because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

This Is My Becoming

I am waiting.

I am waiting for this book. The book that has had me raw and embarrassed, in so very many ways.

It’s my most flawed version, the one in Becoming. The story is personal, and humiliating, and upsetting. And I think that’s why I’ve clung to the details for as long as I could. My publisher would email: so, when do you want to do the big cover reveal, Laura? And I’d recoil at my screen, folding into myself, thinking, not yet. Do not make me share it yet. Let’s not tell people they can pre-order it, or read more about it, just now. Let this story belong to me for just a wee while longer.

People – friends, family, readers who I have met, and who I haven’t - are going to know deeply personal, shameful, and upsetting moments of my life, and only now is that truly sinking in. I wrote myself out of a debilitating heartbreak and into liking myself, I think for the first time ever, when I worked on it. I like myself because of what happens in this book, not in spite of it. And yet, I am afraid to put it on the shelves.

It’s like I only just got the memo that this is really happening.

There are things my best friends do not know in there. Things my parents do not know. Most certainly, things strangers do not know. I get praised in my inbox for being truthful here on this blog, but it’s easy to paint a wistful picture with evocative language and a dollop of humour in eight hundred words. In eight hundred words my mirrors deflect truth and rearrange it into something I can share on Facebook. The book is… different.

There will be questions. My mother will cry, of that I am sure. She’ll call me and say, “I just didn’t know… I didn’t know.” But that’s the point. Nobody did. I didn’t even know how sad I was.

It’s explicit, too. It’s my sex life, in black and white. I had to tell the whole truth. Had to look what happened dead in the eye and refuse to flinch. The whole early part of this year, after finishing the edits and copyedits and immersing myself in the world where I was rootless and so at odds with myself, I was like an open wound. I lived the story of my becoming twice, and have been changed by writing about it. I wrote BECOMING, and sort of, became.

I do not want to be alone in this. Thank goodness that I know I am not.

Surviving the aftermath of writing my story was made bearable, easier, because twelve women talked to me via Skype about their becoming. I’ve put it together as a podcast, launching April 1st, and then every Friday thereafter. We talk about becoming through single parenting, body image, books, sexual liberation, memoir writing, and mastering personal finance. We discuss depression and setting up businesses and finding a sense of self at work. Because becoming, it takes so many different forms. And my biggest lesson from talking with others? Becoming never stops.

My hope for this book is this: that I can tell my story of becoming, and that you’ll listen to the narratives of twelve badass women, and then? Then that you’ll submit your own words of becoming to me, via email, so I can host them here on Superlatively Rude. If you hashtag on social I’ll collate Instas and Tweets for occasional posts, too – use #thisismybecoming for everything from learning how to cook eggs to knowing how to stop replying to post-midnight texts from the guy who only ever gets in touch when he’s sad and drunk. Tell us everything about stepping into your best self. Truly, I want to know. A lot of us do. A lot of us need you to be brave, so that we might be braver, too. That's how I came to be ready to talk about the book properly.

I’m ready, now, because other women shared their ideas. I’m ready to say hey! You can pre-order it here! LOOK! THAT IS MY NAME ON FUCKING AMAZON!!!!! Are you ready to see the cover, then? Because I feel bold enough to share it. Because other women have become, too...

It's pink! The cover is this beautiful soft-to-the-touch finish and the hardback has an excerpt on the back, and the blurb on the inner flap, and not one single facet of it is anything but 200% ME. Even the font, for the text! I got a say on everything. I didn't think this could be any more personal, and then I got input on goddamn spacing. I see myself in this book, inside and out. I'm learning to own that.

(If you’re thinking of buying it, please do pre-order. The more pre-orders a book has, the more likely other booksellers will stock it, in actual bookshops, so it’s really helpful. You don’t get charged until June 2nd, when it comes out, so really you could pre-order like, 5 copies. Ten!)

Writing 88,000 words is the hardest thing I have ever done. It will be a long time before I write another book. This big pink hardback is my soul, and my biggest leap of faith is trusting myself to know that the truth of others will meet my own. That we’re all in the messy business of humanness together. That a woman doesn't need to shy away from how she came to be who she is, even if she came to be who she is through bad anal sex and eighteen-years olds and hanging out in an Italian convent. Even if her story is one of humiliation and desperation and emotion sickness. Pushing people away. Making unhealthy choices. Fucking up, over and over and over.

I'm ready, slowly, slowly, to show this becoming to the world.

June 2nd, baby. I'm coming for you. Proudly.
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