Spread out in my usual spot, I took up two seats at the end of the long 8-seat pine-colored wooden table at Starbucks. My body faced east towards the glass door so I could view the palm trees and ocean while working.
Per my editor’s advice, I needed to add more “day in the life” details at the beginning of my book. Specifically about my marriage, how it ended in divorce, and the effects the divorce had on me during a particularly challenging time. It was time to deep dive back into that scene and the accompanying emotions I felt at the time so that I could help the reader experience those feelings through my written word.
Even though I had been writing for two hours and everything I needed was already lying in front of me, exactly the way I like it, all of a sudden I had to adjust it.
My teacup and water mug sat in front of me, slightly off to the right. I shifted them to perfectly position the lid openings to face towards me so that I could quickly drink next time I picked them up.
Then I straightened the paper stack to the left of me to make sure the pile was nice and neat. Feeling reasonably satisfied with the orderliness of those items, I grabbed my phone. I clicked on the email icon to check my inbox for the umpteenth time as if I were expecting something important (but I was not).
Next, I clicked to check Facebook notifications.
That’s when I noticed my body fidgeting on the chair and felt a stirring sensation inside my torso.
I laughed out loud and thought, this is precisely why I go to Starbucks to write. If I were at home, suddenly it would be super important to clean the grout between the bathroom floor tiles with a toothbrush or sweep up the dirt and cobwebs from behind the washing machine.
Mind you, I don’t even like to clean.
Anything to avoid feeling my emotions… That is until I caught myself and reminded myself that “I am safe” and “it’s okay to feel.”
As I took a deep breath in, I looked at the message on my mug:
“She believed she could so she did,”
I put my attention back on the paper in front of me and dug in, allowing myself to feel.
Tears welled up in my eyes, and my stomach felt topsy-turvy. With another deep breath, I leaned in to feel the guilt, shame, and sorrow that paired with the thought ‘I am an inadequate single-mom.’ They were all buried deep within me and now bubbling up for me to acknowledge.
Surely my inadequacy had a negative effect on my son I thought.
My throat tightened up.
I continued writing.
Although I do know that I did the best I could at that time and I was far from an inadequate mom, I had to grapple with the thoughts and feelings that I used to have so I could pull the reader in to feel them with me.
And then I let them go of them once and for all.
Subsequently, I moved on to the next story to do the same.
Read book update #9 . . . where I share how I felt and processed emotions while working on developmental edits.
There are several more stories waiting for me to dig in and feel the well-hidden emotions. I am working on a deadline, so I will write and share more with you when I am able. In the meantime, any love you could send my way is most appreciated.
P.S. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see fun photos from my writing break adventures and ocean time connections.