I can feel the weight of 30 days of writing starting to bear down on me and it’s only day 6! It’s not that I have nothing to write about, it’s that I have a lot I could write about but I am apprehensive about what “others” will think. And that’s silly, but it’s true. Well, that’s the point of my 30 day blog challenge. A chance to tone down this internal notion that it matters what anyone else thinks.
Hurdle #1: Today I’m apprehensive about writing, but I’m going to write anyway.
A lot of things on my mind have been on my mind for a long time in some form or another. I have a busy brain, bubbling with thoughts, trying to make sense of my life and what I experience around me. One layer of thoughts digest, while another layer simmers and brews. It’s sometimes a conscious effort to stop some processes from leading me down rabbit holes. This blog challenge is only a matter of picking a topic and simply writing, which should be easy, right?
Back in the late 90’s I took some leadership classes through Context International, formerly Context Associated. Microsoft was paying for them and my manager was very supportive for my growth as a manager so I consumed as many courses as I could for fear the opportunity wouldn’t last. In one of the courses I remember the program leader explaining an exercise we each had to do. There was a lot of talk about “what others might think of you” and seriously, I did not understand why this statement was emphasized so much.
The exercise was in vulnerability and authenticity. We were to present and sell something personal about ourselves to the class (like art, poetry, etc). At the conclusion of the assignment, the program leader said to everyone something again relating to “not caring what the world out there thought,” and then adding “except for Audrey, who doesn’t really know there’s a world out there.”
This side remark stuck with me and I can now reflect on that statement with awareness. I think I have stepped into the sphere of knowing there is a world out there and occasionally fearing what comes back at me when I put something out into it. In fact, I find myself at times blissfully ignorant, consciously aware, and at other times hesitant and self conscious.
I believe most people come to this conscious realization in their teenage years or pre-teen years. It’s not that I didn’t come into the same like everyone else, it’s just that circumstances during those years kept pushing me deeper and deeper into a shell, until I didn’t want to see a world outside of me, and at it’s deepest-within me. Of course, it wasn’t conscious. It happened little by little over time that I barely knew it was happening at all.
As an outlet, I used to read, write, do puzzles, eventually, running and gaming (anyone remember Where in the World is Carmen Santiago?). My favorite authors were Nancy Drew, Judy Bloom, Stephen King, VC Andrews, stuff like that. When I started writing, I wrote short stories and poetry; juvenile and angsty stuff really, simple but in it’s simplicity truly revealing. I had a dark side, a sensitive side, a deeply intuitive side and a way of tapping into inanimate things and personifying them–giving them life as if without my ink, they would remain nothing but an object. Whenever a moment struck me, I wrote. The original, hand written writings remained a collection for many, many years.
And then one day, I shredded everything.
Another thing I learned from those leadership classes and through my own life experience is that we can build our own mental trenches. Maybe it was a tragedy what happened in my life when I was younger and into my adolescence, but the world is unforgiving and certainly has no memory of those things. Throwing myself into the real world, trying to see that a world actually exists and being strong enough to face the feedback coming back at me, well, it’s been a scary process. But, in this real world, to move beyond that past required changing the dialogue in my head.
Part of changing that dialogue was to let go of things that could be holding me back. It meant avoiding the mental trenches until they became unrecognizable. It meant building new pathways in the brain by making conscious efforts to stop certain thoughts and stay out of rabbit holes. It meant tackling this fear of putting out into the world thoughts that I wanted to share about things that I valued or found interesting. Finally, it meant being ok with who I was, where I was in life, and appreciating how far I allowed myself to come no matter what feedback came back at me.
Ultimately, I felt it was time to close that chapter of my life where the majority of those writings came from so I could move beyond those pages (plus, who wants to pack and move that stuff over and over again? Have you tracked the number of times I relocate?). It’s not clear to me if I lost a part of myself in that shredding process, but to console us both, I have to admit that I digitally transposed the poetry before I shredded the originals. They now exist on an external backup drive, and I hadn’t thought about them or looked through them in a long time.
I’m as curious as you to know what I will find interesting to share for the next 24 days because I know I’ll have other hurdles, but I also know I’ll get through it and be stronger for it. There are exciting things happening for me and I look forward to sharing. Meanwhile, I had a hard time picking one sample from my archives to share as a tribute to the past but I found something more or less fitting. I hope you enjoy it.
A MomentCaughtAbsorbed, ponderedSavored or repulsedIs only a momentCurrently fadingSeeming distantPast
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