2 days to go. 365 days in 2022 and we have lived/survived/flourished within 363 of them. 363 days of good and hard and exciting and boring. Some moments of feeling insufficient and others of feeling on top of the world. Most moments falling somewhere in between the two. Another 12 months, another four seasons, another calendar year, all behind us BUT also all ahead.
One of the biggest questions I’m asking myself going into 2023 is, what do I write? Yes, I’m still working on my memoir but what else? How do I expand my community and my reach as a writer? Common advice is to write what you know but, what I know best, what I know most intimately, what I am constantly failing and succeeding at every day, is motherhood. And writing about that authentically feels tricky. Because when I write about that, I divulge my children’s worlds—their stories, their struggles, their successes—and, as they get older, it just doesn’t feel right.
Don’t get me wrong…I want to. I want to detail the moments of being a parent that were so far from my radar as I sat with my hands resting on my growing belly. I want to detail them so that other parents feel less alone. So that we can band together and learn how to not only better encourage our youth to cope and grow but to better equip the adults to cope and understand. But I can’t do that without feeling like I’m serving my children up on a silver platter.
Because it’s not about the daily trenches of lunches, laundry, and whether the dogs have been fed or the cars need gas. The real struggles of being a parent are in the emotional and physical challenges that my kids face. Challenges that will shape their lives. And my motherhood is so tightly intertwined with their childhood that no amount of magnification could find a place to separate one from the other enough that I could share with the amount of authenticity that I strive for.
When I consider pitching articles to different online platforms about parenting topics that resonate with me, I think about how it would have felt if my mother shared what it was like to parent me as I grew through my most difficult stages of adolescence. How I would have felt knowing that my depression, anxiety, inability to get out of bed, and dropping out of school for a year helped her to get published. Today, at 35 years old, I wouldn’t be bothered if she documented those challenges from her perspective. But 10-year-old-to-25-year-old Codi would not have handled it well—in a lot of moments, wasn’t capable of handling it at all. And that is what stops me from writing what I know best. There will always be an element of sacrifice in being a parent and, for me, that sacrifice hits me in my most creative places.
So, I refrain. And I am left wondering, what do I write? The real answer is that I don’t know. Maybe I turn to fiction and channel my observations of life and those I love into stories. Into characters who blend reality with imagination so that, hopefully, the real person becomes unrecognizable. Maybe I go after the adults in my life and write about them (only kidding. Sort of). Or maybe I just take it one day and one word at a time.
What I do know about this year’s transition from day 365 to day 1, is that I will be with the people that mean the most to me. By Monday my introverted side will be more than happy to spend the day at home taking down Christmas decorations, reading on the couch, and maybe even putting some words to paper.
Whether you’re reading this in 2022 or you’ve stumbled upon it in 2023, my wish for you is the same. I hope you find fulfillment in the things you enjoy and can successfully navigate the ups and downs of everything that comes along with another 365 days. Happy New Year!