Let Me Be Real

I’m going to be honest, here.

This blog has always been a way for me to play around with the ideas that run around my head. It is also a place where I practice writing and use all the random pictures that I take on my phone.

But, often, I avoid this place. I’ll have this great idea that I hash out on here once in a while, or I’ll have a trip like Romania that takes me off on my own to a far corner of the world, which makes writing easy because I’m isolated. I can pretend I’m the only one reading my words.

Then I’ll come back and fall into a routine and stop writing.

It drives me crazy.

This is what stops me from writing: there’s this weird voice in my head that tells me that I’m not legitimate enough to speak with authority on things. OR, even worse, that what I write here won’t line up with how I seem in real life. That really freaks me out.

This is not the blog where I’m not going to suddenly commit to writing here every single day or transform this blog into some personal brand space. I guess my “personal brand” is just me being real anyway. I tell stories and share my thoughts and perspectives. It’s just a slice of my corner of the world over here. I do, however, want to try to keep stepping out and simply sharing, despite how imperfect my words might seem to me.

This is the thing: I think it is a bit crazy that I avoid my own space out of fear of what others might think of me. And why should I be worried about matching real life to how I project myself through this screen? I’m not a jerk in real life- at least that’s not who I truly am. I’m introverted and a little shy, but if you are willing to be real with me, I’ll be your friend.

So what is the issue?

Writing is tricky because it necessitates a writer (the presumed “authority”) and a reader (the “absorber”). I guess I have a bit of a problem with that sometimes because I don’t always feel like my words have a ton of value. So I wait until I feel like I have a pithy story, or I get hit with inspiration. Inspiration is both something that is very common and very rare. It is around me every day, but the times that I actually sit down and channel that inspiration into good work is more rare.

The reason it is rare is because of fear and a pervasive perfectionism that too often stops me from being honest or sharing. I default to hiding my work, which isn’t fair to myself or to the reader.

Sharing anything creative publicly, whether it is writing or video or photographs or spoken words or a song, is scary. When you make something and hold it out to be seen, especially if there are some raw, honest parts in it, you open yourself up to a scary level of vulnerability. You are releasing some level of control. But, often, being vulnerable in a wise and humble way is really admirable and even helpful beyond your wildest imagination.

I’m in the middle of a season right now where I’m growing personally. I’m being challenged every day in my ability to listen to people, to speak with confidence, to share my ideas even if someone else might think they are stupid, and to be truly present and invested in the task at hand and the people in front of me. It’s tough. Some days I’m just terrible at it: I forget to text back, I get annoyed, I pretend I’m super busy when I’m not.

But some days I see the growth happening. Some days I do things very well: I take the extra time to listen, I speak with confidence, I volunteer even though I’m scared, I ask a question. It’s great. Every tiny victory gives me confidence and new perspective.

I call myself a writer and my philosophy on writing (whether that is journalism or creative non fiction or basically any type of written communication) is that it is about truth.

It’s not a power trip and it’s not a mask. It’s about connection and reality and, above all, truth.

 

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