can i tell you a secret? i am so insecure about this whole damn project. i’m like, “everybody is going to hate every word i write. nobody is going to share this on fb. i am done. time to quit and go be a bartender.” AND KNOWING SHIT ABOUT BLOGGING IS MY FREAKING JOB.
Knowing shit about blogging is my freaking job. And still, after years of sitting here in front of this screen, I am constantly nearly-convinced that I have nothing to say.
After all, how self-indulgent is it to write for 31 days in a row about my own life? What could possibly be interesting about that? Wake up, coffee, do dad stuff, lunch, do work stuff, coffee, supper, kids’ bedtime, beer, more work stuff, Netflix. Feelings. Thoughts. I’m sad. Now I’m happy. I’m tired. I want to quit. Try again tomorrow.
How am I going to write about that for 31 days, and why in the world would anyone read it?
Somewhere in the back of my mind is the constant nagging fear that I’m done, that I’m washed up, burned out, over. I’ve played out my schtick, outlived my boyish charm, and am not aging gracefully. I should quit before I embarrass myself, before I bore you to tears.
The voices in my head have one piece of advice for me about writing, and it’s simple: “Don’t do it.”
“Don’t try to write for 31 days; you’re too busy.”
“Don’t talk about your life; you’re too boring.”
“Don’t be vulnerable; you’re too too much of a mess.”
But if I could give myself one piece of advice about writing, it’d be simple too: “Don’t listen to the voices in your head.”
Yesterday somebody asked me how I do it, how I just crack my chest open and blurt out the shit that most people keep closely guarded and always locked down.
Practice, I said.
Then I rambled about Brené Brown and shame and vulnerability and how I have nothing left to lose.
I’ve been sitting here for a long time now ungluing masks and tearing away layers of skin and trying to be honest with you, but mostly trying to be honest with myself.
Vulnerability is learned. Honesty is learned. And they’re worth learning.
It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot until it feels fairly worn out. But if you’ve ever sat down with your fingers hesitating just above the keys and the voices in your head screaming at you to run away and hide, if you’ve ever sworn at the voices to shut the fuck up and started letting the words flow out of your fingertips, if you’ve ever published the things that you can barely say out loud in the mirror, you know why we use that word.
Because our biggest critics aren’t the people on the internet who may or may not read the shit we write. It’s not the jackasses who leave drive-by insults in the comments. Our biggest critics are ourselves.
And being human means facing yourself — with all your the baggage and fears and head-voices — and saying,
“Maybe. Maybe I’m washed up, played out. Maybe I’m boring. Maybe I’m a mess. But maybe I don’t care. Maybe this is practice, to be vulnerable. To be brave. Maybe I still have something to say. And maybe people will ready it, or maybe they won’t. And that’s ok because maybe I just need to say it to myself.”
published October 2, 2015
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