I haven’t written in a while.
I’ve wanted to, of course. I really did.
Every time I started typing or scribling in my journal, the worlds just seemed to get jumbled. It was messy, much like my life over the last few months. And messy doesn’t get published; messy gets critiqued until it’s clean enough to share. Messy gets torn apart word by word. It gets marked up with red ink and obsessed over by people who can be pretty unsympathetic. You spend so much time chosing words that somehow give meaning to your emotions, and often you’re told you’ve chosen all of the wrong ones, or they’re all misspelled, or that your writing should be more sophisticated and meaningful.
When life gets messy, my writing gets messy, and I retreat for a while until I have my shit together and have something meaningful to convey with beautiful, flawless words.
“It’s not for everyone else. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just write for yourself. It’s your own coping mechanism. It doesn’t matter what it looks like.” I’ve heard it a million times in a milion ways from friends and family and counselors.
It’s well-meaning, and even somewhat true. But I can be my own worst critic, the most unkind editor of my life and my writing.
The truth is, I’m writing this from the other side of the valley. I can look across with perspective and find encouragement and hope because I’ve learned from the unhealthy decisions I’ve made.
I’m sitting here with writers block again. I just re-read what I had previously written for this post (written over 24 hours ago); where was I going with that? I’m sure it had a point, but I’ve lost it. Something about how being raw and vulnerable in writing is scary and I’m sure the conclusion was going to say something about how that’s bullshit. Right.
What’s the point in writing, anyway? I just spent a little bit of time re-reading everything I’ve posted to WordPress in the last 365 days. To be honest, it’s like looking at several different photographs of yourself and realizing that you don’t recognize anyone in the pictures. And more than that, they definitely don’t look like the person you see when you look in the mirror. And what was I thinking? I used a life example that wasn’t even previously mentioned (except for on facebook)* to illustrate a point in a story that thousands of people read and probably didn’t understand.
I’m sitting at my kitchen table across from my fantastic roommate right now, with PBR and the FUN pandora station playing and the sun kind-of-sort-of starting to go down in the view of our enormous and wonderful window. I stopped to go change my laundry to the dryer, and I came back with an idea.
What if I could just learn to share the little things? Not that people are interested in what I’m having for dinner (which is pork fennel pasta, by the way). But what if I’m just honest about things that matter? What if I learn how to be okay with not having a resolution, and not being the girl who is always learning these grand life lessons and writing them down?
I wrote yesterday that I was on the other side of my mess, and I don’t think that was entirely truthful. I’m still not ready to share the messy parts of my life. I’m thankful for the people close enough to see me in the midst of my messiness and encourage my heart, but my heart isn’t ready to invite everyone in. Not everyone is as kind as the really beautiful people I call my best friends.
I do, however, believe that one can live in honest community that points you to the truth- even on the internet. I don’t want to pretend I have all of the answers anymore. I want to invite people to dialogue about the things that may be messy in their lives- but things they are maybe willing to share.
To start with,
- Do you consider yourself “a creative”? Whether you are or you aren’t, have you ever felt threatened by the creative community? Felt that your writing, photographs, dance, paintings, etc. didn’t compare to the work of others? Or maybe that they were too real, or too honest, or too vulnerable?
-Do you believe that you are a self-aware person- aware of your flaws and opportunities? In the wake of having an understanding of what your flaws are, how do you keep yourself from being self-deprecating? How do you balance confidence and humility?
-What are your “coping mechanisms”? How healthy do you think they are, and have they always been as healthy/unhealthy as they are now?
Thank you for reading this post, and making your way to the messy end. I really want to hear your answers to these questions, and want you to feel free to ask your own. Thank you for entering into honest community seeking Truth and meaning. The world is more beautiful with you in it. Here’s to living an un-edited life.
So much love, so much hope,
*The life-example referenced here is the one where the girl stole the caramel bottle, mentioned in Musings of a Recovering People Pleaser. Honestly, that particular story is much better explained in person, and is funnier to people who work at Starbucks.