For the longest time, I have resisted putting anything out into the world under my real name. Allowing myself to be vulnerable, subject to critique, or heard was a fear that kept me from being able to realize my potential. The fear was so debilitating that I even avoided writing simple Facebook posts.
My fear stemmed from an extremely misguided understanding of what writing is about… I believed there was a spectrum of different kinds of writing. At one end of the spectrum was writing to put words on paper, and at the other was writing as exhibitionism. Like writing an instructional manual, writing for the sake of writing can be completed without passion. Sure, you can be creative and you might enjoy writing, but, you can do all of that without revealing anything about who you are as a human being.
At the other extreme was a form of writing where you expose your most inner self to the world. Like an exhibitionist, you seek attention and reveal yourself entirely for all to see.
I was trapped by my own fear of being inauthentic to myself… I didn’t want to write for the sake of writing, and I did not want to reveal my most inner self in some mystical and sensationalized fantasy, but I wanted my writing to be thought-provoking. I wanted my writing to make readers question their own assumptions, and I wanted my writing to be pleasurable. So, handicapped by this predicament, I just stopped writing.
It wasn’t until recently that I decided to give up that fear and find my voice.
I came to the realization that I just needed to get over it and I needed to get over myself. I gave up on trying to understand what writing was all about, and I just decided to write without hesitation, without question, and without a preconceived notion of self, or of a voyeuristic audience.
I remember my first week as an undergrad, walking down Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. I stopped by this fortuneteller, aptly name Wizard of course, on the corner and had a reading. Despite the obvious BS story he gave me, he did give me one bit of information that I should have taken heed of. He said, “Write, write, write, always write, don’t stop writing.”
He was right. If you want to write, just write, and don’t stop. Keep writing regardless of what you’re writing. Your voice will come.
So, here I am, getting over it, and writing again.