There is this picture in my head. of what a real writer looks like. She is smart, witty & sexy with her words. She pulls them out of magic bags full of magic dust, charming us with syllables strung together, fitting into each other like there are the only beautiful words that exist in the world. Her gaze is steady, never looking over her shoulder. Instead she gives everything from within herself, secure in what she has to offer. Naming the un-named – our illusions & fantasies, grief & fears. She finds a perfect word for each one of them. Even for those spaces in-between sleep & wakefulness, the bridges between dream & reality. Everybody knows she is a writer. They remind her every day. Of how beautiful she is. Of how perfect her craft is. She has the world in rapture, in awe & in love with her. She is beautiful. She is perfect.
And I thought the day would come when I would morph into her.
A day when I will curtsy on the world stage in my white flowing gown with golden lace. There will be music in the air & the sound of angels, of a heart singing – mine. Literary agents & publishers will line up wanting to snatch this woman, to immortalise her on pages that will last through forever.
But instead I sit here—
With papers strewn all over my bed, intimacy meets work. I can’t fit a desk into this room so I sit on the floor. I write from the floor. This floor is sacred. It has held me in my darkest moments, supported me. It has caught my tears as they fell from my eyes & the many broken dreams that slipped from my hands. It is privy to the whispered prayers I send up to heaven every night. There is no fancy here. The only luxury arrives when my soul pours itself onto the page – when I empty myself in sentences & full stops & all the breaths in-between. But even then I am not confident in this writing woman.
So maybe this pep talk, this bleeding out is more for me than for you. But stay with me. It’s less lonely knowing you are here.
I have a reminder stuck on my door. It tries to be eloquent;
I am a writer even on the days I do not get likes for my writing.
It’s always in my eye’s view when I sit to work. I penned it one gloomy day when I was desperate for validation, desperate to believe that writing is truly the thing I was born to do like others have singing, creating, managing or building. I wanted to claim it so, so badly.
Some days it works and other days I look away in shame bewildered at myself for even considering myself a wordsmith. & yet that is the only thing that makes sense to me, the only place I find rest for my heavy heart.
Ok…I am afraid. Afraid of not being good enough, afraid of not living up to the world’s standards – the writer who has to be published & doing powerful things in the world. She is vocal, she is perfect. I am afraid of her image.
I don’t know if this is a turning point for me but the other day I heard a voice whisper in my ears;
Stop trying to write
Stop trying to write
Stop trying to write
I realised that all my life I have been trying so hard to write. Trying so hard to be like every good writer I know. Trying, trying & trying so hard to write like everybody else, syntax & grammar in check. When all I should be doing is writing, pure & simple. No strings attached. Throwing caution to the wind. Reflecting me in all the best & worst parts of me. Setting my rebellious spirit free.
I have never given myself permission to write. & so I was looking to others to do it for me, to prop me up, to tell me how good I was so I could have a reason to do it. I looked over my shoulder constantly measuring my writer self against others. Seeking their accolades & glory, seeking their permission. It’s ironic because when everything is said & done, when the day is spent & the crowd has gone home, when night covers roll in & the world falls asleep, the only light left burning is mine. It’s always just me, sitting here on my floor, alone & complete. Who else is going to give me permission to do this?
The journey of a writer is a journey of a human being. I am human first & foremost. If I am not confident in the privilege & divine order to be here in the flesh, how am I going to give my existence a voice? How am I going to write about it?
Humble confidence. Acceptance. Peace. These are mighty things that change lives. Getting to them requires an unravelling of some sort. You come face to face with your demons, you stage a war & you come out victorious. Never mind the scars & bruises. Your life will never be the same.
I am claiming this moment for me – this moment that will powerfully move me away from the insecurities & fears & onto the path that respects, embraces & grows the writer goddess in me. That I will be courageous enough to unfetter her so she can find her voice.
She will stop trying to write. She will simply, write.