Write Your Own Story
“Nobody cries at the end of the movie about a guy who wants a volvo.” -Donald Miller from “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” (the current book I’m reading)
My version: “Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a girl who wants a minivan.”
I failed to write my own story…at least one that was interesting. I was trying to stuff myself in a mold that I didn’t fit in. Writing what I thought was supposed to be my story…the supposed perfect suburban lifestyle.
My story went something like this: Girl goes to college. Girl meets good boy. Girl gets married in church. Girl has babies. Girl stays home to care for babies while boy seeks corporate success. Girl gets minivan. Girl wears sensible shoes. The End.
Boy leaves girl. The Beginning.
Here’s an idea I have for the opening segment of my book…
A Camera is panning Washington DC from above. There’s a man coming home from a long overseas business trip in a plane wringing his hands…looking out the window…he sees the US Capital Building, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial…then he gets in a town car…travels west out of the city through traffic into beautiful suburbia with groomed landscaping, green grass, a swimming pool crowded with families. The car stops at a brick home with blue shutters, an American Flag by the front door, red and white Geraniums flanking the front door in red pots. Inside there’s a woman making dinner while holding a newborn baby girl, two other children are dancing around her excited for Daddy to come home…but he’s late…
The woman puts the kids to bed and leaves dinner waiting on the table. The man finally walks in and looks desheveled. Something is very wrong. He eats dinner, sits on the couch next to his wife and finally gets the courage to spit it out, “I’m leaving you.”
“Tonight?” She says.
The man, “Yes”
“Well we’re out of milk.” She says.
That woman was me.
What a ridiculous thing to say, but practical considering at the time I had a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 8 week old baby asleep upstairs. I was so blindsided and shocked that’s the only thing that came out of my mouth. He left to get milk. I called my best friend and fell to the floor screaming. I woke up the baby.
My friend took me upstairs to bed, I kept screaming in my pillow, she picked up my baby, and waited by the front door for him to come home. She took the milk while holding my baby swaddled in a pink blanket, and said to him, “Don’t make it hard on her, just leave.”
He called out to me…I didn’t answer…he left. And that’s where my story really begins.
How did I get myself into this? My therapist describes it as a car accident…you don’t see it coming, and when it happens you can’t drive yourself crazy saying if only I had left 5 minutes earlier…it just happens. It’s how you move on that matters.
I think I was scared of writing my own story. I was young when I got married. I was scared of getting and finding a journalism job right out of college. I was scared of living life on my own. I didn’t know I could write my own story.
Now I know… I’m writing… and chucking the sensible shoes for platform wedges. :-)
“Life is pure adventure…the sooner we realize that we are able to treat life as art.” - Maya Angelou