Waiting: Or Why I Might Need a Sedative

So, waiting.

I’ve never been good at it.

And this week? I’ve been terrible at it.

I’m almost twenty-five. I’m a mother. I’ve endured thirty hours of labor, 20+ hour-long plane rides, lines at Disneyland, and the year-long gaps between Harry Potter books. I should be good at this by now.

But this week? Not so much.

So I have that one submission still out. The one with the Amazing Agent that responded while I was in Big Sur? Yeah. She still has a month left before I can expect a reply. I’ve been pretty good about handling that. But last Sunday, I got another email. This one from the Fantabulous Agent I met in Big Sur. The one that gave me amazing edits, the one I was SO NERVOUS to query a week or so ago. But, I edited furiously, sipped a glass of wine, paced in front of Ross’s family’s gorgeous wood-burning fireplace as he read (and re-read, and re-read again) the email to me, and then… I sent the query.

And last Sunday, she replied.

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She wanted the whole manuscript.

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So of course I freaked out, ran around, cried out WELL OBVIOUSLY I CAN’T WORK OUT OR SHOWER TODAY, and then spent the rest of the day making strange contortions with my limbs and curling up into the fetal position.Now. As a refresher. She will possibly, probably, more-than-likely say “pass”.I will, of course, then lie on my bed for hours and proclaim that my life is over and that I’m a talentless lump of a human being and that I MIGHT AS WELL DIE. This will be funny and sad to everyone else, as I will be throwing this pity party on my ridiculously comfortable bed that I sleep on rent-free, next to the kitchen that is fully stocked with food, under the roof that keeps me dry and safe, beneath the slightly amused gaze of my wonderful husband and the confused stare of my healthy, beautiful daughter.I will then realize again how blessed I am, wipe the tearsand snot from my face, and crawl over to my computer. I’ll slink into my chair and open my laptop, my face crumpling into pathetic sobs as I open up a fresh word document to start novel #3. Then I’ll slap myself around a couple oftimes.

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Then I’ll start writing again.

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And in a few months, I’ll start this process all over.

And at some point, if I’m persistent enough, if I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, if I’m the Donkey to life’s Shrek, SOMEONE WILL LOVE ME, DAMNIT, AND I WILL BE AN AUTHOR.

But. until all this can happen, I have to wait.

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I thought it would be easy. A week off sounded lovely. I’ll just chill out, clean up, do some laundry, and prep for next semester (which is going to be RIDICULOUS, btw. Two grad schools at once, 80 miles apart, full course loads at both, 5 month-old baby, husband in PhD program… I thought Kick-Ass Fall was tough? Everyone, meet Five-Finger-Death-Punch-Spring. More blog posts and hysterics to follow).Though this all sounded nice, I’ve done very little of…any of those things.It’s more like…Pull the sheets halfway up the bed.Check email.Finish pulling up the sheets. Bed made. Pat self on the back for being productive and not checking email for a whole 30 seconds.Reward self by checking email.Change a diaper. Ask Aryn how it feels to have a crazy mom. Forget about email for a couple of minutes because that blue-eyed little butterball is so freakin’ cute.Set her down and make coffee. Realize it’s my third cup in an hour and the caffeine is not helping the situation.Ignore common sense and check email once more….and that’s been um… the past week. I need to get out of this cycle, people.I need to go back to school. I need to drive and crank some music, go to the Starbucks where I saw Aaron Eckhart that one time, head to campus, find a parking spot 7 MILES AWAY FROM MAIN CAMPUS and, after WALKING MY SORRY A** TO THE CAC –  have that moment where I go, “Oh! I totes forgot that I should check my email!”I NEED TO FORGET MY EMAIL FOR A WHILE. MY SANITY CAN’T TAKE IT IF I DON’T. THIS AS EVIDENCED BY THE FACT THAT I CAN’T SEEM TO STOP WRITING IN ALL CAPS.The point? Waiting. It’s hard. But there’s something else.I’m freaking excited. Even if this all falls apart (and will, Realistic Katie chimes in),

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…it’s wonderful to be elated about something. I don’t know if I’ll ever be good at waiting; I don’t know if anyone ever is. Maybe we all just get better at hiding the crazy.But maybe?Maybe I don’t want to be good at it. I think about all the times in my life when I was “good” at waiting. When I held on like crazy to the moment I was in and cringed when I had to let it go. In sixth grade, when the severe anxiety issues I struggled with were just beginning to coil around my life. I dreaded school to the point where it made me physically ill. I would lie in bed at night, snapping my fingers at 10-second intervals to avoid falling asleep. I knew if I fell asleep, it would be morning and I would have to get ready for school. I had no problem waiting, then.The night before we put my dog down. I clung to every moment, looking into his eyes and committing every detail of his old, tired face to memory. I couldn’t sleep. I had no problem waiting, then. The day my best friend walked down the aisle without me. I watched her glide toward her new life, knowing that when she reached the front of the church, we would probably never speak again.I had no problem waiting, then. But this? This new, sparkly bit of thrill that has me flitting around like a woodland fairy on crack? It’s the opposite of waiting. It’s me bouncing on the diving board of life, waiting to jump in. Because life should be feverish, sometimes. I don’t want to wait. I thought this week would teach me about maturity. I thought by the end of it, I’d be a wise old Grandmother Willow type, giving sage advice about the virtue of stillness or some fortune cookie (noun) like that.

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Here’s my advice: be impatient, in the way that impatience can be excitement. Anticipation.

It’s something that some people would tell me has no place in adulthood. I brought it along, anyway – tucked into my suitcase and carrie it across the threshold between Katie Koo and Katharyn Ruth Blair Lisman. And I’m so glad, because I’ve missed this feeling.

I had this feeling when I was a kid in mismatched pajamas and thick glasses, standing in the hallway with my sister at 3 am on Christmas. Hannah and I were too hopped up to stay in bed, but too respectful of our parent’s rules to even peek around the hallway’s curve to take a look at the glowing tree and Santa’s loot. And I was excited and impatient.

The nights before my family’s annual Disneyland trips in the Fall. Bible studies. Family vacations. I was bouncing up and down. Sleepless, restless, giggly.

Somewhere in the whirlwind of high school, applications, changing majors, all-nighters, acceptances, rejections (of the professional and personal variety), I’d lost the wonder of impatience. I know that seems like a weird thing to say. But if you’d gone in the complete opposite direction, as I had, you’d understand. That little girl who was clawing to get at life gave way to a young woman who was filled with a patient, slow-going dread. Eyes opening like they were weighted, chest moving slowly at the thought of another day at the grind.

After experiencing the two extremes, excuse me as I sing with joy at the revival of impatience in my life.

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Yes, I’m losing my marbles and refreshing my inbox every fifteen minutes. Yes, I’m doing some pretty unhealthy Twitter-stalking. Yes, I’ve hidden under my covers (more than once), only to be coaxed out by Ross wafting coffee fumes at me. But I am so thankful for this. I love this eagerness, even if it only lets me down at the end. I’m thankful for impatience. I’m thankful for a life that makes me exhilarated, and makes my heart race – that takes me high enough that I fear the fall. I’m just starting to realize that I can keep waiting for the “mature” me to arrive. But I’ll always be…me. And “mature” and “me” seem more and more to be mutually exclusive.I’ll take it.

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