I’ve been busy, people. Busy delving into this incredible new book by Allison Nazarian, whom I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting in person back in September at CIP. (Jealous? I met a real, live, published writer and she autographed my copy!). It’s ridiculously perfect for me.
Nazarian writes about life being messy. Not literally messy, like the growing piles of paperwork, lists and bills littering my kitchen counter. Messy in the sense of emotionally, mentally and logistically. How real is your life, she asks? Because the conclusion she draws is that the more real we become, the messier life is. It just is. You know, like you can’t have the chicken without the egg. Or which came first, the chicken or the egg? I forget how it goes. But you know what I mean.
“Messiness is a by-product of a life well-lived. It’s not something to be avoided or ignored or falsely neatened up. And, in fact (get this), it is something you want. That you should strive for. That you should be thankful for.
Because the truth is this: No messiness means no lessons, no loving with abandon, no real living out loud.” (p. 15)
Something else Allison writes about that really resonates with me is The Voice. The Voice says things like, “Of course you aren’t getting anything done today…you are disorganized/unfocused/without purpose.”
Or The Voice says, “Your kids are fighting because you are the world’s worst Mother. Duh.”
And it might even go so far as this, “You say writing is your top priority but you never get to it. Maybe you aren’t really meant to be a writer. And even if you are a decent writer, you aren’t making any money from writing. Stands to reason it’s pretty worthless. Maybe you are, too?” (pp. 19-20)
I can’t begin to describe how much I relate to all of this, these feelings. The Voice speaks to me all day every day. It rarely says anything positive. Here are some snippets of My Voice:
- You fancy yourself a writer, eh? But what do you write, exactly? A stupid blog?
- You’ve been saying for years that you want to write a book. Maybe you’ll never really do it. And even if you do, who the heck is gonna publish that shit, let alone read it?
- You’re a horrible mother. Those twins steamroll you. Clearly they’re wearing the pants.
- You totally suck in the kitchen. You can’t even make your own pie crusts.
- Your laundry room is a wreck. Why can’t you ever clean it up? And that dusty thing in the cabinet? It’s called an iron. Use it once in a while, mmm’kay?
- You’re a bad wife. Being tired all the time is no excuse.
- You’re going on a girls’ trip to Vegas? You don’t deserve to do that. You should skip it.
- Why are you wearing your pajamas during the daytime? And when was your last shower?
I’m giving The Voice the finger. I’m well aware my life is messy. But it’s a good thing. Now I just need to learn to embrace it, accept it, and snuggle up on the couch with it. Because it’s part of what makes me uniquely me. And as for my many messes? If you’re a regular reader, you know about most of them. My gay dad, my struggles with my body image, bullies, and two short people who are running the show here when I should be. Because I’m the mom. Well, at the very least, I’m gonna write a damn good book about my messes. I mean, I’m not literally stealing Allison’s idea, I just mean I’m going to write about the stuff that makes up my messy life. And YOU are going to buy a copy. Even if it’s 20 years from now it better not take me that long, God damn it.
This book is so good I’m making flashcards to tape up all over my bathroom mirror, fridge, and on the inside of my car with quotes from it. I also think Allison should make an audio version so I can listen to her affirmations and wisdom while I’m driving my mom-mobile (hint, hint). Reading about her mess is especially comforting because she is a published writer who’s experienced a similar kind of muckety muck that I have. And she’s not afraid to admit it. Did I mention she autographed my copy? Which means I’m not alone, and it also gives me the courage to be more open about my messes. Which I think I have been, especially lately, on my blog.
You will love this book. You will fall in love with Allison just as I have. She’s candid, bright, and she’s helping me learn how to live.