I spent over four years officially writing my first book. After I self-published it, I proceeded to spend the next four years hating it. I read and reread my words a million times, recognizing sections that needed editing, holes that needed tending, and over-analyzing every word that I put on the page. It was mostly insecurity that caused me to question my work but there was also personal growth both as a writer and as a woman. And while I believed in the importance of sharing my truth, I struggled with the fact that my truth wasn’t exactly my truth any more. I wanted to rewrite it in a way that was more poetic and maybe updated with some new perspectives. But the thought of this overwhelmed me. So I took the book out of circulation and gave myself space from the project for a while.
Sometime around then I attended an equity conference for my job. It was oddly reminiscent of my Christian retreat days. There were heart-wrenching testimonies and self-reflection activities, leaving us all emotionally ransacked after a few short days. The only things missing were a guitar and some Bible thumpers. Despite its tent revival qualities, one message that I took away from that experience was the idea that you must speak your truth. And also, you must accept that a person’s truth can change, even from the moment it passes their lips. (This concept is not to be confused with its terrifying cousin called “alternative facts”.) To be allowed to speak your truth without fear of it becoming a tattoo across your forehead was liberating. It gave me a bit more bravery to speak something I was formulating but not completely sure about, prefacing it with, “Now I’m going to speak in draft form here…”
This got me thinking about my book. My words, written at twenty-six years old, then twenty-seven, and so on, are what made my memoir speak truth. You can taste bitterness in them around chapter eighteen as I searched for someone to blame for my depression. And a layer of sweet frosting covers my conclusions – signs of a honeymoon heart and hope for my future. I realized that I shouldn’t rewrite my history because then those truths about myself would never be exposed. So instead, I did some light editing, rearranged some parts, added in where I felt there was more to say. And then I stood back and said, “You did good, girlfriend” like I was speaking to my bestie.
If you have already Jar Half Full, thank you! Feel free to read this one too. It’s the same, but better, and I’ve added an Afterword that’ll change your life! (Ok, not really. Just figured I’d try to sell it). If you haven’t read it, please consider getting a copy. I’d love to share my stories with you and hope that some part of it will help you feel a little less alone in whatever you are working through right now. And thank you in advance for choosing to listen to my truth.