(I flubbed the math. I’m actually 19 days away from 30, not 20, so we’re skipping a day. English majors can’t count properly, apparently.)
You are who you are and that’s it.
I am a writer. It’s time to face the music with that fact. I’ve always been afraid to tell people I’m a writer, because I didn’t like the attention or the follow up questions.
What do you write? To me that sounded more like “what have you ever done?” Because when you tell people you do something creative, they always wanna see it. They wanna read it, they wanna find out more about you.
And yeah, it’s pretty cool that someone’s interested in what you have to say, but it still makes me nervous. To me it’s always felt like an interview. To me, it’s always been an opportunity to disappoint someone somehow. I’d see myself trumping up the fact that I am a writer, and then when they see what I’ve done, they realize it’s not all that great, and I open up the door for critique, rejection, and disappointment.
So talking about things that I’m doing has been tough for me, because a lot of times in the back of my mind there’s a voice saying “don’t tell them, it’s not all that great.”
Thinking is so incredibly delusional sometimes. Sometimes I stare at my ego and think really? Where do you get this stuff?
But in my opinion, 30 is as good an age as any to figure out who you really are. And if you’re reading this at any age and can’t figure out who you really are or what you want to do, I would say to think back to what you liked to do when you were 8 years old. There’s something about the things you used to love when you were younger that always stick with you. Because you knew exactly what you liked and what you wanted. There was nothing telling you ‘no’.
You liked smashing things apart and putting them back together. You liked to sing. You liked to rehearse lines from The Wizard of Oz in your front yard. (Ok that was me). You loved to swim. Whatever it was, remember that. Because whatever you truly got a kick out of as a kid is what’s trying to kick down the walls of your adult self to break through and say HEY! REMEMBER ME! LET’S HANG OUT AND BE LIKE WE WERE!
That’s what my 8 year old self told me the other day. The image of myself reading a story that I wrote to my mom in her bedroom when I was in the third grade came to mind. The feeling like I was really good at this story, even at age 8. As if I knew what good even was.
But I got this feeling when I wrote. Like it was my arena. Like I was in charge and I got to dictate what happened next. And I did it with authority! Like I was the most renowned, bestselling author in the world. My head was so big it should have exploded in the fourth grade, when I used to write short stories for kindergartners so they could have bedtime stories before bed. You should have seen the kids line up in after school care, asking me for stories.
If someone asked me for a story today, it would take me 6 weeks and a lot of negative self-talk to get anything done. Back then I churned them out within five minutes because I knew I was the best. It was like this deep seated knowing that I can remember clearly to this day.
What happened to it? What did I let get in the way of that knowing, that awesome, carefreedom? What did any of us do to stifle that?
Anne Lamotte brought it back out of me. She’s the author of Bird by Bird. She pulled up that little 8-year-old me by her bootstraps and out of that dark, musty basement I’d been rotting way in all these years and all but shouted at me to get back to work. To get back to writing.
The closer I get to 30, the more I realize that you can’t help who you are on the inside. Personally, I’m not only getting more bold in saying that I’m a writer, but also I’m starting to come out of the metaphysical closet. I’m starting to tell people more and more now that I’m spiritual. I even told one friend that she wasn’t really alone one time when she said she was alone a lot in her apartment.
It’s hard to convince people of that sort of stuff, but I find that it comes out of me more and more now and I can’t help it. I’m not trying to convince people of anything really, I just want them to feel comforted.
Are you in metaphorical ‘closet’ of some sort? Is there something you’re super passionate about that you don’t really tell anyone? I’d love to know what it is, because I know how much courage it takes to talk about these things in real life. It’s way to easy to do it from behind a keyboard.
Thanks for reading! This post is part of a 30 days to 30 series, read all about it here.