Thursday, May 16, 2019

7 Truths and a Lie

Hello Invisible Audience,

I woke up in the middle of the night with such a deep desire to write that I found myself crying. I find it interesting: I write all the time, and can now say it’s my legit part-time gig that I use help cover the bills, but deep down in my soul I know the truth: the writing I’ve been doing doesn’t count. I mean, sure it counts in that it pays and it’s enjoyable. But it doesn’t count on a soul level; on an artistic level; on that fulfilling, earth-shattering level that it has in the past; that I want it to count for again.

So why haven’t I been writing? That’s a long story, but I’m going to try to condense it for you. I’ve already told you one truth; here are six more that perhaps explain my reticence.

1)   I’m afraid.
I’m afraid to write what really speaks to me: to bare my soul and write out loud. It has felt more difficult in the past several years than it did before, and that has stopped me. 
What am I afraid of? Oh gracious, so many things: that I will sound like a whiner, like a victim, like an ego maniac. That I will be flayed alive for what makes me feel the most vulnerable. Also, that unleashing myself could upset the delicate, hushed balance I have been trying to create and make life more complicated if I realize I don’t like this life I’ve built at all. 

2)   I want to be in control.
I want to control the responses to my writing, Invisible Audience: I want to control YOU. I want you to reach out and tell me how brave I am, but I don’t want you to advise me. I want a certain type of response, and that has stopped me from writing because once I’ve let it out into the ether I know that I have no control over what happens to my writing. If you decide to pity me because of what I write, or hate me or berate me, that is your choice, not mine. That knowledge has stopped me, despite a deep need to write. It has stopped me, despite the knowledge that there are always those you touch, and always those you don’t. It has stopped me, despite knowing, above all, that I need to write out loud for it to count.

3)   I want to look like I have my shit together.
I think every day about writing. I think about what I would write about; how I would present it; how I would state my case about the things that I think about and touch me every day. Then I think about how admitting some of those things will make it clear that I do not have it all figured out: that I struggle to feel like I have enough money, even if I always manage to pay my bills; that I battle with myself over whether I am justified to take the time, the money, the space that I need for my own self care. In this day of the curated social media profile, I struggle with admitting it’s not as pretty as it looks from my sparse postings.

4)   I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nancy
I recently learned a term I was in desperate need of: toxic positivity. This explains something I’ve long felt and haven’t been able to put my finger on. Every time I have a legitimate concern, struggle or distress, I get a voice in my head – through years of reading self-help books, I’m sure – that tells me that {sing song voice} I have to be positive if I want to have a positive life. This both enrages me and sucks the life out of me simultaneously. It has become yet another whipping stick to beat myself with. Life sucks sometimes. Change often comes to me as a result of taking a good, hard, honest look at what’s not working and making a change, not through Polly-Anna-ing around it and trying to live with it when it hurts. 

5)   I’m not saying this because I want to be fixed.
I’ve become weary of people offering up advice about how I can feel better when perhaps all I need was someone to witness my journey with me for a minute. I am not writing out loud because I’m seeking help. I have become very good at asking for what I need, and someone’s opinions on what I should do differently are not what I need when I write out loud. I do it for the same reason musicians decide to play and artists decide to draw or paint. It’s an art, and I want it out there. Maybe it will find and touch the right people, but mostly because it is not supposed to stay locked inside of me.

6)   Today’s world feels like sandpaper on my soul.
With all the things that are happening nationally and globally, today’s world feels hostile and hurtful. I am tired of feeling heartbroken, Invisible Audience. However, I’ve realized that closing off actually increases the heartbreak instead of decreasing it. Finding those that are willing to be vulnerable makes me feel better. The thing is, I need to show up as vulnerable in return to fully enjoy the exchange.

7)   I’m dropping everything that doesn’t speak directly to me.
To some extent, it feels like I’ve lost my own voice as I throw out messages and messengers whose words make no sense to me. I have been cutting out more than I’ve been adding in lately: I no longer believe everyone who speaks with conviction. It’s made my world smaller, although much more authentic.

So there are the truths; now here’s the lie that I am now trying to recognize and break through: the idea that I need to have a meaningful message before I can write. The idea that I have to be any different than I am to write to you, Invisible Audience. The idea that there’s anything wrong with me, or that there’s anywhere else I’m supposed to be standing, besides right here, right now, with you.

Love and truthful kisses,

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