Discover more from WRITE, TO HEAL by Mimi Zhu
An Everlasting Love
with abundant thanks to bell hooks
hello to you, it has been a while.
i want to apologise for my absence from this newsletter. i really appreciate every single one of you who supports me with such patience, and who financially supports my work. i also totally understand if you choose to unsubscribe from the paid option because i have been writing this newsletter a lot less frequently, though it would mean the world if you could reserve a small portion of your funds to support my upcoming book Be Not Afraid of Love when it is released next year.
Be Not Afraid of Love is a book about re-learning love after a toxic and abusive relationship. it will follow the relationship i had with someone who was simultaneously my first love and abuser. it will explore the nuanced emotions that come during my different spiraling stages of healing, and it will zoom out to take a look at all of my relationships with my emotions, friends, family, the state, Earth, and myself. it will be out in the summer of 2022.
the last few months have been dedicated to writing the book. it has been an active dreaming into fruition, and i have been bleeding onto the page. i feel like as i’m waiting for the book’s release, spiraling internally, being super self-critical, and putting my heart on a plate, waiting for it to be consumed.
i’m scared. i’m really fucking scared of releasing it into the world. i’m scared that it’s stupid, that i’ve overlooked something critical, or that i’ve been careless with anyone’s heart. i’ve gone over the manuscript 100 times, on paper and on my computer. i vow over and over again to write from the “i”, and to always fully acknowledge the people who have shared their wisdom with me. i feel like i am a sculptor; like i am chipping away at the work and shaving all the excessive marble to reveal a “perfect” work of art. i’m scared that it is imperfect, and the fear beckons me to reflect on that thought.
i write about the oscillating natures of love and fear, and i am seeing now that i am harboring much fear in my heart. one of the key themes of the book is sitting with the challenging healing practice of being with our fear instead of resisting it. i sit with my fear now and i uncover shining pearls of care. i care so much about this book, about everybody who reads it, and i deeply care for my own heart. i care for my relationships and i want to thank everybody who has shown me how to relearn love, including the you who lives, the you who is within this tiny community of lovers that started three years ago. i hope the book moves you in whatever ways that it may, though i cannot predict what will tug at your heartstrings. my honesty is as it is, and i acknowledge that my truth is not perfect nor smooth, but messy and difficult, which is the place i choose to write from.
no matter how hard i try to chip away at the sculpture of my work, i cannot chip away at the core of my story. my wonderful editor amy told me that editing can be an infinite process if you want it to be. i could edit forever, because everything continues to change. but at some point, i have to stop, and i have to allow the fear to pass. i have to release the work of art, like a baby bird i have been keeping in my nest. i have to share it, because i write for the love that holds our millions of interconnections. i write because it has allowed me to survive, and i share because i have seen the power of the written word, the ways that our interconnections strengthen and reverberate with resonance. i see how it strengthens me and us, and how even in times where we may feel alone, our connections never die.
it is an act of self-love to trust myself enough to release Be Not Afraid of Love and to wholly believe in my truth-telling. as i submit my manuscript, i can only sit with immense gratitude, because i truly could not do it without any of you. ♡
upon waking up a few days ago, i learned that bell hooks passed away. my heart is broken, and i am praying for her safe passage home. i hope that we can all openly grieve her and honor the many wisdoms of love that she left with us. i hope that we can collectively mourn and send her spirit safely to the afterlife.
she inspired me to write about and explore love. she always wrote with strength and tenderness, and taught me that both these qualities are inseparable from each other. she writes so vulnerably about her experiences as a Black woman in the so-called united states of america, navigating abusive relationships with the state, her family, and lovers. she writes about how she harnesses love as a force of radical resistance, and as a commitment and a choice. i could not and would not be the writer i am today without her generosities, vulnerability and wisdoms.
bell hooks’ love has eternal life. despite her passing, her love lives on. in All About Love, she writes:
redeemed and restored, love returns us to the promise of everlasting life. when we love we can let our hearts speak.
i read All About Love after escaping my abusive relationship, and it felt like it cracked me open. it was the first time i had ever read someone say that love cannot co-exist with violence. her writings made me spiral into a deep mode of reflection, and i say the word “spiral” because i always returned to myself. she always encouraged me to hold myself (and ask to be held) during the process. she radicalized me, and profoundly changed so many of our lives. she writes deeply from an ethic of love and her work is referenced and weaved all throughout my own work, especially in Be Not Afraid of Love. i am so deeply grateful for bell hooks and i owe so much to her. she showed me love when love felt like a stranger.
“what a way to go, you pass on to the next and everybody talking about love, love, love, love, love, love.”
as i am sitting here, writing this newsletter, i sit here with love and i know that bell hooks has left pearls of eternal love in all of us. it is because of that love that i feel courageous enough to submit my manuscript, share my story, and express an everlasting and loving thank you.