Will My Real Inner Voice Please Stand Up

At a recent write-in meeting where a group of us writers gathered to well, write, someone mentioned how there are already so many stories and books out there and so many more on the way.  So why are we doing this, what’s the point?

I had been having thoughts along the same line myself, but not just about writing.  Anything that I have an interest in, whether it’s writing, astrology, music, or even Excel spreadsheets, there are already so many other people doing it and even better than I could ever hope to.  Who wants to work hard to be mediocre, to just be lost in the crowd of one of many.  This leads me to feeling defeated before I’ve even had a chance to begin.

While the feeling was swirling around in the background in myself, I had no answer or response to it, as if it was the whole of the argument.  That there was nothing left to be said about it, only something to come to peace with.

But when the question came from someone outside of me, surprisingly an answer came to my lips.

Every person has a unique way of viewing the world.  All 7+ billion people could write the same story and none of them would be the same.  Provided that all 7+ billion people had found their own unique self inside and had learned how to give it a voice.  That’s the difference for me (I realized in hindsight) between feeling defeated by my writing and it bringing me immense joy; which voice am I using?

Writing for me has always been about self therapy and helping me to find my voice.  I write myself silly when I’m alone trying to get all of the garbage and conditioning out of me so that maybe some room will be made inside of me to hear what it is that I have to say.

Sometimes I drift away and forget why I write and then it becomes more about trying to write for other’s enjoyment, when the only way it really works for me is when I write for my own enjoyment.

It’s not easy for me to keep a hold of myself and what I really feel and think.  Everyday I’m bombarded with so many opinions and popular beliefs of others in the world, that the delicate thoughts and feelings of myself (when I’m not around or influenced by anyone else), start to get buried and I forget that I didn’t feel like others did to begin with, especially if I’m tired and worn down by life.

Which I have felt tired and worn down the last couple of years.  I feel a little frustrated with me that I’ve lost ground and have to start the steady climb back up to uncover myself from all of the crap (news/politics, thoughtless/parroted opinions, awareness programs, shaming, etc.) going around, for the umpteenth time in order to rediscover my own voice.

But I know I have one.  I know how much joy writing brings me when I’ve found that voice and start using it, and so I know that while I’m tired of climbing this mountain, it’s completely worth it in the end. {Just keep swimming}  <– I’m trying to swim up mountains, maybe that’s a part of my problem.

I find that with anything I do, my motivation can’t be about doing it to be the best or for any kind of recognition at all.  It has to be because it brings meaning into my life.  Because it’s something that nourishes my spirit and soul.  Because it helps me find the places in which I’m in hiding and covered up, and washes it away so that I’m renewed.  Because I think ultimately what I want (if you were to hold me down and make me put it into words), is to give my soul an uninhibited voice in this world.

I feel the truer me inside rattling the prison bars that I’ve put her in with what has become too limited of thinking that I have arrived at with so much grief about things turning out as they did with my family.  Overwhelm of emotion and a feeling of powerlessness over what happened in my life led to parts of me having to shut down temporarily so that I could process everything in smaller chunks and gulps instead of trying to take it all in at once.  Necessary for short-term survival, yes, but it’s not an appropriate place to live permanently.

And so comes the uncomfortable part of the process, where it’s time to start walking beyond the hurt and grief and stretch myself back to more wide open skies so that I can see and breathe again.  Otherwise, my grief will become a habit and I’ll be stuck there for the rest of my life.  I have to rejoin life again even if I have to go kicking and screaming the whole way.

This part requires more courage on my part than surviving the hard times, because it requires that I trust in life and love again after being shown just how ugly life can sometimes get.  It requires that I trust in something bigger than myself.  It requires vulnerability at the deepest level.

Vulnerability because there are no promises that I won’t be subjected to something painful again.  There’s no way life can promise that.  But if I don’t take that risk or chance, then I also won’t get to know love anymore because closing to one, closes me to the other.

I didn’t go through all I’ve gone through to be here (being born, surviving puberty, etc.) just to lock up and die a slow death inside of myself just because tough things happen.  I came here to accomplish something and that something requires that I be of sound mind and health.  It requires that I be alive and feel all of the things that come with being alive, and not just the things that I want to feel, but ALL of the feelers.

Only when I reach that more balanced state in myself, only when I have healed myself, am I capable of beginning to understand and figure out what it is that I came here to do.  Until I’ve rediscovered myself and my voice, I don’t really have that much to offer anyone else.  I don’t have advice, solid opinions, clear perspective.  All I can really do is parrot what I’m hearing from others (or sharing confusing muddled half opinions of my own), and I don’t like doing that.  That makes me feel like a plastic robot and my soul yells and scratches me up from the inside in protest when I do that.

My authentic self, my truer voice, is what I’m searching for and the only way I want to express myself.  Which I *have* learned doesn’t necessarily mean being blunt, callous, defensive, etc.  I’m learning a softer more agreeable way.  One that works much better for me as well as others.  <–  It’s a process of trial and error.  So while I don’t like sharing anything less than my truer voice, I have to start somewhere which means practice and showing the messy road that leads me back there.

But it is *that* voice I feel is worth sharing in the world, even if it gets lost in the sea of a million other voices.  I am okay with that, because I’ve known no greater joy and satisfaction in life than when I’ve found and am using that voice.  And that’s something that comes from within me and that I have control over.  It doesn’t require that anyone else around me change or do anything differently.

when-you-find-your-voice-your-life-takes-on-grace-quote

And That Was Something New Too

I recently came across some old writings from the November 2010 NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) in which you have the 30 days of November to write a 50,000 word novel.  The point of doing it, is to push past the internal critic/editor and to get into the creative flow of writing.  You just type.  You don’t edit, think, backspace . . . you just type.

Sometimes you still hit roadblocks (I mean how many times can you type, “I don’t know what to flipping write next” in your novel before you start feeling like a failure?), and so there are suggested exercises to get past this.  One is with a group, and a timer is set (i.e. 15 minutes).  You just type anything, ANYTHING until the timer goes off.  The one with the most words typed, wins.

So I found at the bottom of my 2010 NaNoWriMo document a bunch of these “word war” blocks of text and read one of them.  I hadn’t even looked at it since I had typed it during the word war 3 years ago (WW3?), so I was reading it as if someone else had wrote it . . . and I really liked it (she said unbiased-ishly).  And it being in my nature to share (of the knowledge variety . . . stay away from my toys), I decided to post it for you guys.  Hope you enjoy it.  : )

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Once upon a time there was a little girl who didn’t know her name and she didn’t know that she didn’t know her name. She tried to go to school one day and that was when she learned she didn’t know her name and so that was when she tried to think of why it was important to have a name and why she needed one in the first place and why did everyone have one but she didn’t have one and why didn’t she have one and everyone else had one and that was the day she went home and tried to maybe think of a name for herself and she wasn’t sure if that was how it worked but that didn’t seem to matter and so she thought and thought and she went upstairs and thought and went downstairs and thought and she went and pet her cat and thought and that was when she discovered that she didn’t ever name her cat and so she was thinking whether it was more important to name her cat or to name herself first after all they just called her girl all day and that was ok for her and they didn’t get her mixed up with anyone else since they already had names and then she realized that since there was only one cat in the house that it wouldn’t matter if she named the cat either and that was why she forgot to think of a name at all because it really wasn’t important to think of a name right away it wasn’t an emergency and that was what made her remember to do things or a at least what order to do things in.

So she went to school the next day and they asked if she had a name yet and she said no and they said why not and she said because that she didn’t need one right away and they asked why her mom didn’t give her a name and she asked them what a mom was and that was the day she realized that she didn’t have a mom and so she went home and thought about why she didn’t have a  mom and why she didn’t know she didn’t have a mom and how everyone else had a mom but she didn’t and why did  she not have a mom and everyone else did and she didn’t know what mom did and so she had made it this far and so she could probably make it further without one now so she went to pet her cat again and that was how she forgot again about a mom and she went to school the next day and they asked her why she didn’t have a mom still and it was because she said she didn’t know and that was left alone for then because I guess in this world it isn’t illegal to not have a mom.

So then they asked about if she had a pet and she said what kind do you mean and they asked about a dog and she said no I don’t have a dog and so they said then what about a cat and she said that yes she did have a cat and that was a weird feeling to have a cat or to have something that they asked about that they know about and she knew about and so that was the first day that she got to find out what it felt like to have something that everyone else knew about and she thought maybe it was what it felt like to belong like other people did so she went home and she pet her cat and when she pet her cat it made her smile and that was the day she smiled for the first time and she didn’t know what it was because it hadn’t happened before so the first day that she went back to school she asked the teacher what it was and the teacher asked what what was and she smiled and pointed to the smile and said this what I’m doing what is that called and the teacher said that it was a tooth and she said no I’m not talking about my teeth but thanks for telling me but what am I doing with my mouth and the teacher said that you are smiling and did you not know what a smile was and she said that no she did not know what a smile was but she said that was all she needed to know and so she went home that day and she pet her cat and she smiled because she had a cat like everyone else and when she smiled she smiled even bigger because the teacher had known what this new thing was that she had done and that made her have a warm feeling in her stomach and that was something new too.

Smiling with Cat