“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 it—some people, anyway. Which means they’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 that—Beyonce’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, “Even the most utterly stunning human on earth sometimes makes funny faces! Well, that is comforting. Man, she’s gorgeous. Ugh. Shut up, Beyonce. No wait, let me kiss you on your perfect face.”).
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.
It’s complicated, these feelings. It’s complicated, writing a book. It’s rad, of course. I’m thrilled of course. I will always add those caveats and asides—I will always rush to assure you that I’m grateful for this opportunity and proud of this accomplishment and go me, because I’m worried about appearing ungrateful (because that’s just another vulnerability I expose, if you think I’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 don’t deal well with ambiguity. This feels like limbo. I am holding my breath, and waiting. The book is out there and there’s this rushing sound in my ears as I sit and hope that people like it (me) and hope I didn’t make a mistake, and hope it’s not going to hurt when you say it’s not you, it’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 it’s awful, because I am stupidly fragile, and I’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 fine—it’s late-night anxiety, it’s a long week, it’s feeling tired and feeling like a fool. It’s wanting to succeed. It’s wanting to not fail. It’s wanting to not hurt. It’s wanting to be Beyonce.