Authenticity is Hard
I'm having a bit of a hard time.
When I first setup this website, I started digging through my Dropbox, old email accounts, and hard drives looking for samples of my writing to share. Even though I feel like I've been writing in some capacity for as long as I can remember, I foolishly have not been very organized about my work and as a result, what I have saved over the years is spread all over my digital footprint. I eventually came across a few relatively recent pieces from my Tumblr account and then, the mother lode- a Word document with my old MySpace blog, circa 2005. I was floored by some of the writing I found there, more specifically floored by the authenticity and vulnerability found therein, particularly in contrast to all the newer pieces I'd found on my Tumblr.
This 21 year old version of me was either entirely fearless or naively didn't understand how the internet worked. Every single one of my deepest, darkest thoughts was on those pages, gloriously rich in detail and dripping in angst. Like most creatives, I am my own worst critic, and a lot of the time when I revisit my writing, I am mentally going over it with a red pen, adding a sentence here, removing a sentence there, etc. But this writing was different. This writing was so raw, so honest that it was captivating and beautiful in a way my newer pieces severely fell short of. The beauty of this revelation is that part of what's kept me from moving forward with writing more recently is that the act itself had started to feel safe and wasn't the creative purge I so desperately sought- I knew I could string together some pretty prose, but I also knew on a deeper level, I wasn't really saying anything. The words felt hollow. And while I thought the feeling came from a place of insecurity in my abilities, I realized after seeing my 21 year old self's honest words pop off of the page that the feeling was a warning- you can do better. This isn't your voice. Find it.
Part of the journey that I'm on now both in writing and in life is singularly kind of focused around authenticity, so it makes sense that any previous forays into writing have been clipped by my inability to be truthful. My inability to leave my heart on the page and be vulnerable. And my need to structure each piece in uniform ways, which hinders my creativity and ultimately, leaves me more concerned with how the words flow than what the words say. This has got to end.
I'm can't promise that it'll end tomorrow, but one thing I'm still learning is that truths once known can never be unknown again. Once you figure something out, you begin to live in the tension between knowing and not changing, and it's uncomfortable, and that's by design. This is the journey. And if I can't be authentic and vulnerable and honest with myself, I'll never be able to expose my soul to anyone else, and that's unacceptable to me.
I am committing to leaving my soul on these pages. To show you who I really am in all of it's beautiful, messy glory. To dangerously expose parts of my heart that I've deemed unsafe for public consumption. And in doing so, my sincere hope is that the high permeates every fiber of my being and the bravery begets freedom, both in the written word and in life.
Let's do this.