Sunday, April 11, 2010

I didn't come into this world to be 'safe' or 'The fear of writing fearlessly'

There are some thoughts that interest me and some that don't. (How's that for stating the bleeding obvious?).

Forgive me but I just felt I needed to say that and in all honesty, I cannot tell you why I did as I don't know the reason myself. Perhaps it's because it helps me get to what I really want to say, like a bridge across where I think you are and where I want to take you.  And where's that?

I'm not sure but let's start from here - a discussion thread I came across on an online forum:  

What kind of a writer are you?

It's not a question that particularly interests me although it prompted one that does:   

Why do I write what I write and the way I write?

I've chosen to blog (which, every now and again, qualifies as writing ;)) under the relatively safe guise of a pseudonym. It's a carefully chosen pseudonym albeit not the most original or intriguing. But it is intended to convey some truths about me that may be of interest to a reader.

I chose to write somewhat anonymously because it gives me a degree of freedom I am unable to access from within my given identity, at least not yet. My nom de plume, however, allows me to explore thoughts and ideas I've prevented my 'given' self from exploring. It also allows me to say things I do not give my 'given' self permission to say and in ways I tend not to allow it to.

You see, the character inside my nom de plume is one of the main characters in my soul's cast of characters that has thus far been denied an audience. It's true, it has been speaking but no one outside the cast has ever heard it. So I write to share its thoughts, feelings, opinions and observations and to find out how they affect others which, in itself, is no great shakes except that it has drawn my attention to something a bit more interesting.

I'd naively assumed that this character of mine would speak without fear or restraint. What I'm discovering is something quite the contrary. It is fearful and it is restrained, admittedly not always and not in the same way that my 'given' character is!

This observation surprises and disturbs me. If an assumed name and relative anonymity will not release me from my fears and inhibitions as a writer, what on earth will?  And at least as pressing and intriguing a question is, Why? Why do I not feel safe enough to be free?

I suppose I could just as easily and meaningfully ask the question, Why am I not free enough to feel safe?

What do I still fear?

Shall I be completely honest? It is that I may be disliked.

Now that I've said it, I can actually sit back and contemplate its significance. It's almost laughable from this psychological distance.

Imagine living my life just so that I will be liked by others. So what if people don't like me? Will it make me any less known or less appreciated than I currently am? Does it matter? Does it matter more than the freedom I'm denying myself?

I don't think so but I'd be deluding myself if I claimed that feeling liked and appreciated aren't good feelings. They're good, very good feelings indeed.  But I learned a while ago that my happiness is not contingent upon what others think or feel about me unless, of course, I choose to make it so.

I mean, you might think I'm wonderful today and waste no opportunity telling the whole world the same but tomorrow something might happen and you'll decide I am one ungrateful, deceitful, mean animal. It's true. It's happened to me and the person in question was someone who maintained throughout his 10-year tirade that he loved me and had never stopped loving me. What's more, some people actually believe him. And, of course, he believes it himself.

I'm grateful to him in many ways for many things. No, I'm not being facetious. I mean it sincerely. He helped me build my confidence. (He also helped tear it down but I'm past that). He showed me through his personality, how to come out of my shell and avoid melancholy which I can easily slip into. And he also made me discover the true meaning of love by demonstrating very clearly to me what it is not.

Oh gosh, I really didn't think I'd be dredging all this stuff up but that's what happens when you let a thought take you where it wants to go. Anyways, back to my fear of writing fearlessly.

Perhaps I just need to be patient with myself. Give my character time to feel safe enough to come to the realization that the 'safe' mind can never fully explore and experience the 'limitless unknown' which is what I think true magic is. And I want magic. I'm sure I came into this world for it. At least, I'm certain I didn't come here to be safe.

What do you think? Can you relate to any of this?

"It's only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all"  William James

William James : Writings 1902-1910 : The Varieties of Religious Experience / Pragmatism / A Pluralistic Universe / The Meaning of Truth / Some Problems of Philosophy / Essays (Library of America)  Pragmatism  The Will to Believe, Human Immortality

Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear  The Essential Laws of Fearless Living: Find the Power to Never Feel Powerless Again  Fearless Knitting Workbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to Knitting Confidence 

Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas  The Fearless Heart: The Practice of Living with Courage and Compassion  Fearless: Creating the Courage to Change the Things You Can

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