I’m in a funk. A bluesy, what-is-my-problem, watching Vampire Diaries (Don’t judge. The storytelling and hotness are a great distraction) reruns funk. One evening over wine and a lot of food (as these things go) a good friend told me, “It’s completely normal to feel depressed after finishing a book.” And the guilt that had begun to build a home on my shoulders sighed. When my friend finished her thesis a professor gave her that insight and as she imparted it, I felt relieved, an answer to my emptiness. I love pinpointing problems. It’s almost as good as my fall TV shows returning. Holla Fringe and Parks & Rec!
The book is all I’ve been doing for 2 years. Off and on. On and off. You know. You’ve heard me going on and on about it here. I’m worried you’re sick of it. Shut up already. We know you’re writing a book. Truthfully, I was tired of me too. Talking, writing, thinking about the book. The book, the book, the book.
It was/is my purpose, my dream, my job. It crept into everything. While playing a game of Uno with my kids, a teachable moment presented itself as Annie told me about something that happened at school. I can’t remember this valuable lesson, but my daughter looked up from her cards and said, “You should write a book about it,” delivered perfectly with sarcasm. That’s my girl.
I traveled back in time, exploring and defining everything I felt as the life I knew was ripped from me. So, it made sense that I crashed just a little after revising for the hundredth time and then finally, finally sending it to my publisher.
I needed a break after completing the manuscript, but I couldn’t understand the queasiness in my belly, the lack of logic. I thought I should feel good, satisfied. To celebrate I bought tequila, made margaritas, and indulged in a novel someone else wrote. Then, I disconnected. Much like after I gave birth to Annie. I waited for elation, for the rush that’s supposed to come when you have a baby. I loved her, but I felt responsible, anxious. Not happy, not matching the posters on the hospital walls of contented mothers breastfeeding their newborns. I realized I have the post-book blues.
After all these years I’m still learning how to own my feelings, therapy-speak for ‘be honest’. Hiding is easier than admitting I have a problem. Saying it out loud, acknowledging that vacant flashes bright and neon lessens the burden. I’m empty, I’m afraid, I’m lost. It feels good to tell the truth even if it isn’t the truth we want. Sometimes we don’t know the truth and until we shed light on it, hold it up, we’re stuck. (I didn’t know until a friend pointed it out.) The truth doesn’t always offer a way out, but it gives us a way through.