This blog post is fifteen years in the making, a profoundly bittersweet fact. There is a celebration in finally hitting publish, and there is also a heavy sadness, a close cousin of regret, that this has taken me so long.
[And like the cobbler’s kids running around barefoot, I see the irony of this situation — the work I do in supporting clients is the support I so crave for myself.]
I could spend a lifetime unpacking all the influences, all the reasons for not sharing the work I’ve created, and for not making the work I’ve visioned.
It is a complex cocktail made up of trivial excuses I’m no longer available for, limiting beliefs I have grown beyond, and a way of being rooted in something I’ve only begun to understand. Some of this came from within me, and some was imposed by society: an inheritance of smallness.
And this is the point of what I’m writing today. This is a reclamation. A coming out. A coming home. A promise. A proclamation.
I’ve kept quiet for too long, waiting for someone else to give me permission to use my voice. I’ve spoken only the words I know people want to hear in a modulated, professional, grammatically correct tone. And the effort to do so has taken too much from me. I’ve poured energy into that performance, handed over my power and compromised my purpose, and lived with the unrealized potential to create greatness.
I’m not here to wait politely until someone gives me permission. I am here to blaze a trail, shine brightly, and live boldly. I am here to question paradigms, subvert outdated structures, give voice to my big ideas, and leave the world a better place than I found it. That kind of impact isn’t created by sitting quietly waiting to be called on.
I’m finally learning to accept that I don’t communicate like other people. I mean, I can, but I don’t want to. Instead of handcuffing myself to frameworks and the way the experts say I should communicate, I’m going to find my own way. I’m going to get messy and go on tangents and think out loud on the page. I’m going to write from my heart instead of molding myself into some sort of templated structure of “shoulds” organized into neat content pillars. It is time to stop letting form dictate function.
I will no longer be contained by the neatness of all of these prescriptions.
The metaphor that keeps coming to me is makeup contouring (don’t ask me why…I tried it once and that was enough for me!). I get why people do it, and I’m even clear on the how, and yet…iIt feels heavy and fake in both process and application. It takes so much time and makes me feel masked, like a bland simulacrum of myself. Give me a tinted moisturizer and mascara and let me get on with the day, my imperfections and my beauty, my me-ness, shining through.
That’s how I desire to create. Not sloppily, not without intention, but with the imperfect me-ness of my voice, my tone, my tempo, my soul pouring out.
Honestly, I’m sick of consuming formulaic content with an intriguing (and keyword-laden) title promising life-changing information only to find 500 words of noise parroting the exact same thing everyone else is saying which ends up not even scratching the surface of the topic, let alone exploring it in any kind of meaningful way.
I crave messy and meaningful.
I crave real and raw.
I crave research and thought-fullness.
I crave the wildness of a natural ecosystem over a stripped and sterile surface.
I thought I craved these traits outside of myself, in the work I’m consuming. And while that is true, it is only a partial truth. When I am being fully honest with myself, I see that the craving is deeper than consumption. I crave the creation (and publication) of my own work with these traits.
So, this is my stake in the ground. Moving forward, I’ll be here creating and publishing on my terms. I won’t be googling “attention-grabbing headline templates” or downloading freebies that promise “blog content that converts.” Instead, I’m going to hold myself accountable to being full of thought, to researching and refining my ideas, to expressing my me-ness, and to hitting publish before I’m ready.
As I type this, my throat is getting tight. I can feel the visceral desire to retreat into the safety of the drafting process. As long as I don’t hit publish, this article has the potential to be great. I could wait and hit publish when it is “ready” after I polish and tweak it indefinitely. Or, I could make a different choice. I could accept this imperfect expression for what it is, what all creations are: a work in progress.