I received that fortune in a fortune cookie at the end of October. It struck me at the time as profound because I was toying with the idea of NaNoWriMo. As we left the table Michael asked "aren't you going to keep that?" I said no because I'd taken a picture of it. This past Sunday, I was getting clothes sorted for laundry. As I lifted up one of Michael's hoodies, a piece of paper floated to the floor. It was that fortune. I picked it up and looked at him. "Did you keep this?" I asked. He said "yeah" and then set it on my computer. "I'm going to tape it right here to remind you to write those words." As of Monday, I had typed a total of 25,513 words. Realizing this made me want to throw up. The idea that I have put that many words all together in one space makes me dizzy. The idea that people may actually want to read those words makes me feel naked and exposed. It makes me want to crawl under my desk or hold down the delete button. What am I doing? I'm not a writer. I'm not a novelist. I have no business participating in a month of novel writing. It is indulgent and delusional. Writing the words that I have already written has been hard and forced me to remember things I would like to forget. They have dredged up the past in way that when I hear Neko Case sing that line from Magpie to the Morning about outrunning sorrow, my chest clenches. Yet every time I say I don't have 50,000 words in me, Michael assures me that I do have 50,000 words in me if not more. He tells me that I have a voice, a very distinctive voice, that people want to read. He says that I am inspiring, and that, in fact, I have no idea how inspiring that I am. And he tells me these things not to stroke my ego or to be my cheerleader. He tells me these things because he really believes that this is true. Like when he tells me I'm beautiful, he really believes that I am beautiful.
And I am still floored by this. It still makes me smack my hand against my forehead in disbelief. I realize that I lack belief. I was working on an imaging service this week that required me to mark and save many positions on one slide. Usually, after I've marked my spots, I go back to a video stage image that shows me all my marked positions. It's like checking your work, reassuring that you've marked all the correct spots. Except on this particular day, the video/stage function wasn't working properly and it didn't show my marked positions. I just had to believe that I had really clicked the right buttons to mark all the spots. I just had to believe that when I hit that start button to start the imaging process that the stage was going to move to all of those places I marked on the slide. And this. Was. So. Hard. The first two times. By the third one I was able to just walk away, accepting the fact that I either did or did not mark all the spots. Essentially I had to believe that the microscope was actually going to do what I told it to do.
It seems my lesson this week is to believe. And I don't mean just believe in any ole' thing, but to believe in myself. I do believe in fairies. I do. I do. I encourage you to do the same on this Love Thursday.