The Debutante Ball is absolutely thrilled to welcome Lucy March to take a twirl around the dance floor. Deb Tawna is swooning extra hard, since she’s a HUGE fan-girl!
Lucy March is the alter-ego of New York Times bestselling, award-winning author Lani Diane Rich. She lives in Southern Ohio with her husband, two kids, two cats, and her best friend. Lucy’s next book, A Little Night Magic, is due out from St. Martin’s Press in January, 2012. Lucy also teaches online writing classes at her website, Storywonk.com. Deb Tawna had the divine pleasure of taking the Revision class through Storywonk, so she can vouch for how magnificent Lucy’s classes are for writers at all stages of their careers.
Lucy opted to write about this week’s Debutante Ball topic, freedom. If Deb Tawna may hijack this post just one last time, she’d like to report that this post made her cry (but in a nice way).
Take it away, Lucy!
Before I get started here, I’d like to thank Tawna and the Debs for inviting me to come and hang out with you all. I like it here; comfy furniture, festive decor, fruity drinks. Good luck getting rid of me now. You’ll have to fumigate.
A little birdie told me that you all are talking about freedom this week. So, okay. Let’s talk.
Some sixteen months ago, I was sitting in my bedroom staring out the window, cell phone still warm and radioactive in my hand after telling my then-husband that I needed a divorce. Our dissolution had been in process for more than a year, but that was the final death knell of a marriage that took forever to die.
There’s a scene from an episode of The Office in which Michael, the incompetent but strangely lovable boss, has trouble firing an employee. He fires him, then takes it back, then needs to try again, then tries to fire someone else, and it all becomes a horribly painful mess. In the mockumentary interview shot, he says, “Yeah, I went hunting once. Shot a deer in the leg. Had to kill it with a shovel. Took about an hour. Why do you ask?” That’s a pretty apt description of my road from separation to divorce.
Anyway, there I was, in my room, staring out the window in that moment of finality, wondering what the hell was happening to my life. I had always thought that I would stay married forever; I had always thought I was the kind of “good” person who could avoid divorce. Turns out, I’d convinced myself I was a lot of things that I wasn’t, and that “good” was a lot of things it wasn’t. As I sat there in a state of mixed disbelief and euphoria at finally being free, I knew I had to redefine who I was, because my old vision of myself no longer applied. I was a divorcee. The very idea made me simultaneously giggly and terrified. What the hell was I going to do now?
In an instant, I had the answer. I was going to blog. I was going to write a blog, every day, and tell the truth about everything, as well as I could. I was going to walk through my healing to being a brand new me on the day I turned forty, which at the time was 516 days into a chaotic, unknown future. For which my solution was… blogging.
Hey, I’m a writer. When the going gets tough, we get typing.
So, I went to my blog at LucyMarch.com, and with no solid idea what I was going to say or how I was going to say it, I started typing. Little did I know that at that moment the metal bar was clanking down on a roller coaster ride I’d remain on for fifteen months, charging wildly toward my destination, which would end with me going through more change and growth than I’d ever thought possible. It’s all still there at LucyMarch.com if you care to go back into the archives and find it; I have to say, it’s quite a story.
And that story, at its core, is about freedom – the simple freedom to allow myself to be who I really was, rather than who I wished I was. I spent most of my life, and all of my first marriage, denying all the things about myself that I felt I shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t be unhappy, so I lied to myself and my ex. I shouldn’t be selfish, so I gave everything I had to my kids and then curled up in a fetal position on the bed. I shouldn’t be angry, so I swallowed all the anger I had and put on a happy face until, inevitably, I exploded into tears or fury, which is what happens when we deny Reality; she is not patient with that kind of crap.
One of the things I learned in this process is that Popeye was on to something. It wasn’t until I accepted who I was, rather than insisted on being someone I wasn’t, that the roiling chaos inside started to die down. And now, a year and a half later, I’m beginning to know myself, and who I truly am. I’m smart, I’m funny, I’m empathetic. I’m a dreadful housekeeper, and I have absolutely no patience. I’m a great teacher, and a terrible hair stylist. On my best day, I’m a mediocre cook. I’m impulsive and forgetful; I’m fiercely loyal. I’m brave in matters of the heart, terrified of heights. I’m a tech geek, a story wonk, a lover of afternoon naps. I’m not for everyone; I’m an acquired taste. All these things make me me, and finally, I’m gonna allow it.
And now, for the good part. Who are you?