It was midnight.
Past time for bed.
We brushed our teeth together.
“I have a writing itch. Would it hurt your feelings if I didn’t come to bed right now?”
You may not know this, but your wife is coming alive.
Something in me is waking up.
I think he knows. He usually knows these things.
But this time, so do I.
My words are coming to me just a little easier than they have in a long time.
And oh man it feels good to skip out on sleeping so I can type type type them out.
I am here.
I know what is happening in my heart, because I am paying attention.
And here on this couch with the glowing laptop light, I belong.
I am writing.
I think tonight I will try to work through this thing I’m feeling…
I have named it: My Career Identity Crisis.
Welcome to graduating from college.
Here it comes.
I think I have been re-visiting my ten-year-old self so often lately because:
That is when I started writing.
That is when I began to find a place for all this love and desire in my heart.
In my emotional, I’m-moving-back-as-soon-as-I’m-eighteen stage,
My poor Mom just didn’t know how to handle me.
Anyone could see that I needed an outlet.
She suggested I get a journal. Way to go Mom.
It was the summer after fourth grade. I found it at TJ Maxx for $3 and it was my refuge.
My safe place to figure out what the heck was going on with me.
There was no career crisis then, just little me saying:
“When I grow up, I’m going to be a writer.”
Fast forward to 2013. The world says: time to grow up.
This is the part where I actually get a real person job but…
I do not know how to become a professional writer.
Still, I fear that if I do not pursue this future,
I will ignore a huge part of myself, and eventually,
lose that part of me entirely.
At the same time, I fear that if I do figure out this whole game of
networking/promotional branding/social media…
I will end up writing for the wrong reasons.
I will lose the truth in the pursuit of validation, popularity…
in the pursuit of “likes” and “followers.”
And here’s the deal: I could never live with that.
Though that is what the social networking world often uses writing for,
that is not writing for me.
For me, writing is about telling the truth.
Finding it. Questioning it. Admitting it.
Whatever it takes.
Through writing, I’ve faced immense monsters: depression, self-doubt, scary memories.
Through writing, I’ve found out who I am over and over again.
I have found the liberation of knowing HOW TO SAY what’s IN MY HEART.
So what’s the problem?
Let me try to explain how this has become so complicated…
When I think about professional blog writing,
I do not think of these revelations I was just expressing.
I think about product reviews.
i.e. photos of a new shirt you bought and all your rave opinions about it.
I think about recipes w/ polished food photos, complete with witty back-story.
i.e. the kind of thing that has so many women striving for a false perfection of “womanhood.”
I think about neatly ordered lists that promise to solve your life.
i.e. Ten ways to be a better you. Five DIY crafts to ring in the season.
i.e. Gross–I want to barf.
There are bloggers out there that rock that kind of stuff, and people love it!
I do not look down on these writers or these people.
(I admit I’ve got a whole pinterest board full of them recipes.)
But I will never stay up at night, itching to type out recipes and reviews.
I just don’t wanna write that stuff. I can’t. I won’t.
For me, as far as a career goes, as far as a lifelong-goal goes, that would be a deception and a waste of words.
But then again, in not writing that stuff, I have landed myself 13 followers.
Woo hoo me!
Therein lies the big question:
How can I engage the world in a conversation that tells the truth?
This is hard when it seems the world is more interested in sparkly promo posts.
But I just know it’s got to be possible.
People need real life more than they need another show-off, flashy deception.
For example, when you face doubt and instead proclaim surety, no one feels anything.
No one moves forward through those words.
Though admitting your doubts is terrifying, there is truth in the expression of doubt.
Transparency. Honesty. Clarity.
That kind of communication is real enough to be strong.
People need that.
And further, if you can then express belief regardless,
you can offer evidence of real, human faith.
People respond to that because they know it.
They know that that is what it’s like to live here in the world.
There, in those words, is a refuge for anyone that’s listening.
It’s just better that way.
There is nothing inspiring about pretending, even if you’re pretending to be inspiring.
In doing so, you forfeit your capacity to connect with others and therefore influence/be influenced by them.
You forfeit your capacity to experience with them, what it’s like to be alive.
As I sift through all of the blogs and articles out there, I am so much more interested in WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE, than what they’re buying.
Or what they’re selling.
Or what they’re advising me to do with my kitchen.
AHHH— how do I say what I’m saying here?
It’s not that I think I have something particularly inspiring and ethereal and wise to say.
It’s that I’m trying to have the guts to actually SAY SOMETHING that matters.
I just want to be out there, encouraging that type of communication.
That type of thought and connection.
The type of relief that comes with telling the truth.
That’s what words are for.
So when I look at the wide world of successful writers out there,
and see what so many of them are doing,
it terrifies me.
I want to reach the people they are reaching,
and yet I cannot reach them by the means they are using.
If I do, I will divorce myself from the original intent of reaching anyone at all.
Now, I realize that if I want to do this I have to get up off the grass and play the game.
I have to network and learn the system. I think I can do that.
But I just can’t give up my conviction.
I can’t betray my experience with words that got me here in the first place,
And I can’t ignore my late night itches that keep me up trying to say something about it.