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Me standing in front of Mariana's grave, arms open in tribute
Photo by Sarah Bradley

I hate writing. In fact, I disdain writing. It has taken me almost two weeks just to write this post. Why? I have no idea. I didn’t always hate writing. I have to write quite a bit for my day job and I also hate that writing. Proposals, learner experience roadmaps, workshops, transcripts, presentations. I write all week for work. If I can’t write it in bullet form my mind automatically screams; Nope. Even when writing a simple email. The hateful feelings putrify through my fingertips as they strike the keyboard. Each word resulting in a crippling manifestation of the devil himself. All ending in my getting up from my desk and gathering a spoonful of Biscoff cookie butter or stack of Oreos or Velveeta Shells & Cheese microwave bowl (one of many amazing comfort foods) to get my creativity flowing again.

Once my blood sugar and self-respect are at a disgusting high, I sit back down at the computer to resume the hideous dance of fingers and keys. I’m pretty sure I use the backspace button more often than Enter or the space bar. Is this an exaggeration? Maybe. But finally, after I’ve wasted more time than it would have taken to write the email, I fall into the arms of the trusted and dependable bullet point. I say exactly what I need to say in 5 bulleted lines, straight to the point, easy to digest, and actionable. Exactly how an email should be. However, I don’t feel I can adequately tell Mariana’s story in bullet points. Trust me, I’ve tried. So my affliction continues. How do I balance my respect for Mariana and telling her story with my allergy to writing?

Imagine the constant struggle. I feel like a vegan chef that has to work for a steakhouse or Ponderosa or Applebee’s.

Maybe it’s the years of writing soul-sucking content in various professional endeavors or completing my bachelor’s and then master’s and then starting my Ph.D… Actually, I’m glad we just did this exercise because we figured that out pretty quickly. When one is forced to write content that drains the soul, then even the creative, passionate content suffers.

Why am I writing about writing? I started this blog over a year ago as a way to tell Mariana’s story in various ways. And to have an educational, non-commercial platform to create awesome things like Mariana explainer videos (narrated by Mariana) in an affordable way. My goal was to get back in touch with my creative side as I helped the world fall in love with Mariana as I had.

Well, without wasting more words writing, I can tell you that didn’t happen. Not really. I have countless pages of ideas and jotted down notes and quotes and facts. And THOUSANDS of pages of research! Every time I thought of a story to tell I’d make a note of it and outline it with those big beautiful bullet points. I’d talk it out while walking Paco or thinking out loud in the shower. Not to brag, but it was all smashing content. IS smashing content. But the moment I sat down to start typing, there I’d be again; A big gigantic Nope. And the next thing you know I’d have rearranged my entire pantry alphabetically by sell-by date, planned my next vacation, cut Paco’s hair, and tried to take up cross-stitch again in an attempt to at least feel slightly productive since I was failing so miserably at writing. Even right now, the need to grab Paco’s clippers is a strong one. I mean, he does need a haircut.

Inside of church with red tile floors and stained glass window

Despite complete sentences being one of my arch nemeses, I do feel I owe Mariana a lot. After all, my search for her has quite literally changed the entire trajectory of my life in the most wonderful ways. I have met so many amazing people with some becoming my closest, most cherished friends. I’ve discovered interests and bits about myself that I had no clue even existed! I’m on the path to one day being a historian when I’ve spent my entire life having no interest in the subject. Why look back when it’s full of so much sadness when we can look forward with so much hope was my feelings on the subject of history. But, in addition to all that, and most of all, Mariana brought me my very own Anne. So I owe her big time!

Back on topic! I started this blog because I wanted to tell Mariana’s story (and those connected to her). Last week I had the opportunity to tell a tiny portion of Mariana’s story to a wonderfully supportive audience. The feedback I received was so kind and encouraging and it was great to see so many people truly interested in the real Mariana.

And I was immediately reminded why I had set out on this Mariana adventure in the first place. To share Mariana’s story and let everyone get to know her as a person. A unique, complex, vulnerable, intelligent, funny, creative, loving human who absolutely had flaws. But those flaws do not define her. Just as they do not define any of us. She represents all the women who struggle to come out for various reasons or can’t come out for safety reasons or don’t realize they even have the option to come out.

Think about all the women in history who lived a similar story. Giving up their ability to be truly happy, with their life with their selves, giving up on love; all for reasons such as family or religious acceptance. That struggle still exists today and we don’t resent these women or blame these women for choices they might make along this path. We empathize with these women and we extend our support in hopes that eventually they can learn to love themselves greater than the pressures they face. Unfortunately during M’s time that wasn’t always an option. But I like to believe that if she was alive today her story would have been very different.

So I say all that pretty much as a reminder to myself about why I started this and why I need to get over my hatred for writing and why I need to shove into the world all things Mariana all the time! To consistently tell Mariana’s story and create a full 360-degree view of a woman that represents so many. So while I might hate writing, I love Mariana and I think that’s enough to jump-start this non-writer into writing again.

Color photo of 4 tequila shots and a small canvas
Artwork by Tannah McMurray

P.S. Thank you to everyone that has spent the last almost 2 years listening to my Mariana debates, Mariana raps, and Mariana Ted Talks. Tequila makes them all very interesting!

#Mariana #Personal #Writing