- The age I was when I met my husband
- The age my kids will be when the government determines them to be “adults”
- The approximate number of times I have read my favorite book, Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
- The number of revisions I have made to my memoir, The Boy who Birthed me.
The number of revisions I have made to my book.
Granted, most of these were before turning on “public access” on the self-publishing website I’m using, but there have been at least three since then. What this means for those of you who have bought it is that you all have different variations of the same text.
“Isn’t that kind of weird?” my husband asked today over lunch. “Depending on when people bought your book it could be slightly different? Shouldn’t you just stop messing with it and leave it as it is?”
My answer is this: Yes. Yes, I should. Will I? God, I hope so.
What am I doing?! Why don’t I just stop and be satisfied with the almost 10 years I have spent writing and editing and living this memoir? Because there are misspellings and places where the spacing is wrong and my mom got upset and my grandmother was uncertain and because maybe I misinterpreted my experiences and may have hurt someone’s feelings and I left out an important word and added many in unnecessarily. All this inner turmoil led to a self-induced migraine last Friday (sorry, again, to my last minute client cancellations), yet here I am today, uploading another revision…
The message of my book is that we are all imperfect journeyers. We all wear masks to protect the world from seeing our perceived flaws, our mess ups, our misspellings and moments of insensitivity. How perfect then, that this creation itself, this thing I birthed into the world, is triggering the very fears I encourage us all to embrace in my writing.
The invitation in this revision frenzy is to notice, again, that proclaiming my belief in embracing imperfection doesn’t make it completely true. Yes, I know that we are all imperfect and I truly believe that connection lies in our ability to accept our common humanity. I know that people’s opinions of my book don’t give me worth or take my worth away. But sometimes it feels that way. So what do I do with all this?
I take a break, take a breather. I notice what’s happening. I own it, write about it, share it with you. Perhaps in doing so I will again find that higher part of me that can witness my precious fears with kindness and compassion. Perhaps I will invite others to do the same, thus shedding the mask again, for just a moment. Maybe I will even forgive myself.
My greatest fear throughout this memoir journey has been that it will leave no meaningful impact, will have no purpose and will makes no difference. I suppose my fears are unfounded since, for me anyway, it already has.
Please comment and feel free to share/re-post this for others. And if you haven’t already purchased your copy, feel free to click on the Lulu link below. But a note of warning, you might want to wait for the next revision.