was probably my spirit guide trying to tell me not to go there. But this network speaks to me in a different way entirely.
I’m a firm believer in the power of using our strengths and talents to improve the world. Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could use my education and psychology background to help people improve their lives? As a writer, I could lead creative writing and journaling classes that teach others the benefits of poetry and self-reflection. Or I could do any number of things related to this–things I might not even know exist.
It’s possible that I’m supposed to be a writer. However, recently, I experienced something surprising during a transformational breathwork session. Toward the end of the session, the healer working with me said to listen to my mind, try to hear my spirit speak. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and if I hadn’t experienced it myself, I might not believe it could happen. A voice in my head that was not my voice arose from somewhere–maybe my subconscious–and it told me to “speak.” From that moment, I’ve been seeking ways to use my voice literally. I joined the San Diego Poetry Circuit and read original poetry every Tuesday night. Maybe there are other opportunities for me to speak in a capacity that combines my talents with my interests that also has the potential to help others.
And maybe from that, a platform can be built. I never started out thinking about doing something merely to become famous, and it doesn’t seem like the path I’m supposed to follow, but wouldn’t it be just like a freakin’ spirit guide to lead me to my true calling in the most circuitous way imaginable? Play basketball so you can develop self-awareness and self-esteem. Become a teacher so you can nurture your speaking voice and learn how to be comfortable on stage. Get your MFA in creative writing so you can improve your storytelling and editing skills. Write your memoir so you can see the source of your trauma. Put it all together and speak so you can show others how your resiliency saved you…because if others learn how to be resilient, maybe they, too, can save themselves.
I don’t know. It’s just a thought.