I started out writing a book about a girl four years ago. For three years, the landscape of the story kept changing. First it was in an all-white room, then it was in a Georgian house. After that it became a train station. All through those changing landscapes, one thing remained the same—the girl. She came in different forms, under different names at different ages, but regardless of whether she was Audrey, or Martha, or Celeste, regardless of whether she had dark hair or light hair, whether she was tall or not-so-tall, she was always the same girl. She was me. And her story is my story, only it was told as if it wasn’t.
In the three years that I tried to write that book—and I really did try—there were many revisions, many abandoned attempts, many detours and side-tracks that led me down many dead ends, and brought me more frustration than fulfillment. But I kept on. I kept on only because I knew I had to, because there is something inside me that would not let it go. In trying to write the book, I continued to learn more and discover new things about myself—revelations and deeper understanding that wouldn’t have come had I not persisted down that path. It is true what they say: We teach that we most need to learn. And for me, the thing I needed to learn most was to be happy despite an unhappy childhood, despite many years of feeling inadequate, and despite all my broken relationships.
I found my answer in a meeting room in the Hilton Hotel near Philadelphia Airport in June 2011. It was at an author’s gathering organized by Steve Harrison on Jack Canfield day. It was in that room, on that day that I realized that neither Audrey, nor Martha, nor Celeste could tell my story. Only I can. And even though it means opening the doors of my closet and baring my skeletons to the world, it was the only way I could share what I have learned for myself with others.
I’m no Nietszche or Kierkegaard, neither am I the Dalai Lama or Eckhart Tolle, but what I know about finding happiness, what I know to hold true for me came from my own experience of life, from my learning of the teachings that life offered in the form of opportunities, people and events. When I look back on the past five years, I sometimes think to myself, “I wish someone had told me all that when I was growing up. It would’ve saved me from twelve long years of depression.” And as soon as that thought came to my mind, I immediately dismiss it and think to myself, “If I had my time over, I wouldn’t change a single thing.” Because the truth is, if it wasn’t for everything that I have experienced in my life, I would not have the knowledge and the understanding I have today, I would not have the same deep appreciation I do now for what it is like to be happy.
I’m putting the final touches to the manuscript before it is ready for public viewing. In the mean time, go here to read an excerpt from Chapter 6 that I have shared on my blog at The Dirty 30s Club.
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