Friday, February 22, 2013

pushing myself until it's uncomfortable

Writer Print

I started a series over a month ago—Marriage and Baby: Not for the Weak. I was really excited about it, mostly because it pushed me as a writer. The series is personal and intimate—it covers topics I haven't delved into in my writing before and a level of honesty that far surpasses my already TMI style. My decision to write about my struggles with anxiety, commitment, childhood trauma, the dark hours of my relationship with my husband, trying to conceive (which automatically means talking about sex), pregnancy, and childrearing makes sense to me. Yes, I feel exposed and anxious about putting it all out there for the world to react to. But, this is exactly what drives me as a person. 

I am excited by and drawn towards the things that scare me most. I always have been. The place where those two emotions intersect (excitement and fear) is where life happens. That is the place that changes you, enriches your experience, lights you up, and propels you forward. That is the place where I am uncomfortable, but need to live.

And I am writer. I have been a writer since the day my most beloved High School English teacher, Mr. Diamond, kept me after class to tell me that he had been moved to tears by something I wrote and he began referring to me as a "writer." He also confessed that he had been passing my essays around the teacher's lounge, because he thought I had a message and a beauty that needed to be shared and he hoped that I'd understand why he did this. I wasn't upset, I was honored. I was intrigued by my ability to affect someone outside myself. I had felt so powerless and unimportant in my life. Always. I felt like no one really knew me…my truth was unseen and unheard.  

Writing was a solution—it was healing and empowering. And I loved it. So, I kept doing it. And I kept sharing. Sharing my work was always scary, especially for a shy, introverted girl like me. I tested the waters by sharing my essays with my father. He cried every time he read them. When I went off to college, I began to share my writing with my peers. From there, my passion grew and though I've tried, in numerous ways, to be something other than a writer (and photographer, because that began the very same year), I can only be who I am.

But, I get bored sometimes. And when I am bored it usually means that I need to dig deeper, I need to grow or I've lost my direction. Because to be a good writer you have to push yourself to a place that feels less than comfortable (at least I think so). Honesty has many layers, as I've discovered so intensely over the past few years. Every time I think I'm writing from a place of total honesty and exposure, there always seems to be another layer underneath that I hadn't seen before. 

So, I started this mini-series as a way to push myself and to share something even more personal than my usual repertoire. I turned the first post of the series out almost immediately upon hatching the idea in my brain. And I began writing the next post shortly thereafter. But. I've been holding it hostage for over a month now. The topic was conception, and surprisingly it was much harder to write about than I anticipated. I've rewritten that piece so many times that I've now lost track of how many versions I've gone through. The truth is, I'm entirely uncomfortable with the whole thing—the quality of what I've written, the story itself, the exposure. So, I've decided to just stop holding back and put it out there. That might sound crazy, but it is my way of remaining committed to myself, and honoring the passion and path I have been given. What other choice do I have? Personally, I cannot live a life of turning my back on myself. Not anymore, at least. So, I'm going to trek forward….

Come back Monday for the very overdue Marriage and Baby: Not for the Weak sequel! The topic of this next post turned out to be much meatier than I anticipated. So, I will be breaking up the story by posting a chunk of it every day next week. Get ready for TMI multiplied! 

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