I Haven’t Fallen Off the Mountain… Yet

Hello all! That is, if anyone still checks this, because I know I haven’t posted in a while. I’m on break now so I finally have a bit more time and mental energy to process. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about who I am and how to live out of my whole self. Not that I think that I’ve been highly confused about my identity before now, but that I’m taking this time to go deeper. Jasie and I have been working through some things in hopes of tapping into my ability to communicate from my emotions. I think I have rather deep emotions, but I rarely talk about them, or more on point, I rarely talk to others from an emotional place. Not until I can talk about something rationally do I feel comfortable. Thinking as opposed to emoting comes much more naturally to me; it always will, and there are a lot of good things about that. But it’s also safe. I don’t have to be vulnerable, and that is what I am trying to develop.

Something else I’ve been thinking about as I try to understand what it means to be a person is (don’t be too surprised) my perfectionistic tendencies. For example, I think that in order to say, “I’m a writer,” I also have to be able to say, “I’m a good writer.” However, I’m beginning to see that this just isn’t true. I could replace the self-concept with lots of other things: sports, any job I have, teaching, sketching, even something like reading out loud.

I find that I’m good at something and I put pressure on myself to be good all the time. As if this one piece of bad writing means I’m not a good writer at all. And therefore not a writer at all. I’m terrified I’ll write something awful and someone will read it and say, “This person considers herself a writer?” and I’ll be exposed. Certainly I will be exposed, but as what? A normal human being who occasionally, if not frequently writes stuff that should only ever be used as kindling?

Or the cultural message of Professionalism whispers in my ear, ” You’re not a writer. You’re not published.” And I think, “What if I never am published? I’ve put all this energy into writing. This whole time I thought I was a writer; I guess not. I can’t be; I’m not good enough. Or worse, I never found something I was passionate enough to write about — I mean something that takes real dedication, beyond essays and blogs, articles and reviews… you know, a book.” And if one day I do write a book, where does it stop? “Oh, that book was just a fluke.” Or, “It was published but never sold many copies.” I am a writer. And I’m allowed to be in process.

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