So lately I’ve been inspired and terrified by all things NaNoWriMo (not doing it) and NaBloPoMo (not doing that either). And even though I’m not in a place where I feel ready to tackle these, it has me thinking about the way I write, the way I blog, and oh pretty much the way I do most things. And that is: with a healthy dose of overthinking and nail-biting. I’m starting to think I’m just an old dog, but in the spirit of all the writer bravery out there this month, and because we should never feel too set in our ways to try something new or buck our fear of change, I’m going to write this post free-form, without agenda or editing.
I started tapping these words after I stepped out of the shower, droplets of water falling from my hair onto the protective case of my iPhone. I continued on my laptop, and plan to type, type, type and then hit publish. All in one sitting.
And yes, it’s scary.
Maybe I’ll discover that I’m not a good writer. That I’m really an editor. Or maybe I’m just really crafty at using a thesaurus. Or that I need another word for really. Right about NOW.
That I’ll never be good enough to write a bad first draft and go from there.
That I’ve always wanted to be the kind of writer—the kind of PERSON—who doesn’t overthink, who doesn’t care so deeply about what other people think of her, what she’s wearing, how it fits, how it feels to walk down the street in it. I’ll just be walking, living, breathing, writing. Doing. Living. Crap, I already said living. Crap, I said crap. Did you know I curse a lot? I tend to edit out the expletives. But not today. Don’t look back. Keep moving. Forward. Onward. Oh my gosh, this is liberating, freeing. Maybe you’ve stopped reading—maybe I don’t care. Maybe I’m finally letting go. Of the fear, self-doubt. All of it.
I want to be one of those people who waltzes through life, not tripping on corners and curbs. Not miscalculating her steps—not calculating them at all. Because, oh my god, who calculates steps?? I learned how to walk 33 years ago and have been doing it every day since—I should be able to do at least that without such effort.
You know the people I’m talking about, though, right? The ones who never blowdry their hair because it’s naturally perfectly straight—but they’re nice enough to whisper in confidence that they ‘wish it were wavy like yours’ when you pay them a compliment. Their clothes hang off them just so, and…is this really what I’m writing about? When left to freely roam, my mind turns to self-consciousness and straight hair? Yup. Sometimes I think about that stuff. More than I care to admit. (That’s a funny phrase. Because aren’t you admitting whatever it is, even while saying you don’t care to?)
I want to be someone who doesn’t care what others think, but gives them something to think about.
The boys will be stirring soon. Is it wrong that part of me dreads when they wake? I’m just so protective of this time—these quiet early morning hours, this peaceful house. Before a single word is spoken in the day. Before we put our mark on its placid perfection.
I’ve always considered myself an extrovert. But now I willingly trade nights out for an early bedtime so that I may wake in the pre-dawn darkness and just be. Still. A function of parenting? Writing? Change? Are we always who we innately are? Or do we evolve and grow to become nearly unrecognizable versions of our former selves?
I’ve always thought that as we age, our idiosyncratic personality traits deepen. We become more intense versions of who we’ve always been. And so. I’m slightly troubled, but more intrigued, by my elusive extroversion. By my newfound desire for quiet and solitude above all. I suppose it’s just a function of the imbalance of it in my life right now. I’m still endlessly curious about people, but lately, prefer keeping them at arm’s length. Watching, observing, taking them in, but at a distance, not summoning the energy to interact.
(Hopefully you weren’t coming for any neat takeaways or profound conclusions today. Just musings here.) This is probably a one-time thing. I feel like I’m walking down Fifth Avenue naked. Stripped bare. Don’t look! Don’t read this drivel!
But it’s good for me to be more spontaneous and self-assured—in my writing, in my life. To let go, release. To not always be wound so tight. To not always be met with ‘wow, you need this’ in the chair massage at the nail salon (guilty pleasure—scratch that, just pleasure—look at me, offering qualifiers so you won’t judge. Oh I’m hopeless.).
So today, friends, I’m not editing. Not this post. Not myself. Not any of it. The curtains are down, the red pen is at rest. This is me. Raw and real. Take me as I am. Not airbrushed, not edited. Warts, typos, and all.
Because I worry sometimes about these carefully curated online presences of ours. Because vulnerability is a beautiful thing—perhaps one of best things we can offer each other in this all-too-anonymous world. Authenticity too. The currency of imperfect me-too-moments, traded in exchange for comfort and connection, friendship and reassurance.
Even if not quite this extreme stream-of-consciousness, I may start posting rougher, lighter, less polished, more spontaneous pieces every now and then—more riffs on my day, thoughts as they come, as I have them—not months in the making, hewn, hacked, hemmed and hawed. But fresh and true.
Alright. Go forth. Be you.
Disclaimer: The real me couldn’t hit ‘publish’ without giving this a once-over.