This is my first blog entry. A blog about blogging seemed appropriate as I struggled with wrapping my head around the new venture of ripping open my soul like a velcro wound, and pouring the contents onto a public forum. I find myself transitioning from pushing away the tangents in my head to welcoming and indulging each diatribe, like a grandparent indulges a bratty child. It seems forbidden, indulgent, and not prudent – but completely satisfying. Like an earned forbidden pleasure, I run to the notebook – or pull it out at inopportune social moments – to capture the thought, quip, or potential rant at the moment it blossoms from somewhere in my overworked head, happy to get a few moments of amusement within a schedule of rote obligation.
There was a time when I ignored these seedlings in my head, letting them whither from lack of attention and die from starvation. Nurturing the tangents in my head would be silly and frivolous, and I wasn’t creative anyway. Hey, I grew up with literary masterpieces being foisted upon me and I, as an English major, was supposed to have been inspired by the renowned works, and somehow not buried under overwhelm. Under the shadow of Shakespear, Tolstoy, Plath and Poe, reading the world renowned literature was supposed to make me try my hand at publishing ANYTHING, and not make me feel toppled under a mountain of inadequacy and self-mutilating perfectionism. I couldn’t even understand Shakespear half of the time, let alone be inspired by it. And actual plot lines? I could analyze, report and research – but making up a fictitious scenario….well, that was for fantasy, sci-fi types, Dungeons and Dragons players, and Star Wars fanatics.
Yes, I thought creativity was for sci-fi types and artists – meaning VISUAL artists – and I coveted their talent like one longs for the person, car or circumstance of their dreams. I had to stay within the square lines. On the social writers’ scale, I was the Honey Boo-boo of Americana, not the Kasey Catanzaro. Furthermore, my perfectionism pierced my efforts like a new hunter eagerly slashing threw his first kill. Well, luckily my love of The Onion got my mind over the misconception that creativity meant having to write Alice in Wonderland, and I realized that I was not abjectly void of this coveted trait. After an insanely rediculous amount of wasted time, I finally had enough of beating myself up, slashed my perfectionism like a first kill, and replaced it with the much healthier realization that my words are, indeed, OK – first draft and all. My creativity, unique brand that it is, has somehow surfaced and taken its identity among my other long held traits – such as blinding insecurity.
One book that I will be forever grateful for that awakened my long held creativity from its prison is The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. I cannot remember how I found this soul-changing book. I think it was a soul-searching perusal through my local library (remember those things?) where fate or God had me lay my eyes on it. I remember taking that book home and not being able to put it down. After trying out the author’s famed morning pages, I had the most trippy, technicolor dreams you can imagine, after which i would wake up elated. I was creative after all!!! My writing exploded with quotabe quotes, cool analogies and engaging tirades that would rival a Steven King novel. Ok, maybe not a Steven King novel COMPLETELY, but close.
Unfortunately still I surpressed my latent writing desire in favor of more lucrative and socially acceptable activities. Like all good conditioning, my discovery and burgeoning confidence in my writing ability extinguished, and I eventually shrunk back to my old ways. Writing would be hidden again, in a vault somewhere in the recesses of my soul. Until life got real.
Real in the sense that I needed a change in vocation and in philosophy. I realised that I did, indeed, need to write – and whether I could actually get any reimbursement for it mattered less than the actual writing. Enter the blog. For an intravert like myself, the idea of putting anything, let alone my inner most thoughts on the internet seemed frightening – exposure at its extreme. But that’s where a much needed philosophy change began to take root. I realized that even if you keep your cards cose to your heart there are people in this life who will find a way to pierce your heart. I’ve never escaped that in this life – in EVERY phase of my life. Therefore, I might as well EXPRESS myself if that’s going to happen, because at least I’ll be cultivating my voice and will have spoken my peace before the next back stabbing or soul-crushing betrayal..and in the process I might just build a thicker armour against it.
At any rate, life is too short to NOT express yourself, or to hide in the Shade……..