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What If I Say…

Heather Sargent is a freelance writer and mother who believes in the motivating power of coffee and deadlines. Her work has been published in various school journals and online. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College where she was an Associate Editor for The Pitkin Review and before that a BA in English Literature from Washington State University (go Cougs!). She can often be found at her desk alternating between reading, writing, and mimicking the sounds of Facebook games. Of the things she does well, knowing the day of the week is not one of them, but she always finds time for family and friends. Heather is most interested in hybrid writing and works spotlighting social justice issues as she believes them to be important for current and future generations.
What If I Say… Posted on August 7, 2019Leave a comment
Heather Sargent is a freelance writer and mother who believes in the motivating power of coffee and deadlines. Her work has been published in various school journals and online. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College where she was an Associate Editor for The Pitkin Review and before that a BA in English Literature from Washington State University (go Cougs!). She can often be found at her desk alternating between reading, writing, and mimicking the sounds of Facebook games. Of the things she does well, knowing the day of the week is not one of them, but she always finds time for family and friends. Heather is most interested in hybrid writing and works spotlighting social justice issues as she believes them to be important for current and future generations.

What if I say the very thing I am striving to become is the very thing that is destroying me? But the old version of me. The thing that keeps me up at night and demands to be birthed into the world by way of words, letters really – all pieced together in different patterns to evoke various emotions or actions, what if that thing that won’t give me rest and yet also fills me up is tearing away the old me at the same time that it is building up the new me and all of this happens in my own head.

What if I say I am afraid that this process, so delicately balanced, will get fucked up somehow and it will be my own fault?

What if I destroy myself in the process of trying to rebuild myself with hopes of pouring that process back into the world so I can reach my hand to someone else who is drowning in their own re-creation and tell them to just hang on, and when they can’t that I will hang on for them?

What if, my desire to help others in that way is like the guy who tried to help the butterfly emerge from its cocoon when he saw it struggling and he tore away the cocoon for it and in doing so sentenced the butterfly to a life with flightless wings?

What if I say that maybe we all have our own process and by its very nature it is a lone journey. If we bring someone else along on it, then we create a dynamic that isn’t organic to our own process or theirs?

What if this is what I fear also? It wouldn’t be the first time that I got in my own way and that of others with my good intentions. Which is worse: to get in our way or to be mistaken for someone who doesn’t care? For me, personally, I might say the latter, but then knowing the former includes harming someone else too and not just my own neurotic self, then I might have to say the first one.

I want to pour more light and love into this world than it has ever shown me. That is not to say it has not shown me love, I’ve seen plenty, but I’ve also been betrayed on many levels – haven’t we all? – and those betrayals I took as my own and I wore them like a scarlet letter of my own sins and not those of people who simply don’t understand me at my heart.

Ironic that those who should know me best actually know me the least – except for my husband and the kids. They are the ones who know me the best, at least most of me. The heart of my own darkness of questioning, doubt, insecurities, and just writer’s thoughts are only shared with my closest writer friends.

I think we see the world in a different way that others don’t understand. I think anyone who creates sees the world differently by necessity. The others, many of them just want to live their lives as close to normal as possible.

The problem I have when I try that is it feels inauthentic to me because I’m not creating when I’m in that space. And I’m not creating there because that is not a space that allows for creating in the way where you have to mine your own difficult experiences for that one nugget of truth that you want to build on or explore or simply just hold up and examine. That one little shard that nearly destroyed you, that’s the one you want to find to create the most visceral experience to share with someone else.

When that happens, when someone really gets what you have done, what you have created, when it has spoken to them in some way, that creates a connection, a very human connection, that makes all the rest worth it.

Heather Sargent is a freelance writer and mother who believes in the motivating power of coffee and deadlines. Her work has been published in various school journals and online. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College where she was an Associate Editor for The Pitkin Review and before that a BA in English Literature from Washington State University (go Cougs!). She can often be found at her desk alternating between reading, writing, and mimicking the sounds of Facebook games. Of the things she does well, knowing the day of the week is not one of them, but she always finds time for family and friends. Heather is most interested in hybrid writing and works spotlighting social justice issues as she believes them to be important for current and future generations.

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