I just finished my third book of the (Indian) summer. I have a terrible book-juggling habit; it’s not uncommon for me to rattle off the names of six or seven titles when someone asks me what I’ve been reading. What I fail to mention is that I’ve been reading those six or seven titles for months. Really, as a graduate of English Literature, it’s kind of pathetic.
I moved to Portland with my partner and my dog in May, and by summer I felt settled enough to set some real goals and go after achieving them. One of them was to work my way through some of those poor, neglected, colorful dust-collectors on my nightstand. So, finishing book number three in my third month of this goal feels pretty good.
It was an added bonus that the book, Carry on Warrior: Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton, inspired me in my creativity and my faith. It reaffirmed the abundance of untapped creativity housed in my soul, which sends me chasing ideas and leaving behind a wake of unfinished projects.
It also illuminated that my faith is equally untapped. It has become lazy, a desperate, urgent whisper at best in my times of need. Glennon kind of called me out on these things, and I found myself swallowing thickly as I read about how it was fear, not faith, that had its grip on her creativity at one time, too. And how holding herself back from being her true self when she wrote was letting fear dictate her actions – and her worth.
I do this all the time. I’m still doing it as I write this. I’ve been drawn to fiction and poetry as a mask, a divider between the message and who I really am. Although after time, and as I grow older, I can see myself, trying to break through every word, each sentence, and paragraph. My writing has become better, maybe, but I’m still not saying what I want to say. I feel dishonest; presenting a golden-shelled egg when I really want to talk about the yolk. Fear has held my writing hand for a long time, and it’s becoming clear to me that the veil is wearing thin.
Me: What if I just told my story, like, wrote about who I really am?
Fear: What if your story isn’t worthy of being told? Why are you so special? Why are you better than any other writer? What if it’s not meaningful enough? What if you’re not meaningful enough? What if it’s embarrassing, painful, and still raw? You’re not perfect. What if people judge you?
Fear will never, ever, run out of reasons to stop me. The real question is, when will I run out of excuses and stop fear?
When will I muster the faith to understand that my passion is part of my purpose and that to do anything other than pursue that honestly is to let fear win?
That unless I do something now, to change this, the course of my creativity will forever be puppeteered by fear?
I’m ready to have some faith. I’m going to start sharing myself with whoever wants to hear it. I want to live in an authentic and honest world, so I’ll start with myself. I’ll write in faith to crowd the fear out. And I’m going to trust that doing something from a place of love just can’t be wrong.