My last great obstacle…
I once dated a moderately successful (published) writer of both poetry and fiction. He told me that my poetry was – while obviously emotionally driven “and kudos to you for that” – very unstructured, unsophisticated, lacking in flow and completely devoid of rhythm. He was also kind enough to point out that my story writing was weak, without depth, and a little on the boring side. I took this assessment very seriously – after all, he was a ‘professional’ – and though I eventually figured out that he was a tool and kicked him out of my limited heart space, his words have continued to follow me around. Perhaps I wouldn’t have given his advise so much credence if I’d not been hearing my whole life that I was wasting my time with the writing, and that I needed to ‘grow up’ and find a ‘real’ goal.
Over the past few years of my life I have come a phenomenally long way as a person. I have grown in almost every aspect and become better. I imagine that there are some who know me that wouldn’t agree with ‘better’ – perhaps some would prefer to say ‘different’ – but I stand by my word choice. I am a better person. I am healthier – mentally, physically and emotionally – and I am more open and receptive to the world around me without letting it smother me as it once did. I am awake and aware and alive, and I don’t take much in the way of shit from anyone. I say what’s on my mind, I do what I feel like doing and I make very few apologies for my choices. In fact, my personal motto in life has become ‘it is what it is’ and sometimes ‘I am what I am’, meaning that if I can’t change… let it be and if you don’t what you see… stop looking.
There is, however, one part of my personality that has been almost completely unchanged by this spiritual evolution, and that is my internal writer. She is still every bit as cowardly and afraid as she was when we were children. She’s the part of myself that remains forever shackled to those life long insecurities that the rest us (me) have decided to outgrow, and it seems that no matter how far I (we) get in this world, the writer continues to lag beyond, cowering in the shadows.
Oh, I have tried to drag her out into the sunlight and force her to see herself for what she could be, but she’s always refused to open her eyes. She’s too busy being timid and worrying – constantly worrying – that she’s not good enough, educated enough and/or talented enough. She’s terrified of judgment and rejection, and yet – in some strange way – she’s more comfortable with criticism than compliment because praise is harder to trust.
Now personally, I like the girl well enough, but I have been more than a little sick of her pusillanimous ways for some time now. I guess that’s why the rest of us (me) decided to start this blog in the first place; to force the writer out of the shadows and – good or bad – into the spotlight. And who could have known that this tiny cloud within my own private universe would prove to be such a wondrous vacation location for the mind?
It has been three weeks plus two days – that’s it, though it feels like much longer – and the writer has already opened up and shared in ways that she wouldn’t have back in January. The writer is beginning to deal with her insecurities in a way that I can finally respect, and I owe that to all of you who read whatever happens to tumble from my mind to find a place upon this page. Oh – we still have a long way to go, but things are definitely starting to look up.
On Monday – in response to a dare – I wrote a poem and posted it before even reading it to make sure it made sense. It was an exhilarating feeling. It was liberating in ways that I couldn’t at first understand. After an insanely immature fit of giggles – I am prone to fits like these – I went back and read the poem thinking that it would be complete garbage; an embarrassment; and I found myself thinking, “wait… hold on here… this isn’t that bad.” Yes, it has typos – quite a few of them, but I have made a pack with myself to never edit that post – and yes, there are some aspects of the poem that make me cringe, but all and all, it really doesn’t suck. As the day went on I went back to it several times, mostly because you lovely people kept ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ on it. My views that day almost doubled the previous record high.
I was stupefied.
The average poem takes me ten minutes to write and three to five hours to edit (or at least accept) and yet here was a poem that took about five minutes all told, and people actually liked it. How the hell could that even be possible? Did everyone start their day with a heavy session of glue sniffing? Possible, but not all that likely. This got me thinking…
Writing is what I’ve always turned to for freedom; freedom from depression; freedom from repression; freedom of expression; why should something so freeing by so overly constrained?
Yesterday – still surfing on a bit of an exhilaration high from Monday’s little experiment – on a whim, I decided to post a tiny excerpt from the novel I’m working on. Yes, it was a piece destined to die on the cutting room floor, but it was still a part of the big picture and since I haven’t let anyone so much as peek over my shoulder at what I’ve been working on, this was a very big deal for me personally.
And there it was again… that incredible rush… that feeling you can only get from doing something that scares the hell out of you. Just hitting the ‘publish’ button was akin to jumping out of a bloody airplane for me.
Does this mean that I have broken through to the other side – that my writer has wriggled herself free of terror? No. There is still a long way to go, but all of a sudden I can actually see her getting there, and I owe it all to one coincidental twist of fate, and a handful of strangers. You see… I only landed here because I was trying to distract myself from a serious downloading addiction… and I’m only sticking around because of the positive effect it’s having on me. I am grateful to all of you who take the time to read what I post. I am forever indebted to the beautiful people here that I have connected with and found inspiration in. I am humbled by (and eternally thankful for) all of my wonderful followers – who have doubled in a week, but I’m trying not to let that unnerve me – and I am especially grateful to the one who thought daring me would be amusing. Thanks to that one little push, my future may have been infinitely altered, and maybe – just maybe – I’m on the brink of finally scaling my last great obstacle.