Quiet Moments of Success

2015111095125545Coraline’s been sleeping on her own lately, and this morning I sent Mia off to catch the bus to school and am now sitting in a quiet house, enjoying hot coffee for exactly 35 minutes and counting. I want to poke my head in to the bedroom to check on her, but I know it’ll wake her up. I get moments to myself at night, too, and end up pacing a little, ready to jump out of my seat if I hear her whimper. Her sleeping on her own has been one of those quiet moments of success that give me a chance to breathe without asking someone to help me do it.
Yesterday I did an interview for a radio station in Australia about the housecleaning essay Vox published back in July. The essay I’m turning into a book. I have to pinch myself often that this is my life. Yesterday was definitely not an exception, feeling a literal 15 minutes of fame. I had friends come over to listen to it, had a few beers, and ordered out for pizza. Coraline covered herself in spaghetti and we all patted our bellies full of food we didn’t have to cook ourselves.
It’s hard for me to celebrate, and it was especially hard for me to invite friends over to celebrate with me. I usually allow moments like this to pass. I believe that if I give them attention, I might jinx them in some way. If I poke my head in to check on them, recognizing they exist, they’ll vanish.
DSCN2175I’ve been going out on dates lately. I’m not totally sure I even want a boyfriend, and “relationship” has the same ick-factor of the word “moist” when I say it, but I thought it’d be good to try. I am happy single, but there are moments, during the holidays especially, where walking down a street alone in the midst of bundled up couples is too much to bear without feeling a little tug of sadness and wanting.
One of my dates asked about my writing, since I put in my online profile that I wrote for a living and it was something I’d dreamed of doing since I was ten. I told him I’d published some essays, and had kept a journal since I was a kid. He nodded in a “that’s nice” sort of way.
Later in the date he asked what I had going on that weekend and I told him about the Australian radio live interview. His jaw opened and his eyes got wide, and I went on to explain who I wrote for regularly and that I was preparing a book proposal for an agent who’d contacted me.
“I didn’t realize I was sitting across from a famous person!” he said. I couldn’t tell if he was saying that in a joking or sarcastic way or not.
I turned my head and said, “Yeah, I guess I’m a little famous.”
Being able to tell people about my job isn’t about that, though. For years I battled overcoming an inner voice in my head, the voice of my ex, who said I was worthless and that no one was ever going to love me. He said I was selfish for pursuing a college degree in writing, because I’d always be struggling and costing the tax payers money from being on government assistance.
Being able to tell people about my job is being able to say that I am successful. A professional, even, though most of my writing is done half-lidded and in pajama pants. I’m just at the start of my career, and it’s something I have to pinch myself over daily. I’ve had so many years, the last five especially, of showing my writing to people and being rejected, heavily edited, or watched them frown and tell me it needs some work. So I worked at it. It’s exciting to have things click, to find my voice and have the courage to use it, and get paid to write.
I almost threw up yesterday after the interview. It was only 15 minutes and I had no idea how many people had tuned in to listen, or just happened to be in a place on Monday morning in Australia where the radio was on that channel. My dog had horrifyingly barked through the middle and I fought through the distraction, but still felt awful. I had to stop. And breathe. And give myself that quiet moment of recognition. Not to relish, but to give credit: “You’ve worked hard to get here. Sit and enjoy it for a second.”
I guess I could say that about just about anything, but those moments are my favorites. Getting a chance to drink hot coffee in a quiet house ranks pretty high on the scale, too, though.

11 replies
  1. Klspen
    Klspen says:

    Yay for you! When you wrote, “I believe that if I give them attention, I might jinx them in some way. If I poke my head in to check on them, recognizing they exist, they’ll vanish.”…that spoke to me – being THE parent, THE provider, the one that gets it all done makes me feel sometimes like moments slide through my hands like sand and the harder I try to hold it, the more caught in the wind it gets; learning to enjoy that process and just feel that breeze of time wash over me instead of being riddled with anxiety about it all isn’t easy, but as I’ve gotten better at doing it I realize those moments of joy are so rewarding – thanks for writing that feeling into life for me today!

    • step.
      step. says:

      Thank you! That’s quite the complimenting comment! This has definitely been a struggle of mine, sitting and allowing things to happen and enjoying them in the moment instead of trying to control everything about them. Like, “I’ll feel good about this later” and then I never do.

  2. Juliet
    Juliet says:

    I listened to your interview on ABC and I thought it was fascinating! I know lots of others did as well. I was interested enough to visit your blog. You have a great talent and insights into the human condition that I look forward to reading about in your book.

  3. thecattownmurders
    thecattownmurders says:

    I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to celebrate for “jinxing” away the successes. I’ve enjoyed your writing for a few months now (you are a great writer btw), congratulations on everything that comes to you. And biggest congrats on a sleeping baby!!

    • step.
      step. says:

      Thank you so very much! Yes, I totally feel like the sleeping baby is the biggest success sometimes. She went down at 9pm last night and only woke up a couple of times and didn’t wake up until 8 in the morning! I didn’t know what to do with myself. ha.

  4. Lorraine S
    Lorraine S says:

    Sit back and savour the coffee, you’ve definitely earned it! I have been following your blog for a while now and feel happy for you and your success. Don’t ever be too scared to celebrate the good times.

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