“Fragile” is a good way to describe this feeling. “Fragile,” and “vulnerable” and “a little skittish,” because my book is in the world for real now. It is out there and physical and a thing to pick up and touch and look at, and people are reading itâ€”some people, anyway. Which means theyâ€™re forming opinions, and I have no control over it. I have no control over what anyone thinks of my book, or of the narrator or of the author or anything at all.
But then, when have I ever had control over that? No one has control over thatâ€”Beyonceâ€™s publicist can try to pull as many photos of her off the internet as she likes, but we have still all formed our opinions (which go something like, â€œEven the most utterly stunning human on earth sometimes makes funny faces! Well, that is comforting. Man, sheâ€™s gorgeous. Ugh. Shut up, Beyonce. No wait, let me kiss you on your perfect face.â€).
Basically, I want to be Beyonce. Basically, it is a feeling of deep unfairness that I am not Beyonce, and a sadness I will cradle in my arms and take to my grave. And as my flesh dissolves and my bones rattle down into dust I will still never be Beyonce, even after I merge with the Infinite, because Beyonce is even awesomer than the Infinite.
Itâ€™s complicated, these feelings. Itâ€™s complicated, writing a book. Itâ€™s rad, of course. Iâ€™m thrilled of course. I will always add those caveats and asidesâ€”I will always rush to assure you that Iâ€™m grateful for this opportunity and proud of this accomplishment and go me, because Iâ€™m worried about appearing ungrateful (because thatâ€™s just another vulnerability I expose, if you think Iâ€™m whining, if you want me to shut up about my diamond shoes being too tight.). I am glad and I am scared and there is so much I regret about it. About admitting my feelings. About being ridiculous. About being ridiculous and vulnerable about being ridiculous and vulnerable. Ridiculousness all the way down, really. Vicious cycle. You know.
I donâ€™t deal well with ambiguity. This feels like limbo. I am holding my breath, and waiting. The book is out there and thereâ€™s this rushing sound in my ears as I sit and hope that people like it (me) and hope I didnâ€™t make a mistake, and hope itâ€™s not going to hurt when you say itâ€™s not you, itâ€™s me (knowing it will hurt more than I expect, because this is pure ego and pure id and pure, undiluted, fairly stupid, what-was-I-thinking vulnerability). Why did I do this?
And it’s a large question that burrows down deep and becomes, Why did I do anything? Why did I say that, do that, think that, text that, hope that, wonder if. Why can’t I just stop? Insidious. Very un-Beyonce like. She is not on a beach in Ibiza with Jay-Z fretting about dumb things she might have said. She doesn’t care. She is Beyonce, bitches.
I think it’s universal, this fear and trembling and hand-wringing. I think I am not special. I remember that, and I know it; and yet, this is harder than I expected it to be. It is thrilling and terrifying and itâ€™s awful, because I am stupidly fragile, and Iâ€™m ridiculously vulnerable, and these are uncomfortable feelings that I am trying to purge. I am trying to tuck in all my loose parts and frayed edges and sparking nerves (as you can tell by this post here, clearly that is working super well) and I am trying to breathe in my nose and out my mouth (or is it supposed to be the other way around?). I am trying to tie up all the loose ends that leave me anxious and open and exposed. I am trying to confess and purge here. I am trying to be enough, enough and complete and whole and satisfied. I am trying not to eat a cake. I am trying not to lose my shit.
I will be fineâ€”itâ€™s late-night anxiety, itâ€™s a long week, itâ€™s feeling tired and feeling like a fool. Itâ€™s wanting to succeed. Itâ€™s wanting to not fail. It’s wanting to not hurt. Itâ€™s wanting to be Beyonce.