What if?

I am going to start a new tag.

It’s going to be called “What If”.

The voice thing has been screwing with my head again.

I realised, yesterday, what part of the screwiness was about. It lies in the disconnect between what I am now blogging and what is going on in my head. There is a lag, I think, between my old style of writing and where I have moved in the last six months. A disparity between what I am confident about putting into words and what I am learning about the other parts of myself.

I am as safe in my writing as I have been in my life; and, in both cases, recently, it has left me feeling as though I don’t have a voice.

The realisation has been quite painful.

Despite all my learning, I am still caged by the need to be accepted and afraid of sticking my neck out –

Sometimes.

Sometimes. And at other times I really enjoy the debate.

This is not reflected in my writing. I have tempered my views with caution and cushioned my words in subjectivity. I have avoided getting into political discussions (because what do I know) or pursuing the subjects that interest me (because other people are far better equipped); have shied away from disagreement and punctuated my opinions with “I don’t know” or “maybe”. I have prioritised positivity (because I have spent so long challenging negativity) and emphasised possibility (because I adamantly believe in the importance of hope), which is fine –

Only it ’s not me. Or not all of me.

And so I am taking down the boundaries for a while.

What if I put my opinions into words, even if I know that others may disagree?

What if I randomly followed my curiosity and explored some of the ideas that have gripped my mind?

What if I wrote poetry? Or swore? Or shared a crazy idea? Or jumped from one voice to another? Or moved between stories and concepts without worrying which style was “right”?

I am beginning to realise that I have been mistaking consistency for authenticity – and that where we are different from others is as important as where we are the same.

I am a little embarrassed that it has taken me so long to reach this conclusion. It is only the courage to act on this learning that is harder to see.

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6 responses to “What if?

  1. Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity, whose posts I sometimes adore and sometimes get nothing from, wrote a doozy today on change. He used a quote from Maya Angelou: “The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind,” and talked about how hard it can be to leave a place of comfort. If it was easy to continually claw our way out of the successive cocoons we tend to build around ourselves, then everyone would be doing it.

    Reading you helps me do my clawing. You awe me. So recognize that what you’re doing has that affect, nod at the mirror with a smirk, and keep clawing!

    • This is what I love about the internet. And I read you and I want to think about politics and poetry and how much I’d like my writing to be that brave!

      I have built quite thick cocoons over the years and the thing that astounds me now is that, despite change being scary, it is scarier for me to feel stuck or caged. I guess this is what the frustration is from and so yes, I’ll keep clawing. No idea what that will lead to but it feels like there’s another step somewhere pretty close by.

      Thanks for such a lovely comment. xx

  2. Really interesting thoughts and you’ve kind of got to the core of something that bothers me a lot as I put myself out there in the ‘real world’ and online.

    “Mistaking consistency for authenticity.” – that is a powerful, true point and a great bit of wisdom. “Where we are different from others is as important as where we are the same.” is also another brilliant statement, Issa. Too much sameness gets bland, and there’s a beauty in moving around variety (personality, opinion, taste, culture, whatever) is the spice of life.

    Altogether, it might be a bit dangerous (you might upset someone, be thought of as odd or say or express something totally stupid) but it’s worth it if in the process you’re true to yourself, explore your identity a bit and aren’t constrained by fear and boundaries. Thanks for the post, and I always look forward to hearing your Voice, totally liberated. (Even if it’s saying things I don’t agree with or find downright crazy.) 😀

    New mantra: “What if…”

    • The two realisations have been really key for me but I’m still figuring out what they translate to. You’ve hit the nail on the head with “too much sameness is bland” – and yet I have always been stuck between a strong desire to conform and an equally strong aversion to following the crowd. Catch 22 😉

      I have no idea what my voice liberated will be like but if it feels like it’s missing bits of me, I guess that means there’s more that I have to explore… What if indeed 🙂

  3. Looking forward to what you say and how you say it.

  4. Thanks Evan 🙂

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