When I Realized and Finally Owned That I Really am a Writer
Today is February 8th, 2020 and it is the 4-year anniversary of the worse day of my adult life.
4 years ago today on Feb 8th 2016 my 17-year-old son Zayne passed away.
Today I sat down to some writing and put down some of the thoughts I have been having the past few day as I have been reflecting on Zayne’s passing.
That article is titled – It’s Been 4 Years Since I Lost My Son Zayne and you can find a link to it here – www.stevenshomler.com/its-been-4-years-since-i-lost-my-son-zayne
As I began writing that article it occurred to me how ironic it is that I was doing some writing today about Zayne’s’ passing. That realization led me to write this article here.
When I Realized and Finally Owned That I Really am a Writer
I have never shared this detail publicly before.
Back in 2011 I finally decided to seriously head out after a led-held dream of mine to become an Author.
To be clear in the summer of 2011 I set 4 goals – to become a Writer, an Author, a Speaker and “ditch my day job” & become self-employed.
I had yearned for and dreamed about becoming an Author since I was 16 years old.
In 2011 I was 42 years old and that dream of becoming an Author had been painfully smoldering in my heart for 26 years.
One obstacle I faced was that to become an Author you need to start writing and at that point in my life I could not see myself as a writer.
My defective story – the unhelpful story I lived by at that time told me I wasn’t good enough to be a writer.
It’s funny and kind of sad, but by the summer of 2015 my publisher had published two of my books and I was an Author twice over, and yet I still did NOT see myself as a writer.
Remember – my defective story told me I was not good enough to be a writer.
My 17 year old son Zayne passed away on Monday Feb 8th, 2016 and on Saturday night Feb 13th I officiated Zayne’s memorial service.
I know that may sound odd to you – let me explain.
During the 10 years I worked full-time as a pastor I officiated many funerals & many memorial services, and there was no fucking way I was going let some other pastor handle this sacred duty for my son.
It was a beautiful service. Thank you so much to everyone who attended, and goodness, I am so grateful to those courageous souls who spoke and shared music that evening.
When I got home from that memorial service I decided that I would *intentionally and diligently grieve for a year and that at the 1-year anniversary of Zayne’s passing I would spread his ashes on the beach.
Please Note – One year later we did spread Zayne’s ashes on Feb 8, 2017 at the Oregon Coast in a driving rainstorm on Tunnel Beach in Oceanside, Oregon.
*I said intentionally and diligently because some people who experience brutal losses stuff their grief and avoid it.
That night – Feb 13, 2016 I knew full well that grieving was like going to the bathroom – when you don’t do it – bad things happen.
I also knew that those who grieve well live well.
I owed it to Zayne to do the work of grieving & healing – he would have wanted that.
An Overwhelming Sense That I Needed to Write
Let’s go back to the evening of Feb 13th, 2016.
In addition to deciding that night that I would intentionally and diligently grieve Zayne’s passing for a year, I also had an almost overwhelming sense that I needed to write about my grieving journey.
I remembered CS Lewis’ somewhat cerebral, yet excellent book A Grief Observed.
I thought to myself “there is no fucking way I am observing this grief.” I am going to express it.
So that night – right then – I bought the domain A Grief Expressed dot com, and began writing about my grieving journey.
Then it me Like a Ton of Bricks.
Here I was feeling an almost overwhelm need to write about my grieving journey and that night I began writing about it…
The shocking words that came into my mind were:
“I must be a Writer”
Realizing that I really was a writer was quite unsettling, and it was a challenge to the inaccurate image I had of myself.
Up until that very evening I had held the “writer” title at bay because I never felt “good enough” to be a writer.
However, that evening I was forced to confront the awkward truth that I really was a writer.
That evening following this identify challenging experience I still did not feel good enough to be a writer – however I could no longer deny the truth that I was.
By the way, I can let you aspiring writers in on the secret only writers know:
Writers are people who write. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. If you write – you are a writer.
Here is the Ironic Part
Back in the summer of 2011 when I set out up to build a brand new career out of thin air, and become a Writer, an Author, a Speaker and “ditch my day job” & become self-employed — it was my son Zayne, who from the very beginning, encouraged me and believed in me.
Zayne told me more times than I can count –
“You are Doing Great Dad, Just Keep Going.”
As I mentioned I set 4 goals the summer of 2011 –
#1 Writer #2 Author #3 Speaker #4 Self-employed
When the day began on Feb 13th, 2016 I would have told you that I had achieved only two of those goals. That was the false truth or defective story in my heart.
April 17, 2014 was the day I became an Author, and January 6, 2015 was the day I “ditched my day job” and become self-employed.
Zayne was the one who cheered me on from the very beginning and it is incredibly iconic to me that writing about his passing the night I officiated his memorial service was what helped realize that I had actually achieved my goal of becoming a writer.
Feb 13, 2016 was the day I realized that I am a writer…
It took me a long time following that date to fully own the reality that I am a writer and to become somewhat comfortable with it.
Part of the reason for the hesitation to fully embrace the fact that I am a writer is that I am at best an average writer, and it is hard for me not to compare myself to really good writers I happen to know, whose writing I greatly respect like Jeff Alworth or Karyn Shomler.
Personal comparisons are rarely never helpful, and it is truly ok to be an average writer.
Furthermore even average writers are still writers.
Thats’s all I have for now…
I miss you Zayne. May you rest in peace.