I was trying to find one of my favorite quotes the other day and after trying the first line into the search bar, to my surprise, Google pulled up a link to my blog. With the gift of being able to see something I had created with fresh eyes, I re-read this post I had written months before, receiving the words as Reader, not Author.
I was so encouraged.
I often question myself when it comes to what I write and share. I wonder at my motivations. I feel leery at my keen interest in the stat page on my dashboard. I cringe at the prospect of sounding pompous, trite, or cliche.
Simultaneously, I wonder what it matters– adding one more voice, saying so many things that have already been said. Certainly, there is nothing original in what I write, just a girl musing out loud about what things seem like.
Fear of being too much. Fear of not being enough. Those familiar voices.
But at the end of the day, good or not, original or derivative, writing is a gift to me. It is cathartic to put words to the internal waves, weaving together themes and threads swirling in my head. It is by speaking out loud that I learn the truth that is inside.
And on the other side of the questioning of motivations, aren’t the motivations to not share, to not be vulnerable, equally devious? It’s certainly safer to stay quiet. See? These are the conversations that I have in my head. And then I just write them out and sometimes post them. In hopes that someone else will have a “You too? I thought I was the only one.” moment. Or I’ll have that with myself, a few months later as I stumble upon what I’ve written.
I am coming to realize that when I stop needing to be “original” or “do something impressive” is when I am actually able to thrive. It frees me up to engage in what makes me come alive. When I’m less focused on the outcome, I’m more able to tell my own truth. Insert brilliant C.S. Lewis quote here:
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed.”
But choosing to engage in that which makes your soul more vibrant is a brave endeavor. Voices of doubt and fear creep in quickly. Oh the voices, (are you familiar?) that tell you that you are being self-indulgent, wasting time, being selfish. Oh the pile of shoulds that bombard me when I’m trying to create space to be human- to play, to rest, to create.
But let’s think about this for a minute- call to mind the people who deeply inspire you. The people who shape the ways you think, the ways you see the world. Aren’t they who they are, doing what they’re doing, inspiring and influencing their world they chose to do what was life-giving to them?
Rather than rolling our eyes at their self-indulgence, we feel deep gratitude towards those who chose to foster that which gave them life. We’re so glad the poets and artists, the clowns and mystics didn’t think only of practicality. So happy that those authors, those revolutionaries didn’t hold back and didn’t tame down the truth they felt burning inside of them when it was inconvenient or hard.
So this girl with not much, and yet everything to say, I will once again hit the “Publish” button. Content with remaining ordinary, realizing my worth is not derived from what I produce, I will continue to live out loud, create my art, tell the truth that is mine to tell.