It’s my birthday. And the 25th anniversary of the day my health began to decline… on my 16th birthday. My voice was never the same from that day, and it became worse and worse, until it was gone forever.
I’m surprised I lived this long. At first I thought I’d burn myself out while the flame was young and hot, because there was no life for me without singing. I sacrificed my childhood practicing and obsessing over music, and without that, I had literally nothing to offer this world. Nothing I wanted to do for work, nothing I was good at, nothing inside me that anyone would care about. I had only two beautiful features – my voice and my hair. Both were gone.
Singing was my only pipeline to Earth, the only way I could communicate my passion, or even get a hold of it. Between my anger at my losses, my shame at having nothing to offer, and my fear that I’d lost my autonomy and could never be a desirable partner… I was certain I would burn up from within, and my unfulfilled desire would consume me alive. So why not rush face first into the flame, and learn what I’m made of?
I survived the throes of addiction, voracious sexuality, and wild adventures in dangerous places. I pulled myself together over and over, only for the illness to rear its head and take everything away from me, all over again. Sometimes I thought I’d die from terrifying symptoms that easily kill people. Other times I thought I’d lose the will to fight this uphill battle with no chance to build something for myself. How could I go on, knowing all I am is a leech, dependent and incapable, forcing others to work to keep me alive? And even when I can work, it’s something replaceable, that any jackass could do. What could I bring to this world that justifies the plants and animals I eat? What excuse do I have to take and take and take, just to survive?
Yet through all this, something kept me going. It was the vision I had when I was 21, of a fantasy series. I was a terrible writer, but for many years I have worked for several hours every day, through thick and thin. Now I feel I’m honing a craft, and my passion is flowing.
I’m terrified of losing this. If my series doesn’t sell, I’ll be forced to work some job I hate, which won’t last anyway because of my health – and I’ll never have the chance to pursue writing, now that I developed a flow. But every day, I wake up and I just can’t wait to write, edit, scrutinize, or devour the next page. If only my characters can come to life, I’ll surrender my all.
On top of that – my friends, my family, and my husband have saved my life. You have all believed in me, and if you hadn’t, I might not be here today. Thank you for sticking by me through the throes of trauma and loss, sharing your own with me, and believing in me. There are no words to express how lucky I am to have such inspiring, big-hearted people in my life. I didn’t deserve a family as wonderful as mine, and yet, there it is.
I’m looking to release the first book in the series, this coming Valentine’s Day. Though I have a long way to go to be half as fluent in English as I was in the language of music, I can’t believe how much I’ve improved. It really feels like I’ve done the impossible – a miracle more fortuitous than singing through my whisper. I feel entirely grateful for every breath I take on this beautiful planet. I forged myself in the flame of suffering, and I’ll do it over and over, just for the beauty and love that makes it all worth it.