It is difficult for me to begin this post, but, I think, all the more necessary for the challenge. Something I have been turning over in my head, yearning to share with you. It never felt like the right time. But I believe (I think, I hope) that it is now.
Perhaps some of you lovelies - the earliest of readers, those who have stayed through all of the months (and now - how shocking this is - years) that Six Impossible Things has grown - will remember Frozen Hearts. The story of a girl spun of words, a boy with a wand and a broken smile, a kingdom plagued with endless, helpless snow.
Frozen Hearts was first novel I penned, the one I had planned to self-publish nearly three years ago now.
I began this blog as a starry-eyed 13 year old with a deep-seated yearning to write, whatever it took. The whole purpose of Six Impossible Things back then was to speak of Frozen Hearts - indeed, as I scroll through my archives, I can't help but smile at the anticipation, the exhilaration, the excitement of the readers of old. Some of your names still populate the comments section and my email inbox today. Some of you have never stopped asking where Frozen Hearts went - even as its presence on the blog dwindled. Some of you, the very earliest of readers, still remember the characters. Still speak of them as old friends.
At thirteen - and then, later, fourteen - years old, my deepest goal was to self-publish Frozen Hearts. This is what I shared with all of you. This is what I worked for, far into the night around schoolwork & real life. Frozen Hearts was, to put it simply, the greatest goal.
Only then I started feeling sad for no particular reason. I began having panic attacks every day.
I was diagnosed with depression & anxiety.
I spoke of that process on the blog too. And still, all of you were here to support me. Even as Frozen Hearts was pushed further & further away from Six Impossible Things, you lovely readers stayed. And I cannot thank you enough for that.
But here is what I have not said, what you do not yet know:
I never stopped working on Frozen Hearts during that dark period. Though I did not speak of it on the blog, though I stopped updating you on my word count, the antics of the characters, how the publishing process was coming along - still, in the darkness & the sharpness, I kept penning it. Kept spilling words onto the paper.
Before my diagnoses, Frozen Hearts was a dream.
Now it was a sanctuary. A lifeline.
I often speak of the words that changed me, the ones I clung to in my lowest moments. The ones that, quite literally, saved my life. But I think I don't share Frozen Hearts enough in these terms. It is true - when people did not know how to speak to me, when no amount of positive thinking or vitamin supplements could make the clouds lift, when I woke up from nightmares not of monsters, but of panic attacks - all this time, the words were there.
When the rest of the world, it seemed, had given up on me, Frozen Hearts never left.
I am sixteen now and still learning. Still growing. I am a very different person than the wide-eyed thirteen year old who began this book and I am a different person from the one who threw herself into words to hide from all of the aching.
I have not touched Frozen Hearts' manuscript in nearly a year. And somehow, I am just fine with that.
I went back and read the book before I wrote this post, and the darkness of some passages nearly shocked me. The memories, too - so many of them, both good and bad, tied into word choice here and character there, as if an era of my life clings to this book, as if a part of my soul has bound itself to the manuscript.
Frozen Hearts was and is a huge part of me, and of Six Impossible Things. I think, perhaps, that it always will be.
But I am still growing, and this is why I have chosen to leave it behind for now. Frozen Hearts comes from a time in my life when I did not know the meaning of healing, of recovery. It afforded me a home, my only protection from a world that seemed bent on jabbing my wounds over and over and over.
But it also symbolises a time in my life when I did not know how there could possibly be any light in all of the darkness.
These days I wake up and thank the sky for the words I want to feel okay again. These days I still feel sad far too much, and my hands still tremble when anxiety overwhelms me, and I have been diagnosed a host of new disorders since the first two.
But I want to get better. I want to get better so badly that I am willing to do anything for it.
Frozen Hearts, I am realising, is a part of me that no longer needs to exist. My seasons are changing. The windows are opening. I am ready for this book to be part of a memory, a past life filled with bittersweet fondness. It is a part of me that I will always be thankful for. And it is one that I think it is time to let go of.
There are new projects afoot, coming sooner than you know. The kind that fully represent who I am now, this fleeting snapshot of a life that I will look back on in too many years and barely recognise.
But I am learning to embrace this quiet allegro, this present tense that moves too fast and not fast enough. I am learning to record the moments that I can, and then to tuck away everything else and turn to face the future. To stand unburdened with the past and unafraid of what is to come.
Frozen Hearts is in the past tense now. For me, and for all of us.
But in its wake rises so much more radiance. So much present tense.
I am excited to see what it holds. And even more: I'm excited for all of you to step into this new wonder with me.