I’m always fascinated by why people write. I write because there’s no better way for me to process life than through words. Now that I’m a mom, I’m even more interested in how writer mommas balance their two roles. Cara Meredith of be, mama. be. is weighing in on just that today.
I write because my insides have a story to tell.
I write because my fingers are just waiting, waiting for their moment to speak.
I write because the process – the grueling, sticky process of finding that one word, of phrasing an utterance “just right” – gives me Life …and if said Life is found through the syntax of a sentence, enveloping part and parcel of my deepest self, then I think I really have landed in the right place.
Because it is through writing that I further embrace not only who I am, but also whose I am.
And it is then that I fly.
Of course, it took me awhile to figure out the Writer’s Life – of which, I’m certain now, I’ll never actually quite figure out. [After all, there will always be another story to tell, another phrase to untangle, another sentence to make seamless.]
For years, I worked in the education world, teaching high school students the intricacies of Shakespeare and Poe, guiding them towards perfecting the written art of the five-paragraph essay. I moonlighted as a conference and retreat speaker on the weekends and during the summer; it was only then, in crafting the words the Spirit had me to say, that I wrote.
I was too exhausted otherwise. Overwhelmed by my students’ words, I couldn’t bear create my own stories.
But then the question came, as it always does: “Cara, if you could do anything with your time – if money weren’t an issue, what would you do?”
While I dreamed my own northern Californian version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, I knew the heart of the question centered on vocation. Not working wasn’t an option, but following my heart was an option.
“Well,” I’d answer to the inquiring friend, “I’d write and speak full-time.”
Truthfully, my answer came with its own hidden set of questions, in which a caged fear of the unknown kept me from fully jumping in, from finally flying: What if no one hires me? What if this crazy dream is just what it sounds like – my own crazy dream? What if I don’t have an organization from which to stake claim? What if, what if …I’m wrong?
But then it happened.
Twelve years, two career fields, and one baby in the baby carriage later, I finally stepped into pursuing the dream. I started following my heart.
Like Emily, I now attempt to balance motherhood and writing – although let me be the first to place strong emphasis on the word “attempt” of the aforementioned phrase.
But along the way, I’ve learned a few things.
I’m learning to not be so hard on myself. Because some weeks, naptimes run smooth as spice, and a babysitter is secured for a good couple of sanity-filled afternoons. I’m able to crank out five blogs and two articles and finish a chapter in the book; I pat myself on the back, raising congratulatory fists in the air – Victory! Victory! Then the next week rolls around, and my word count is a third of the previous seven days, and voices of failure and woe crowd my mind for space, but I remember…
We lived life fully this week – and we have stories to tell for it.
I listened to my body, the tired, worn-out body that needed rest, and I received grace. I threw fistfuls of confetti-like grace over my shoulders and into my hair; this grace tickled my eyelashes and reached my insides. And this Grace was and is and will continue to be sufficient for me.
For this grace is enough.
And that, I’d say, is exactly what I’ve needed to embrace all along – for it is through grace, and it is through telling stories and living stories and embracing stories, that I’m freed up and again, again given wings to fly.
And I soar.
Former high school English teacher turned youth minister, Cara is now learning what it means to be as a full-time mama and free-lance writer and speaker. She loves pretending to be a foodie, being outdoors and trying to read seven books at a time (although never very successfully). She lives in San Francisco with her HBH (Hot Black Husband) and their 13-month-old son, “Cancan.” She writes at “be, mama. be” (carameredith.com), and tweets here and there under the handle, @caramac54.