Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Writing For Release

Have you ever created a world out of words or breathed life into a person, loved them completely and then put them through hell? You might be a writer. My writing goes online because that’s where I’m choosing to put it.  I like sharing my words because it validates who I am and forces me to stand firm in who I am, taking away any possible hiding places. I choose to not hide because hiding has always meant I’m not enough, but really, there’s more than enough from where I’m standing now.  It’s lovely here. Join me.

When I was working on my undergrad, a typical day meant I would get up at 7 to get the kids out to school.  I would finish last minute edits on my latest assignment before shooting off to class.  I’d sip coffee (and before my wheat sensitivity), enjoy an almond croissant.  I’d sit in class and tease apart ideas that started the night before in my reading.  I’d head toward home to pick up kids from school, get some housework done, hope for a short nap and start dinner.  My ex would come home and I’d run off to my evening classes with instructions on when to take dinner out of the oven.  I’d finish class and head home, hoping there was dinner left for me.  Bedtime routines would happen and I’d lay in bed and read a couple hundred pages while the ex watched t.v. until he fell asleep. I’d get up and bang out a paper or two, get in bed by 4 and start over. I think that's why I enjoy the forced flow of finance.  I thrive in going full on at a higher pace.

In between quarters, I would read a couple of novels a day, and write most of the night after my family was asleep.  I would read the Harry Potter series over and over because I love the way JK Rowling weaves a plot together.  She drops hints and each reading reveals a layer I missed the first 7 or 8 times.  Then I’ll read the Twilight Series because Stephenie Meyer makes me feel like anyone can do it, even me.  She’s great at telling a story and building suspense in a way that makes being too stupid to live sound romantic and having a stalker/jealous boyfriend the end goal that anyone could support.  I’m not going to comment on her prose, but she can sell horrible ideals and that is what makes her amazing.  Personally I’m horrible with suspense.  I’m always into instant gratification.

When my marriage fell apart it really was hard to write.  I couldn’t string together a paragraph for months.  Gaslighting made me believe my writing made me a horrible wife and mother.  I would get so involved that I would forget to eat and my kids would have to remind me that they needed food too.  It took a long time to realize my kids had another parent that was often in bed watching television while I was reading and we were both responsible for our kids. I loved my Kindle because my ex couldn’t keep track of how many books I was reading, and he couldn’t see my start and finish.  I could suspend time when I said, “at the end of this chapter.” There was a rending of a marriage and a lot of that was blamed on being into words more than I was into him.  That has been hard to reconcile.  I write meaningless fluff, that has meant something to the 600 visitors I’ve had since I started writing at the end of February.

I was talking to someone that makes me miss the craziness of writing enough that I finally put Scrivener on my laptop.  He’s great at shifting my perspective enough that I no longer feel shameless in objectifying him.  (I can almost picture you jumping around with me on that one.) He makes me want to write again, and I don’t have to change my vocabulary for him or worry that he needs change for the $5 word I just handed him.

The thing about writing is that it takes a huge imagination.  You create something out of nothing in a way that makes others see what you see.  You have to love it enough for the many edits you’ll need to not bore you and you want to know that you want to read every word because if you are bored of your writing, how can you expect your readers to care? Writers often have to take care of themselves while writing obsessively.  There’s a full work day and overtime in some cases and then we go to our writing den and exorcise our demons. Writing isn’t a job as much as a release to keep us sane.  I need my escape hatch as do most writers.  This is a place where we can recharge and clear our minds because they are going a mile a minute in several directions at all times.  It’s intense and can be overwhelming.  I love nature.  I love my feet sinking in sifting sand.  I like the feel of mud splattering on my legs, as my toes sink in dark brown sludge.  I like the feel of the sun on my bare skin and the sounds of nature reminding me that I am small and nothing is as constant as I think it is. Some writers exercise.  I find my best ideas when I’m talking to others or sweating it out.  I pull weeds. Exercise usually means I don’t have something to jot down ideas and they run away from me when I need them.  Conversations with people will remind me of a head tilt or laugh lines.  I’ll try to remember the tone of their voice or the excitement in their eyes.

I love to watch people.  I notice more details than the average person and it makes me a bit weird but only when I share what I see.  I love to watch artists draw or paint because they have an ability to put what they see on paper with obedient hands.  Personally, I can only do that with words and I’m in awe of anyone that can draw a straight line with a ruler because I really can’t.  Watching people and how they interact and figuring out what drives them is important to a writer.  We want to see if we can catch you lying and what will give you away.  We also want that one person we can trust no matter what because we need a safe place to just be. No outside pressure please. 

Sometimes I need to experience things.  That’s what online dating was about.  I wasn’t looking for something serious and I really only wanted company.  At the end of the day, I looked at the cost and it was cheaper to pay for my own meals.  I was talking to family and close friends and there was a collective sigh of relief because they saw it wasn’t for me, but they also knew me well enough to know I had to experience it in all of its craziness.  I needed to be able to write about it.

The planning in writing is something I would love to be able to shut off in life.  I’m the queen of putting the cart before the horse.  I can plan and plot out an entire relationship before I’ve even said hello.  I can see our life together and how I would fit myself around him and where I would want him to flow through me.  I keep hearing a special friend of mine reminding me, “baby steps, ma.” I’m working on that, and it has its rewards.

What do I need? A keyboard.  I type my words.  I often need music, but not always.  I will also wiggle to the beat in my seat as the words run through me.  I get it out and for the most part I will go back and edit, but with my blog that doesn’t happen often.  I’m afraid of editing out what I originally felt and that would invalidate my honesty.  Food helps too.  It might be tortilla chips and salsa.  Or bacon and eggs over medium.  I write with coffee or lemonade, but read with tea, but that’s typical and not mandatory.  When I’m writing poetry I need pen and paper and the pen usually has a backup in a different color.  Green and blue inks are my favorite.  My poetry usually only comes out when I’m not happy.  Lately I’ve been too happy to write poetry.  Give it some time and I’ll probably start penning longing love poems.  I’m sure I’ll let you know when I do. The relationships in my head are always much more fulfilling than the ones I experience.

Distracted by a Memory

Daddy's Day