“To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”
I want to touch upon a touchy subject. I find that human beings are a curious bunch. We deny our truths in many ways. I remember going to one of the first gatherings for writers I ever attended. I was timid as a mouse…and intimidated. Why? Because, after all, I wasn’t a “real writer”. What in God’s good earth was I doing attending something for writers. But it dared me out of my “closet” in the workshop I had received from the local bookshop. The workshop was held at a local coffee shop and I was thrilled at the thought of going. The book being promoted was called, Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction, and Other Dilemnas In the Writer’s Life. Bonnie Friedman, the author, would be leading and the little blue card said the workshop would address “problems facing writers and will offer ways to work through them”. I must have read that postcard enough times that if my eyes were lasers, it would have been long disintegrated. It was the beginning of a journey for me, a slow awakening to my own voice.
But, I want to ask you this: How do you deny your own experience?
How do you keep your voice from developing?
How do you step on your own toes in your creative pursuits?
How do you stay true to your unique experience?
How do you keep from letting your voice be suppressed? Denied?
So often we minimize our experience by saying things like, “Oh, I’m not a real writer, blogger, artist…”
or maybe you deny your experience in a more daily way, like at the office, in the classroom, on the job, in a close relationship or with a relative.
One of the most powerful tools for fine tuning your personal expressive self is by keeping a journal. The kind that allows you to work through the journey of becoming, and does not shrink back from hard things, the unbecoming, and unlovely. Often a way we can deny ourselves, our very souls, is by making our journal another place to perform. Another tool in which we measure our worth, coming up short, or perhaps finding satisfaction in the beautiful prose we’ve set forth, but never really allowing ourselves to be made vulnerable at the end of our pens. Never letting the truth leak onto the paper, never allowing ourselves to confront ourselves. We refuse to unmask, like the woman who refuses to leave home without a full face of makeup.
It’s easy to live your whole life exchanging masks, never allowing your truest self to rise to the surface. It is possible to starve a soul. Don’t let your journal be a place of performance but instead of powerful personal life changes played out upon the pages.
I challenge you to let your journal be a place of brave reflection and soul searching. At the end of the day, it’s what really matters. What happened in the unseen places of your heart, not where you went, what you did, and the weather. These things have their place, but the soul must have it’s own place of progression, and expression. As the body needs a place to exercise to be healthy, the blank page can provide a place of healthy exercise.
Check out Bonnie’s book for anyone who would like some encouragement for their own personal or public writing and read about my experience at this event twenty- something again.: Why Do You Write?
Oh, and you really ARE a writer, even if you never share your writing with another soul. You may be a closet variety writer, but if you write, you are a writer. That is my story and I am sticking to it. Define yourself. Don’t let anyone else define you.