What if?

Como Park and Conservatory - Flower Room, February 05 2010I’m writing a book on divorce, as I have been since I first started the Artist’s Way. It’s not a fun book to write. I have to look at a time in my life where, out of desperation, I went against my own moral code in a way that forced me to rethink who I really am. I did not like doing this. It still hurts me to see who I turned into, and it hurts me more to see how my family especially just left me alone with all that pain. Hardly surprising, given their history with me, but I still get sad and hurt when I think about it. My inner child still trusts Mommy and Daddy and believes that they want her to be well. She still doesn’t understand why they ignore her when she hurts. I’ve tried to explain it, but when there’s a part of you internally that spends a lot of time curled up in the fetal position, there’s not much you can do.

What I’m wondering – and what inspires the subject line of this post – is…what if I’d had the Artist’s Way available to me when I was going through my divorce? I can’t help but think I might have handled things very differently if I’d had the calm voice of Julia Cameron guiding me away from my bigger mistakes. I know it’s a woulda, shoulda, coulda thing, but if I’d dealt with my inner critic early, and recognized how I was using a crush on a disinterested acquaintance to distract me from dealing with my pain and if I’d actually written out what was hurting me, maybe I would have stayed saner. Maybe I would have unplugged the stress before it became a semi-permanent disease. I doubt I would have finished something novel-wise – I just wasn’t cooked enough for a novel – but I might have found a new, independent, creative bent. I also would have recognized how having a husband who bragged about how much he hated art was slowly destroying my soul.

My new husband is quite happy with the way things have turned out.  And I concur that I am very happy with him. Even so, I think I could have found him all cooked and ready to go but still had a less bumpy ride for myself. Hell, the crazymakers lesson would have gotten rid of the two most destructive (and insensitive!) influences I’ve ever had in my life. I might have forgiven myself earlier. I might have figured out what to do about my disaster of a career path before it became the seemingly irrecoverable disaster it is now.

Or I might have abandoned the whole thing in a flight of itchy fancy. I hadn’t developed my amazing free-stuff-finding skills until about three years ago. But I have to wonder who I’d be if I’d found it and tried it earlier.