It felt like I was disappearing into the roles of wife and mother. Always thinking of someone else, spending every spare dime on the kids, waiting on my husband's schedule to make plans, and doing laundry every waking moment. There was no time for me. In February, I confided to my mother-in-law that I felt invisible.
Deciding to get serious about writing was about more than finishing or publishing a novel, it was finding a way back to me. Writing was my time, and I soon realized how precious it was. Without it, I faded back into the drudgeries of the day to day. As I wrote more frequently, I found myself chatting with the check-out lady, making eye contact with that rude lady trying to cut me in line, and I'm more likely to yell at that guy speeding through the light (even if he can't hear me). My coffee shop knows me as that writer who comes in, not as James' mom or Josh's wife. While I was out with my mother at an art show, an artist asked if I also was painter like my mom, and I said, "No, I'm a writer." The artist thought it was very cool, and secretly, so did I.
I'm a writer. My words are mine. I've created worlds and people. I can share that with whomever I choose. Someday maybe even the world. My mother-in-law called last week and said, "I have something to tell you. You're not invisible anymore."
No, I'm not, and I feel the difference.
Don't let anyone tell you writing isn't important or bully you to worry about marketability or publishing. Don't be torn down by people in your life who don't understand why you want to write. Make it your priority, because ultimately writing is yours. No matter how many people read it, you are the writer alone. It's not an imposition on anyone to give time to yourself.
Mindy over at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire recently posted about an excellent book, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I haven't read the book in ages, but the quote Mindy included really spoke to the guilt I heaped on myself for wanting to write:
“I've seen women work long, long hours at jobs they despise in order to buy very expensive items for their houses, mates, or children, and putting their considerable talents on the back burner. I've seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write... and you know, it's a funny thing about house cleaning... it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow overresponsibility (or overrespectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, rifts, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she "should" be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
There are always going to be chores and responsibilities and an endless stream of laundry to get lost in, but take care not to turn invisible. It's more than okay to want something for yourself. It's normal. It's healthy. It's necessary.