Even though, I started my blog a year ago, I have kept it very quiet from my friends and family; I believe sharing my deepest thoughts and creative side can be a very scary feeling. Making a category on my blog and posting some of my essays for original non-fiction writings is like walking into a stadium full of people and realizing I forgot to put clothes on. First, there will be a quick hush among everyone. Some will be frightened for me and others will be frightened by what they see. Others will cheer for my bravery and others will cheer because it wasn’t them that foolishly exposed themselves in public. In a stadium, I may have the chance to turn around and run and pray no one recognized me (though social media would capture my hideous mistake for eternity and track me down to find out who I am, so they could torture me with the photos and videos until the dire end), but by putting my writing and art out in the universe for my family and friends to see, I risk them seeing a part of me that they do not like.
Last Spring, I shared with a professor that the part of growing older that I hate the most is that I wonder if the person someone is sharing with me is their true authentic self. The professor chuckled and said authentic people are an illusion and that I need to quit setting my standards so high. This put me on a quest of really wondering if the ones closest to me, at work and in private, were truly authentic. I learned that a lot of the people I looked up to were not truly authentic, but I also found a great deal of people who were. However, in this quest, I remembered something my mom told me when I was a teenager. I tended to be a very judgmental teenager and even broke up with a guy because he yelled “Damn” at me when we were on a scary carnival ride and he thought I was silly for being so scared. My mom asked me if I was perfect and I laughed and said “far from it”. She quickly replied, “Then it was time I stopped judging others so harshly.”
Thinking back about this, I realize in my quest to find authentic relationships that I, myself, may not be completely authentic, and if I am ever going to be a true artist, then I need to own up to the fact that being a published author (other than my research studies) is my ultimate dream; a published author of a body of work that many others want to truly read. However, after I posted my dreams on my Facebook account, I literally became ill wondering if anyone was reading my non-fiction writing and if they were reading them, were they enjoying them or were they judging the life I used to live? I spent the weekend frozen in time barely being able to do anything. All I could picture was that stadium full of people staring at me and whispering to each other as I stood there and froze to death, naked and ashamed.
There’s nothing like a Monday morning to thaw me out. I tend to wake up on Mondays and panic about what I did not get accomplished the week before. This morning, I woke up barely being able to move, I had wrenched my back somehow and was in so much pain that I could not sit up. As I carefully applied icy hot, I thought about what I did to cause it. That’s when I had my “aha” moment and remembered frantically running from the stadium, naked and ashamed. Yet, it was too late – when I shared my writing, I did it on the internet, so there was no covered back room to run to. What happens now?
Next, I took some ibuprofen to help with the pain and made some hot tea and contemplated what the universe might have in store for such an idiot. Before I could think anymore, I retreated to my Tumblr. That’s where I disappear when I want to see what everyone else is looking at. I learned quickly that there were not any photos posted of me in the stadium that I had conjured in my mind; the worst that could happen is that someone does not approve. But for most of my life I have been a people pleaser, so disapproval is like a knife in my back.
I also realized this morning that I do not like waking up in excruciating pain either, so I knew I was at a crossroads. What now? I thought about this and asked myself, “What would Bob Marley say?” Good question! Bob Marley said “Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you are riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!”
There’s no taking back what I shared this weekend unless I deleted my blog, but if I was honest with myself, I want to create, I want to write, I want to help others, I want to live! At that moment, I started creating the above image on my computer; I have spent the last seven years struggling to find the light that is waiting to take me to the next part of my life. Today, I finally can see a glimpse of that light hitting my face, and whether others like me or hate me, I am ready for my next chapter. For better or worse – sink or swim – Look out world, here I come!