I told you I wrote a list, right? I wrote this list. It was three pages long and had “three wishes” phrasing. I labored over the items on this list. I wanted them to summon exactly the person I described. My list was a roadmap to the destination of somebody perfect for me. Not perfect full stop. Just perfect for me. The space between those two sentences is a big fucking space.
So? So, I’m telling you because I found myself in a weird conversation a couple of days ago. We were talking about Audrey (from my first novel Red Audrey and the Roping) and Mary said maybe Audrey comes off as ethereal because I didn’t actually know what a good girlfriend was. I kind of sketched her. She was vague because I’d never actually experienced a good girlfriend. Dude. That is a tragic speculation. And also true. I don’t think I had. I’d never had a romantic relationship with boundaries, and so my attempt to write a person with boundaries kind of feels blurry.
But, you know, I was chasing her. I was chasing a person with boundaries. And I knew, as the writer, that a person with boundaries could keep Jane safe until she had boundaries herself. Red Audrey was a roadmap home. For me. It was a story to make peace with my scary places. I tried to conjure someone to love me in spite of everything. And she reads like a dream because I didn’t quite capture her.
Because that’s not how it works. You can’t chase somebody with boundaries. You have to have boundaries yourself. You have to have them and then calmly ask for the opportunity to be with your list. You have to hope your person. You have to hope them. And while you wait, you have to work. You have to remember that you’re never finished. That you’re always crafting yourself. That you’re never finished, and that you are worth it. That you are worth better. You, with your beautiful fractures. You, love. You.