Today is a first and I'm stupidly nervous as I make the shower nearly too hot to handle and slough this weary from my bones. It's been years of my father pushing and pushing and "it would be so good for you." Kind speak for "I think you're wasting your good by not investing."
Darkness still hangs heavy when he pulls in the driveway and suddenly it's winter and he hasn't put snow tires on the van yet and we skim the highway at 60km the whole way to Mount Forest before the road clears enough to let the needle climb beyond what makes our followers (better prepared with their own tires) angry.
I ask guarded questions even though he's told one hundred different stories about the one hundred different conferences he's already attended.
Long stretches of silence and the defrost fan roaring and the sky slowly greying to a pale uncolour and me cupping my silver mug of tea, finger worrying along it's rim - doubting my ability to be anything more than a wallflower.
We arrive. We settle. I write "Alanna Rusnak" in red ink and paste it to my chest. I take my seat and poise my pen and I am a 'writer' amoung WRITERS! A pigeon amoung peacocks. A scuffed penny amoung silver dollars Oh, what would I give for a good old Rowling Invisibility Cape?!
I write because I don't know how to speak. I don't know how to sell myself. I balk at dripping arrogance and when people ask me questions I feel like I gape at them awkwardly and deliver less than inspired dribble that means nothing and looses me in their graces. I am not memorable. I am not verbally eloquent. I am not a bright shining star who can loquaciously advertise myself with persuasive argument.
No. I am the mute shadow ducked in a corner, lips sewn shut, making extra trips to the ladies room just to get away from all those real shiny people.
And they really are lovely - those shiny aliens - those whole-package people who stink of confidence and share their life story face to face with strangers and who nonchalantly slip into our basically one-sided conversation what awards they've won or what they've been short-listed for.
"And what do you write?" After they've dumped on me this resume of grandiose accomplishment and I am sweating with embarrassment because what can I say without becoming that preening monster I don't want to be.
I feel insignificant and as ugly as 5 am.
I attend three workshops - two of which are highly insightful and one of which opens my eyes to possibilities that actually seem attainable though not without investment. I'm better for it. I am being pushed. And for those few people out there who believe in me - please don't stop lest I fall. My feet are shaky and my hands are sweaty and I think maybe I have some inherent fear of success.
So here's to breaking down walls. To picking away at this shell so hard around me. Or maybe to embracing it...? I am who I was made to be - I shouldn't have to apologize for that. So I won't. I will just be. I will write because somehow it completes me. Maybe it will take me somewhere. Maybe it won't. I only know that I have things inside me that I need to say and say them I will - maybe just not to your face.
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained. - Marie Curie