I am currently reading No Place Like Home: A memoir in 39 apartments by Brooke Berman. It’s about a young woman who moves from the Midwest to the Big Apple to become a playwright/artist. For her, life is a struggle. A 2pac scenario of tryin’ to make a dollar out of fifteen cents and stay afloat in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I admire the writer’s frank, honest and unapologetic approach to telling her own story about getting raped, going to therapy, struggling to understand her relationship to her mother, her relationship to herself, and to this idea of finding a home- of belonging somewhere. Ultimately, despite many obstacles, this tale is one of hope about realizing her dream of being a self-sufficient playwright. I especially admire this openness because when others inquire about the book, I can feel their instant judgment of this gypsy woman. They hear 39 apartments and their eyes roll back as if to say, “What kind of life is that?” This is before any other bits of the story are revealed and those are the human bits of the story that connects us all to a deeper understanding of self and others.
In turn, my inner warrior churns and I get defensive.
I’ve never even seen a Brooke Berman play, it’s not because I’m a devout fan of hers, but the lack of compassion and extraordinary amounts of judgment in our society is disheartening to me. In that other person’s eye roll I see a reflection of what I’m up against as a young aspiring novelist whose story is stuck in her throat, almost ready to come out and yet stuck. Its fear that is keeping it inside of me, a fear of receiving a similar reception of eye rolls and judgements before a story is even rendered. Finally, this internal struggle is becoming laughable to me. Why does their judgment matter? Why do I care if others judge me or my characters or my book? Let them. And in this moment I feel a surge of warrior juice pump through my veins and slightly puff up my chest as I think, “Yes Sir-ee Bob” , I am realizing this dream. I am writing my novel and when it’s in my hands in print the only person I will have to answer to is myself. Facing my own eyes in the mirror, answering my own set of qualifying questions, “Did I give it straight? Did I write it honest and with humor/love in my heart? Did I not hold back, not squirm from the uncomfortable but instead dig deep into those grey dark sections and write without fear?” It is my intention, a Warrior Princess promise if you will, to answer yes to all the above questions with a smile on my lips.
Shedding my skin,
A Warrior Princess