I’m not an open person.
I don’t generally talk about real things unless I feel extremely comfortable with you – which means we’ve been friends for several years. With others, it’s merely surface things. I have no problem talking about where I got my cute boots or what I had for dinner.
But I don’t talk about my bad experiences with relationships, both friends and romantic. I don’t talk about my anxiety flaring up unexpectedly. I don’t talk about my biggest fears.
But in the name of Halloween week, I want to share one of my biggest fears.
Yep – you read that right.
Every time I sit down to write, I am afraid.
I’m afraid because of expectations and my writing not being good or effective or readable enough.
But above all that, I’m afraid of allowing myself to be vulnerable.
Because that’s what writing does – it makes me vulnerable. It’s much more than simply putting words on paper – it’s putting my thoughts and feelings down for everyone to read. For everyone to see me – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It’s putting myself out there and facing my feelings while also sharing them with the world.
And once it’s there, on paper, in print, online? I can’t take it back. It’s out there in the universe for people to read and see parts of me that I’d normally keep locked safely away.
This is what I fear about writing.
I’m very reserved by nature, and every time I write, I open myself up and let the most vulnerable parts of me out. And I don’t stop there – I put them on display.
That’s the thing about any kind of art – we leave pieces of ourselves on the dance floor, the stage, the canvas, the paper. We take risks when expressing ourselves in such a subjective manner.
I put myself out there every time I write a blog post, a short story, a social media post. I feel like the risk I’m taking by putting my writing out there is sometimes so large, I almost don’t.
I didn’t start this blog until two months after the idea hit me. For two months, I went back and forth on what to write in the “About Me” section. I wrote out about eight different versions, and I had my husband read all of them because he believed me every time I said, “Okay this is the one.”
I wrote so many and second-guessed myself because I couldn’t describe myself.
More accurately – I didn’t want to describe myself for people.
I couldn’t decide what I wanted to put out there.
I’m this way about a lot of the things I write, just like I am with the things I post on social media. Before I post a selfie, I have to make sure my double chin isn’t showing and that the angle is just right for my thighs to look smaller. I’m calculated in the things I want people to know about me.
Which is why writing for me is sometimes difficult. It’s personal and requires a level of honesty that I often don’t want to embrace.
But I sit down to write, anyway. I take that fear, that aversion to vulnerability, and I bottle it up, even for just my writing session. Once I’m done, it can slowly seep back up to build a wall around my feelings, but at least for that hour while I write, I’m free.
I start typing the first word. Then sentence. Then paragraph. With every word I type, the fear of being too personal slowly floats to the back of my mind like a boat in the sea. It floats until it disappears from view, until the sun starts shining, and that’s when I feel it – the warm happiness. The cool breeze in the wind.
Because no matter how scary writing is, it’s also healing. Expressing myself through words is healing. Even when I’m writing rom-coms or light fiction, I’m healing my soul and finding that creative outlet I so desperately need.
It makes me feel calm when I’m otherwise very anxious – it’s therapeutic.
That’s why I continue to do it, and this blog has helped me tremendously in pulling my walls down to get to my raw thoughts and feelings to make my writing better. To make my words as powerful as possible.
To be authentic.
To be free.
Whatever fear of vulnerability I have dissipates when I let the words flow without restraint, and the result? The result is always rewarding.
Because when I’m raw and honest, when I don’t hold back what I really want to say, I do myself justice. I do the story justice. And I do the reader justice.
Even though what I fear about writing is being vulnerable, what’s worse for me would be lying in my writing – my dream and the one thing I’m most passionate about.
So I’ve learned to let go. It wasn’t easy, and sometimes I still hold back without even realizing it, but it’s not as much of an issue as it used to be. Letting go has helped me be more transparent with people, but it’s also helped me embrace myself . To accept all parts of myself – my past, present, and where I want to go.
It wasn’t easy to learn, but the rewards of doing so have changed my writing.