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note to self: i’ll be there for you, always

written june 6, 2021. Photo by Kristine Cinate on Unsplash I have always looked for myself in other people. I think the idea was that they would somehow hold the pieces of me that I felt were missing. That maybe, if I wrapped my identity up in theirs enough, we would somehow make a whole person. It's not healthy to live like this, but I did it anyway — burning through relationships and searching for something I couldn't quite name. It was never enough, not to be myself, but it was never enough to latch my identity to other people, either. I got close, several times — I thought I had reached the pinnacle of self discovery. I thought I had completed myself. But in the end, relying on other people to help build yourself is never a viable way to do things. It's only recently that I've started to become comfortable with the idea of being enough, as I am, on my own. Several years ago, in this same position, I would have searched for another person to attach my identity onto,

on coming home to yourself

when I was sixteen, I started a novel called Because I'm Irish. it was completely unexpected - started on a dare between a friend and me. an inside joke quickly blossomed into something out of my control. characters and a full plot bloomed, becoming something that brought me laughter and joy as I wrote it. it was never intended to become anything serious but somewhere along the line the story took root in my heart, and it stayed for ten years, all the way up until November 2022, when I decided to rewrite it for the third time.

the decision didn't come immediately. it started out as a tiny seed, the inklings of missing the story and wondering if I could revive it. then my friend Caroline told me she was thinking of rewriting the novel that is irrevocably linked to BCII in many ways, and I thought... what if I wrote mine, too? still, the doubt crept in. at first I felt kind of stupid. I'm twenty-six years old, I told myself (or rather, my inner critic did). shouldn't I leave this story behind? the story is kind of silly, and isn't it stupid to rehash the past? but the thought of not doing it also made me sick. this story and these characters had grounded me, brought me joy when little else did, been a light in some of my hardest moments. it had brought me some of my best friends, not only the characters themselves but in real life too, giving us something to bond over and giving me some of my favorite story lines between co-writers. in the end, my dad had to give me a pep talk, tell me that it wasn't stupid to continue to follow the story of my heart. and so, for NaNoWriMo 2022, I embarked once again to New York City, to a tour bus, to the place I have called home so many times over the years.

I worried, initially, that I wouldn't be able to find my way back. that it had been too long, that the characters had left me. but it was just like riding a bike - the characters came back. I actually don't think they'd ever left. they were waiting for me all along, and they'd grown right along with me, maturing and aging just the same. new plot lines sprung up and the words flowed. what took me 5,000 words to say in the second draft took me 20,000 in this one. I had so much more to say. so much more to explore. the world felt bigger, more expansive, and I couldn't wait to explore it all, to see what these characters and this story had in store for me this time. there was so much gold to mine, and I was ready, holding my pickaxe.

November came and went, leaving me with 54,000 words, and I wasn't anywhere near done with the story. I've continued to write, chipping away every few days - at least once a week if I can - and I currently have 81k. I'll continue until the story is done, no matter how big the wordcount is, and weed out the excess later. I'm just enjoying the ride right now, letting the characters direct my path. I trust them - they know the way. 

the feeling and experience rewriting this novel has given me has been incredible, and I'm so grateful I've gotten a third chance at this story that means so much to me. it feels like coming home to a place and people I love so dearly. it feels like coming home to myself. I won't take it for granted, and I hope I can let this feeling last for a long time. I'll write this story over and over again, as long as it takes, because when a story grabs you by the heart, you take it by the hand and don't let go. and I don't plan to.


  1. That's wonderful. I hope to get to read your novel someday. And it's wonderful that someone else is still posting in the blogsphere - I just found my way back here after many years.

  2. Oops, didn't mean for that to be anon. Its me:)


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