I feel as though I should warn you readers; in this post, I confess to a crime. I will be sharing the tale of how something came to be in my possession, something that is not mine. Have no fear that you will become an accessory, simply by knowing the truth. No one is searching for me, and the object has not yet been missed. However, I simply feel as though I should warn you. If you are of a gentle sensibility, this tale may not be for you.
It was almost a year and a half ago. We had been, for all intents and purposes, homeless for seven weeks, when our belongings were packed up in Okinawa and we moved into a hotel. Since then we had stayed with my in laws as we visited family and waited for our flight. We had just arrived in Belgium and were staying in a small, temporary apartment that was frequently used by families from the base while they were in transit. Some, like us, had stayed there upon arrival as they waited to find a home; others used the apartment on their way out, staying there until they moved on to their next base.
As one would expect from a place such as this, there was a variety of objects. Some, such as the furniture, a binder of local phone numbers, and some various bedding and towels, belonged to the apartment. Other objects, seemed to be left behind by previous tenants, such as the odd assortment of books and movies, as well as a few random toys and cleaning supplies. It was on the second day we were there that I found the object. Sitting on a shelf in the kitchen, as though there were nothing at all usual or special about it.
And that morning was when my life changed. I had been thinking for months, wondering what I will do when we arrive at a new base, a base where I am unable to work. Yes, I will stay at home with my children, but as they are arriving at school age, what will I do during the hours of the day where I am alone? This simple mug provided me with the answer; I will go confidently in the direction of my dreams. That was the day when I decided I was going to write my story. That was when I chose to try to achieve something improbable, simply because I felt the journey would be worth it.
When we left the apartment two months later, I took the mug with me. It was such a small item, but it had held such meaning that I could not imagine leaving it behind. I could pretend it was an accident, that I somehow swept it up with my other belongings, but that would be a lie. It was a completely premeditated act. I knew from the moment I held the mug, from the moment it helped to change my future, that I could not leave it behind. I planned for the theft, purchasing another mug from a store nearby to leave in it’s place. The new mug is of a similar size and shape, though I would be hard pressed to say they were also of the same value. An object that serves as the catalyst for a major life decision certainly has a larger amount of sentimental value, even if there is no actual financial benefit to possessing the object.
I suppose it is not really a crime to which I am confessing. While I did take the mug, I did replace it with another. No one noticed, or seemed to care that this particular mug was gone. At worst I suppose one could accuse me of petty theft and request that I return the mug. And if I had to, I could, and I even would. The mug itself is nothing more than a symbol. Maybe I would have decided to follow my dream, even without the inspirational words. The dream was alive before the mug came into my life, and will be there long after the mug moves on. Maybe I’ll put it back when we move; return it to the shelf to give inspiration to a new family.
For now, it sits in my cupboard, reminding me when things are difficult that I must keep moving forward. When the words I choose seem completely wrong, when another rejection letter comes in, when it seems I have more ideas than I will ever have the time to write; I pull out this mug. I make a cup of coffee, or occasionally tea depending on my mood, and I remind myself why I am writing. It is not to sell my book, as nice as that would be. I am not writing because I believe that I will make my fortune this way.
I write because I have a story to tell. I write to bring the story out of me, and send it into the world to be shared with others.
I write because it is my dream.