Writing through it all
Please join me in welcoming guest blogger, Jessica Scott.
I have to say, when I was first asked to write for this event, I was honored. How cool that someone wanted me to say something that people would read in support of a charity event.
And then panic set in. Not full blown, I’ve left my child in a car panic (no I have not done that but when my daughter was first born, it was a recurring nightmare). But the kind of nagging panic that you know you’re going to wait until the last minute to do something and the words are going to fall flat. Most of you can probably already guess what I’m going to say: deadline panic.
So I figured the best way to beat that nagging panic at the back of my brain was to start writing. Teresa Bodwell asked me to write about something regarding being a writer and being deployed. About writing through adversity. I’m not sure I can do that accurately, mainly because I don’t feel like being in Iraq – for me – has been ‘hard’.
How can that be? I mean, here I am, a mom deployed away from her two young girls, away from her home and her pets and her friends. How can that not be hard? It was. It is. But it’s not something that I can dwell on every day and not get clinically depressed over. Sure, it hits me when I call home and my four year old is crying in the background that she wants mommy to come home. It nails me through the heart like a stake and the helplessness that I can’t ease my baby’s pain is the absolute worst feeling in the world.
But most days, I shut it down. I turn off the mommy side of me that worries about my kids and I try to focus on here. Now. I made my choice to stay in the Army and that meant I would deploy. I cannot sit over here and bemoan that choice. I can’t change it. I can only embrace what I still have: today and tomorrow.
The best thing that being deployed has allowed me to do is write. There are no dishes to do, no laundry to fold. I have time to write and really get into a book and let it pour out of me without distractions. For me, that’s making the most of the time I have over here and learn from it. I try to make the most out of every day and capture the lessons I learn in what I write.
I won’t tell you that everything I’ve written over here has been positive. I delved into some dark issues. Some that deal with the military and some that deal with spirituality. I’m sure that’s my subconscious’s way of helping me cope with things I opt not to think about. We’ll never know. But I know that I write. It keeps me busy. And the emotions I confront on a daily basis, I put into my writing. I only hope I am able to capture some of what I learn about in dealing with this tough time and portray it in my work.
Some of our truest work comes from the dark part of our hearts. For me, writing through this deployment has given me a glimpse into the emotions I’ve channeled. Instead of sitting in my CHU crying, I found a way for my sorrow to be expressed, without driving my husband absolutely insane. For me, the most honest writing I do is when I’m emotional. It’s also the hardest. I can’t imagine waking up every day and not being able to write (though I’ve recently experienced the true joy of having a lot of work to do and no time to write but that’s another story).
Writing through this deployment has been my way of coping. When I had a panic attack about missing my children and the certainty that something was going to happen to them while I was deployed, I wrote about it. When I was a wreck thinking I was pregnant and going to be that girl who got sent home, I wrote about it. When I learned about some of the horrible things that happened to our boys and gals downtown, I wrote about it. I wrote about people’s reactions around me. I wrote about mine. It helped get the stress of what I was dealing with and what those around me were dealing with and find something to do with it, other than let it eat me alive.
Writing has been my way of getting it all out, of having a discussion, even if it is one sided. I hope that when you get the chance to read my books, you’ll get a glimpse of the emotion behind the story. And hopefully, you’ll get a different view of life in the military.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share! It’s a huge honor to be part of this project and I’m grateful that Teresa gave me the chance to put my words to a good cause. Please donate and help us raise our goal for Cystic Fibrosis Research!
Jessica Scott is an Army officer with over 14 years of service. She and her husband are currently deployed in Iraq, leaving their two young daughters in her mother’s loving care. While enduring the stresses of living in a war zone–sandstorms, biting flies, spiders the size of crabs and temperatures high enough to bake a pizza in the open air, Jess continues to write romantic stories featuring military heroes and heroines. Follow her adventures in her blog at http://www.jessicascott.net/blog/.