2016 is not the year I wrote a book. It was the year my book got published. The actual writing took place years ago — I, of course, didn’t know something would become of it.
When Everyday Isa was still a heart-on-your-sleeve nook on the internet, my 20-plus-year-old self had no clue what she was actually investing in. All those hours of writing, editing, staying up at night to get the words just right — she was oblivious to the possibility that these words were not destined to remain solely on the screen forever.
I never wanted to be an author.
People assume that the primary goal of every person who calls themselves a writer is to come out with a book. Not me. I just liked words.
I never dreamed of having a publisher or seeing my name on a spine. When I was young, it seemed like a beautiful idea. But as I got older, it crumbled into something lofty and unnecessary. I dusted the desire out of my system.
If I knew what was coming, I would’ve been scared out of my mind. I would’ve censored myself more and put myself under the weight of so much unnecessary pressure. It is terrifying to be seen. There’s a chance that knowing would’ve had me writing better but I doubt I would have written as true as I did, as honestly as I did, when I was still that girl.
Which, of course, is my way of saying that I’m not that girl anymore. (Not quite.)
I am young but I am not curiously young. I am not living off the glow of my post-grad years, I am not recovering from the throes of young love and, after years of feeling lost, I now have a fairly good sense of where I’m at in life. The cliches keep on saying that life is a journey. Mine has definitely felt it. It has felt the ache, the growth, the resistance, the surrender, the change.
Let it be known: I am still not very sure about anything.
But I took the years of figuring-it-out and let them unfold on their own, waiting for some mysteries to make sense, accepting that not all would. There are a lot of doors I ran away from but I think I said yes to most that I found myself face-to-face with.
My 20’s have largely been about being extremely terrified and brave at the same time, all the time.
The girl who wrote those letters was propelled by possibility and hope. She was a large believer in providence. Her most spellbinding quality was her vulnerability.
I still have most of those things, just lesser doses of them. I feel more rooted, less glittery, highly aware that what I have built is a rich, imperfect, unfinished life. I am an adult now and I feel it prominently in a thing I call settledness.
And so Found makes sense, even though it was not written by the woman I am today. I might pen new books, more beautiful ones, but I will look back on this one with the same kind of fondness one holds for first love. The girl who wrote this took her time. And she meant everything she said.
It took all those years of introspection, questioning, and unbridled hope to arrive here. She got me to this point and for that, I am grateful.
While it might mean different things to different people, what it means to me is simple. This book exists to mark those moments, to remind me that I was searching, am somehow still searching, and, when I need it to (because one day I will need it to), bring me back to the golden beginning: once upon a time there was a girl with her words, no expectations, just the slight suspicion that she was on to something good.