A shot in the dark
On Breaking: The thing that broke me this week
This is a new weekly series where I share one thing that broke me—something I struggled with, cried over, raged over, or pushed my world a little off its axis. This first one is available to read for all subscribers, free and paid, but after this week, this series will be exclusive to my paid subscribers. My goal is for these to be shorter, and more easily digestible, than my weekly essays, but we all know I have a tendency toward the long-form.
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Two amazing things happened this week. It’s ironic that a series about the things that break us begins with something good. It’s ironic, but it’s not surprising. I find that the breaking so often comes from momentary contentment, an accidental moment of joy, a fleeting wash of hope. At least, that’s been my experience. Like I can almost hear the Universe laughing, chuckling through the words as it says, silly child, nothing was ever going to come from this. You knew that, didn’t you?
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back. Let’s start with the good things.
This week, an essay of mine that was published in the Good River Review was nominated to be included in the nonfiction category of The Best of the Net Anthology. This is an incredible honor. The Best of the Net has been around for over fifteen years and has featured some of today’s most important writers. I am in awe that I am even being considered alongside such iconic talent.
This was the start of the breaking. The whole thing puts me back into the dangerous territory of hope.
And that brings me to the next good thing.
A couple of weeks ago I sent a query letter and the first ten pages of my memoir to an independent publisher. Their website said they don’t accept unsolicited submissions, but I sent it anyway because I truly believe my book would be a good fit for their catalog, and I am willing to do the work. I will make the edits that are needed. I will rework the whole structure if that’s what I’m called to do. I will show up every damn day in all the ways that are asked of me if they would just give me a chance. In the email I wrote, here goes a shot in the dark. And it was. A Hail Mary of sorts.
Two weeks went by and I hadn’t heard anything. I thought, well, at least I tried. Then on Wednesday, an email popped up in my inbox. It began, “Thank you, Jessy. Appreciate you reaching out…” and I held my breath. It could go either way from here, an ask to see more pages or a thanks, but no thanks. To my surprise, it was the former. They asked to read the full manuscript. My heart did one of those flips that happen when you feel like you’re falling. Maybe this is it.
If you’ve been following my writing journey, you know how long and hard I’ve worked on this book. I’m talkin’ twelve-hour days on top of my need-to-make-money-so-I-can-live-job. I was waking up at five in the morning, writing, writing, writing without barely stopping to eat. This was after forcing myself to merge my world with my mother’s—going back to the Mojave to live with her in a house full of meth addicts, where the bathroom always smelled of piss, the kitchen swarmed with flies, and the relentless heat was like there were hands around my throat—in search of truth, of love.
As close and personal as this book is to me, this story is not just my own. This story is for those who are learning to push the boundaries of love to the edge of everything, past the dark places they’d never thought they’d go in order to find themselves in the process. And I desperately want to get it out in the world.
That’s where the breaking happens. In the yearning and the wanting and the hope. It has been such a long road, such a rough couple of years, and I could really use a win. If I’m being honest with myself, I need this. But I’m terrified to let myself believe that it could happen. That I’m good enough. That my story matters. There’s a part of me that wants to resist feeling happy or excited to save myself from the letdown, what feels like the inevitable disappointment. But there’s a bigger part of me—the part that needs and dreams—that can’t help but hope even if it does make my heart thrum at an uncomfortable pace.
If childhood has taught me anything, it’s to endure. Keep going even when you’re scared. Hold onto hope even when it hurts. So, here’s to the breaking and the wanting and the hoping. Here’s to believing in yourself even when it doesn’t come easy.
Have you ever felt scared to hope for something?
Tell me about it in the comments. Let me know I’m not alone in this.
Read more about my fear of hoping in the piece below.
Stay turned for Monday. I have a new piece coming out for my paid subscribers about something I said I’d never do. Make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss it. Have a good weekend <3