The only way forward was to reclaim the parts of my identity outside of motherhood

Illustration by Rebecca de Araujo

My daughter and I are in the kitchen. She is slicing cucumbers for the salad. I’m stirring a pot of tomato sauce.

“I’ve been thinking,” she says. “Wouldn’t it be so cool if I went to college on the West Coast?”

I take the wooden spoon out of the sauce and tap it on the side of the pot in lieu of a response. She has been chatting away for the last half hour. The conversation flowing the way it does with teenage girls — discursive, jumping from one topic to the next without much to thread it together.


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

It’s Saturday morning, still dark outside. I just rolled over and checked my phone — six a.m. A year ago, I would have gone back to sleep. But now, I carefully slink out of the bed and tiptoe down the stairs. All I want is a few hours. Alone.

I make a cup of tea and settle into the couch. Open the laptop and quietly read something I wrote yesterday to determine if it works or not. I make slight adjustments and reread them again. And again. Then, the magic starts to happen. In the silence, the words come, piecing…

Cathryn Lavery/Unsplash

Are you born with it? Does something in you magically change? Is it when you are published for the first time? At what point to you get to say: I am a writer?

Out loud.

To other people.

Even as a young girl, I always had journals where I wrote — stories, quotes, song lyrics — but I wouldn’t have called myself a writer then. It just felt like I was releasing something that wanted to get out.

In college, I was an English major and my first job when I graduated in 1996 was as a researcher and fact-checker…

The moment when life came to a screeching halt was an opportunity to examine all the beauty that surrounds us

I remember the doctor calling to confirm the tumor was malignant. At that point, in April of last year, all they could tell me was that I had breast cancer but not how aggressive it was, or if it had spread. What I recall about that day is not the shock of the diagnosis itself, but sitting in an Adirondack chair in my backyard, staring up at the tall oak and cherry trees, and watching the leaves as they rustled in the breeze.

They were extraordinarily beautiful — the way they danced with the wind, the sound they made as…

Darcey Gohring

Darcey Gohring is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and lifestyle content. She recently completed her upcoming debut novel THE ROAD HOME.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store