Practice is “repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.” When it comes to writing, I practice with the intention of mastery. Not over grammar or sentence structure. I will surely never manage such a feat. I want to master the art of giving what is real in a way that is digestible, leaving the reader wanting just a bit more. I intend to share my heart.
My problem is that recently I’m writing and sharing from a place that normally turns me into a recluse: transition anxiety, loose ends, success not yet attained. From my hiding spot, I usually watch the parade, being careful to remain invisible until resolution has been reached, until I can look back at the process, pull out a kernel of a already-lived-and-dealt-with reality and give it breath. Only then do I offer my thoughts for display, or so it has always been.
Allowing myself to be “heard” at a time when I used to stay quiet, I fumble, give too much, stumble, stutter on the page like the typical social misfit at a party, the one who can’t think of anything better than his shoe size to share when small talk fades into awkward pauses. It is this, I finally want to be a writer more than I have ever wanted to be anything.
At nearly every endeavor, be it skating, gymnastics, playing flute, etc. I have shown natural talent. But I have been able to walk away, content with reaching mediocrity, happy to find that at this stage in my life I have interesting stories of competitions and shows to share with my children and those I teach. Always, I’ve been content to either develop a talent little by little, as is the case with acting, storytelling, and teaching, or quit, like I did with sports and music.
Writing is the exception, the one thing I have worked at consistently, my whole life, pretty much since I could form letters. You know, I haven’t just quit sports, I’ve quit over fifty jobs, several relationships that I probably shouldn’t have been in anyway, and countless residences. There used to be a running joke, “Where in the world is Heidi now?” I laughed, hiding a shadow of “quitters” shame that followed me everywhere.
The truth is, Heidi was filling a notebook with the contents of her being, staying up too late, getting it all down on paper, sleeping through the alarm next morning, too embarrassed to show up to work late or ever again, thus being unemployed and on the hunt once more. My past is a predictable pattern of unpredictability that looks like lack of respect for responsibility. In reality, I’ve steadfastly marched to the beat of a different drummer. So be it. Only in my thirties have I been able to begin to accept this uniqueness/inability to just go along, and use it to build a life that makes sense. Thank God for my equally ill-fitting-with-societal-norms husband.
Today, shame still in tact, anxiety around my shoulders like a second skin, I am not hiding, waiting until I feel worthy to share what I’ve created out of the rubble and gems of yesterday. I’m speaking up in the midst of it, joining the chorus of life regardless of my insecurities. Does quality suffer? I am quite sure it does, hopefully only temporarily, until I learn to hear my voice through the haze of discomfort while being seen at loose ends. Maybe then, I will be closer to mastery.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Maryanne Williamson
Beautiful image found here