I’m back, possibly.

I met a man recently who said he liked to read, so I thought maybe we had something in common.

“Not fiction, though,” he said. “I like to actually learn something when I read.” 

So I killed him.

Then I spent the next few hours lamenting the fact that much of America has stopped reading not only fiction, but anything at all. Judging by our obesity rate, people don’t even read food labels. 

Maybe you’re one of my excellent peeps who have been waiting for me to start publicly writing again, or maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “Tricia who?”

I haven’t posted here in over a year, mostly because I’ve working hard to not dry up into dust and blow away with the next stiff breeze. (Quick recap: my 26-year marriage broke up the very weekend the pandemic began, leaving me a single mother with sole custody of three teenagers and three dogs.)

Now I’m a divorced single mother with primary custody of two teenagers – the third is in college and living on her own – and three dogs. 

As I write this, it has been one year and 54 days since the world as I knew it shattered. Shattered is the right word; it was as though I lived my life balancing on a giant glass ball of earth, and that ball suddenly imploded into a million pieces. There I sat floundering among the sharp edges, bleeding and hurt and scared and in shock. Well-meaning people said to me, “You need to take care of yourself.” 

“NO,” I would say forcefully, each time. “I need to take care of my kids.”

My kids.

My kids.

My kids

Because they were there in the glass shards with me, hurt and scared. I spent all my energy trying to keep them from being cut, laying a foundation between them and the danger, lifting them above the splintery. 

I did three things for myself: I slept and worked out, because I knew I needed to stay healthy for my kids.

And I read. I read fiction and non-fiction, memoirs and newspaper articles, even a little self-help. (Brene Brown, I’m now a fangirl.) With each word, each sentence, each page, my brain crawled infinitesimally closer to recognizing itself again.. 

I don’t know that the wounds of divorce really heal; it’s more like they scar over, and still occasionally ache on cloudy days. I do know that now, 419 days later, I’m rebuilding my ball of earth, and it’s coming together. This new world of mine has rules, though. Rule #1: Stay away from people who……okay, I want to say, stay away from stupid people, but that seems trite. What I mean is: I don’t waste time on people whose very breath contaminates the air I’m trying to cultivate around me. And if you’re someone who thinks literature teaches nothing, you’ve got nothing I want in my life.

Thanks to books, I no longer dread my days, and I no longer cry into the night. 

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.” — Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar. Fiction. 

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.” — Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar. Fiction. 

37 responses to I’m back, possibly.

  1. Patti Peeples says:

    “The secret is not to chase butterflies. It’s to take care of your garden so they come to you.” Mario Quintana

    Here’s to toiling the soil of your soul.

  2. I think we all find that door, and then choose to go through it. Whatever works for each of us. The three you picked were saviors for me, too. And yep: scars. But…stronger for it, always. Keep up the resilience journey. We’re out here cheering you on.

  3. Lynn Harlin says:

    Glad to read your writing again. I have missed you & it. Reading has been my job and my enjoyment. It helps to heal wounds. Love you Trucia, keep rolling and writing.

  4. Tricia E Bratton says:

    My warrior sister writer friend. Divorce is so hard. It is like a death, but the person still inhabits the same universe as you. I remember thinking I would never get through it. I didn’t do it as healthily as you. But at least I made it through. I knew you’d be back one day. And yes, if I ever dated again, and the man told me he didn’t read fiction, I’d have to show him the door. Time is short. So glad you are in this world and writing again.

  5. Amy says:

    Oh how I’ve missed your writing. I had no idea what you were going through. I’m so sorry. I know that you will come out if this stronger, healthier and more awesome than ever! You are a rockstar. Show the world!

  6. Angie villada says:

    You have been one of my favorite people in the world! I was your student and enjoyed my week because of your class. You are a bad ass!

  7. Lili says:

    Dismemberment was my word for it when my shards blew apart.
    Re-membering was the process of putting myself back together.
    You invoke it powerfully.
    I am sending you big love and strength on your journey.
    And fuck him- he’s a bloody idiot!

  8. Samantha says:

    You have been missed. I miss the woman who did her zoom with me about her books, the sparkle in her eyes, the simple joys of sharing her delights with others. I’ve missed the twinkle in your eyes knowing that mischief was coming. I miss the talks, the smiles, the sweetness. Where is that warrior???? Where has she gone?

  9. Donna says:

    Thank you for writing again. I love this post because I remember when you wrote last. I knew you would come out on top, but it’s fucking hard. I’ve been in an abusive situation for years and I just healing from it in past few years.

  10. Michelle says:

    I’m so sorry for the events that caused you to lose your words for over a year. It’s been my experience, that when women hurt, we revert to the simple behaviors that enable us to breathe until it becomes automatic once again and only then can we allow other activities again. Writing is therapy; my hope for you is that it continues the healing process. Welcome back!

  11. Lois says:

    I hardly know what to say. I had no idea….and I did miss your words. Tricia, I knew you “before” and have never thought of you as anything other than tough, loving, smart, straightforward and resilient. I’ll add vulnerable as we all are. But we know how to bounce back and I see you are well on your way.
    Sending my love, Lois

  12. Thomas Booker says:

    Ever so pleased you are resuming your blog.

    I must admit I tend to read non-fiction, especially histories.

    Please do not kill me.

    • tricia says:

      I love nonfiction! Just because you prefer it doesn’t mean you don’t see the value in fiction. xoxo ps no killing of relatives

  13. Ollie Booket says:

    I read EVERYTHING! Glad you are coming out of the fog. It took me a good two years that my x splitting was the best thing that ever happened to me. Gym and heavy workouts can work wonders too.
    Guatemala is still waiting some time in your future if you so desire. It would be an adventure not a tourist trip.

  14. Mark says:

    Change your “Who I am again . . .” because . . . you’ve changed!

  15. Carolyn W. says:

    Love you, Tricia. You are brave, bold, slightly terrifying and hilarious. Thank you for continuing your journey with us. Reading, sleeping and sharing–it’s what makes a strong life.

  16. Sandy P says:

    Love you girl! So glad you are back to blogging. We missed you. The best is yet to come!

  17. Margaret says:

    I so love you, Tricia Booker.
    Will blow up your phone until you r forced to pick up!
    xxxooo

  18. Helena Angell says:

    You’ve been on my mind lately. Now I know why ❤️ thanks for sharing more of your story, Tricia… My heart is with you and I hope we connect soon! Any chance of you starting a writer’s circle? 😉

  19. Melissa says:

    This made me think of something I heard on a podcast this week: “You being honest about your journey makes me want to live.” You never know who your words will touch. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Nancy Calvert Massey says:

    Tricia- Even in your quiet stillness, I believe you’ve been here all along. I feel confident your big ole brain and heart never stopped! But I look forward to your written word-

  21. MarJon says:

    Welcome back. So glad to be reading your words again, the way you put them together always resonates with me.

  22. Nancy Walsh says:

    Really moving piece, Tricia. I’m sorry you’ve had such a rocky path – like Covid didn’t make things shitty enough. Your honesty and strength and resilience are amazing and inspiring. Glad you’re back. And I never understood people who believe nonfiction is better than fiction. Both can be great – they’re not mutually exclusive!

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