I listened to the quiet. It was summer and my children lay in blissful slumber. I slowly got up and walked to the bathroom. Stopping in front of the mirror I looked at the woman before me. “Who are you?” I thought, leaning closer to get a better look. “Who are you?” I asked out loud this time. The sleepy face in the mirror stared back at me confused.
I looked down at the counter at the photos I had found the night before. Staring up at me was a fresh faced eighteen year old. “Who are you?” I asked the girl in the photo. She smiled, her hair perfect, skin flawless, eyes full of expectation. Aspirations of becoming a famous writer sought after by every agent in the publishing industry flooded through my mind. I looked back at the woman standing in the bathroom mirror and back at the girl in the picture. Were they the same person? Twenty-five years had changed everything. The woman in the mirror had hair sprinkled with gray….highlights, she jokingly told her friends. Freckles covered her face from sun exposure. Eyes now surrounded by little creases, looked very tired. Weight gain from pregnancies had not disappeared as hoped, and her face had become rounder. “Who are you” I asked her once again, agitated that no answer came. Suddenly I heard a voice “You don’t know either, huh?” Did I say that? Did she say that?
Where was that girl in the picture from twenty five years ago? Marriage, babies, potty training, laundry, ball practices, school projects, dinners, the list was endless. It had been years since I had sat down to put words on paper. “When did you get so old and fat?” I asked her. She frowned this time. Then I heard the words “Are you writing?”
Tears filled my eyes. Memories of dreams, tucked deep in my heart came flooding back. A dream that might not be worth removing and dusting off, I thought. “Tend your dreams” the words of a writer friend rang in my ears.
Then, as if someone was standing next to me, I heard “Dana, your real excuse is fear. Fear that you won’t be good enough, fear that you will fail.” This was too much, I backed up and sat down on the side of the tub and began to cry. I was afraid. Afraid that it was just one of those dreams never realized. The voice returned “What are you going to do about it?” I sat there for some time thinking, then from somewhere deep within, a renewed passion began to stir and a renewed strength found its voice and declared “I am going to write. Good or bad, I am going to write. Talent or not, I am going to write. Published or not, I am going to write.”
Joy bubbled up from somewhere. I stood and looked at the woman in the mirror. There was new sparkle in her eyes, her cheeks were flushed and she had a smile on her face. Walking closer to the mirror, I looked intently at her and introduced myself, “Hello, I’m Dana and I am a writer.”