these unruly creatures.

why do I blog? why do I write?

I keep coming back to this, it seems. like a vulture circling a carcass, spiraling around and around and around till once again I get close enough to ask myself: why?

because it seems to me that if there is not a why perhaps I should not be doing it.

It started as a way to process, to think out loud in a way. to ponder and doubt and wrestle. and to do it publicly, on the internet, for some strange reason. why it feels more real this way, I don’t know. maybe because I hoped that I would find someone who would say, me too. maybe you are my cloud of witnesses. maybe because it scares me, sometimes, and so I close my eyes and click publish, because I do not want the fear to hold me back.

it was a hobby. the view count hovered around one. then, I went public. shared on my facebook. told friends. tweeted links. posted more. did link-ups. and somehow, somehow, people liked what I said sometimes and shared posts and the view count when up and the subscriber number inched up and each increase felt like a pat on the back, if I’m being honest.

I wrote. I kept writing. then, I started dreaming. I realized, I didn’t dream. I wasn’t a dreamer. and so I let myself dream, wild and crazy and impossible dreams. dreams that involved more readers and more words. maybe, even, there were dreams about a book with my name on it nestled onto a bookshelf somewhere, someday.

then, somehow, my words dried up. I started asking myself – how dare I call myself a writer? when I am not even writing? these dreams, you are not making them happen. they will never happen.

all that is to say, I have not yet figured out how to allow my dreams to exist without feeling like a failure for not actively working towards them.

people say to chase your dreams. to drop everything and go into a full-on dead-out sprint after them. I don’t know how to chase these dreams; I’m still learning how to allow these unruly creatures to take up space in my head. and running, by the way, is something I tend to dislike.

how do I make this happen? do I really want this to happen? can I make this happen? is it possible? and then, the doubt sneaks in. I’ve never been very good at sealing off the weak places in my heart and the questions crawl through the cracks and take up residence.

am I good enough? who would ever, ever pay me to write? or read what I’ve written? you’re not a writer. you’ve never taken a writing class. you don’t have a degree in this, or experience in writing, or barely even experience in life. how dare you call yourself a poet? oh, darling, stop deluding yourself. you’re not good enough.

(do you see how it is easier to not dream? to  not cling to those hopes? it is easier to be disappointed, I think sometimes.)

so I let the words fall silent, because if I am not writing then I am not chasing this dream and I am not failing.

yet, the siren song of syllables calls me back time and time again.

here I am. caught in the struggle. learning how to hope that dreams will not be impossible, in time. learning how to want big things, while being content with this small space, these humbles words. learning that I am allowed to dream, and also allowed to let my dream rest and breathe and grow and wait. learning that I these words, they may never be more than scribbles on the page of my legal pad or pixels on your screens, and that is okay.

and it seems I am back where I began, with my cloud of witnesses watching as I question and doubt and struggle and close my eyes and hit publish.

pinioned feathers and swallowed hesitations.

“I swallowed my hesitations.”

//

she says it like it’s nothing.

like it should be easy.

like it ain’t no thang to just set aside fears.

but do you know how long I’ve been sitting on pause?

letting these hesitations rule every inch of me.

these chains, they don’t break easy.

//

I refuse to swallow them.

I do not want them to sit heavy in my stomach, to poison my veins.

I’ve eaten my share of fear, enough to know that it is bitter on the tongue

and bitter on the inside.

if I can do anything-

if I can make a move-

I will spit it out.

//

it’s pinioned feathers when all I want to do is fly.

(but no – even that is not accurate

I am too afraid of flying

to dream of it

all I want

is to stretch my wings)

//

I get tired, sometimes,

of the relentlessly upbeat self-help message.

I know you mean well

but it’s just not that easy.

“be brave.”

“unlock your cages.”

“don’t be afraid.”

look.

it’s just not that easy.

and sometimes, I get mad.

I want to scream at you, at all of it.

you say, make a change. change who you are. take the brave step.

how?

how?

I need a detailed to-do list.

I need instructions, I need a road map.

your advice is really cute on instagram

but let’s be honest

that “just do it” approach never helped me much.

//

do not write fear a love song, she says.

do not write fear a love song.

this, I think, I can do, maybe.

I cannot shrug the fear off my shoulders

because somehow, sometime, I think it crept

into my blood.

but I can stop writing it a love song.

 

this was written from a prompt during a story sessions write in. if you’re looking for women who know how to be fearless…they are here. “do not write fear a love song” is taken from Hannah Brencher‘s #mondaymorningbreakfastclub emails, which are the bomb dot com.

the split second before you jump off.

when you graduate from college, everyone says, congratulations.

we’re so proud of you. congratulations. good job. congratulations.

except for the one person who told me, congratulations. and I’m sorry.

and that, I think, is the best thing anyone could have said.

you see, people keep asking how it feels.

how do I answer that?

I smile. I say, it’s exciting. I say, it’s crazy. I say, it went by so fast. I say, it doesn’t feel real yet. I smile and I nod as people talk about internships and careers and next steps. I smile and answer the four-hundred-and-fifty-sixth question about what I’m doing next year.

I don’t say, I don’t know how I feel. I don’t say, I want to go back already. I don’t say, I have no clue what I’m doing, not today not tomorrow not ever. I don’t say, please stop asking me that question.

because it feels like a lot of things, at all once, and also nothing. because it feels like all of my feeling are a jumbled mess of kite strings, flown by a child who doesn’t know how to handle the wind. because it feels like I am a child who has been handed a kite, but no one told me how to handle the wind.

how does it feel?

it feels like the split second before you jump off the swing. you’ve already shifted your weight forward, un-stuck your bare skin from the rubber seat. you’ve pulled your arms out from behind the chains. peak of the arc, the height of your playground parabola. and then, in one instant, there is both a fear-filled longing to stay on that swing and a rush of adrenaline that fills your veins in preparation for the flying. it feels like that, terror and thrill mingling in your mouth and leaving a bittersweet taste on your tongue.

the short answer, I guess, is that it’s complicated.

I keep hoping I can sort it out, maybe I can untangle it all. maybe, I can work out these feelings, pull apart the happy from the sad and figure them both out.

but I can’t, because it feels both happy and sad.

this graduation thing, this next-stage thing, this life-changing thing. it’s rough. and it’s hard and it’s good and it is growing and hurting and mourning and creating.

congratulations. and I’m sorry.

maybe we’ll hear it.

sometimes, I wonder why.

why I keep doing this. why I keep pounding keys and scribbling sentences.

(or, lately, why I don’t. why I let the pen site idle and the laptop screen is a tv show, lately, instead of words.)

yet I still cling to this title, this word. writer.

why? why? why do I scrape the inside of my soul for words? why do I sit frustrated when they are gone? what, really, have I even got to say? what can I contribute?

because there are a million girls like me out there. girls with a laptop and a blog and some words.

I’m nothing special.

I have no miraculous healing, no adversity overcome. I do not have a sensational testimony for you. everyday girl. everyday struggles. everyday grace. I’m nothing special. and it feels, sometimes, like shouting into the abyss.

are you feeling like you’ve read this post before? maybe. probably. I’ve probably written something like this before.

cause see, that’s just it: I’ve really only got a few things to say.

but the things I want to say? I think that, just maybe, they are worth repeating.

you are beloved. you are worthy. you are cherished. you are brave. you are strong. you are chosen. you are beautiful.

that’s it. that’s all I want you to know. that’s really what it boils down to: you, darling, you are loved, to infinity and beyond, by One who made you, One who died to know you.

and every post I want to write is just that. over and over. in slightly different variations. in multiple shoddily-constructed metaphors. because you, you need to know. it and because I am writing to myself just as much as I am writing to you, and I need to know it too.

I’ll just keep shouting the truth. over. and over. until that truth is the blanket we wrap around ourselves when the night gets chilly, and that truth is the first thing that crawls through your mind when you wake up, and that truth is the truth. the truth you know. the truth you go to.

I write because of the truth. I write because I need to find the truth. I write because I need to remember the truth.

and maybe, that will not get me a book deal. that will not get me followers. I will be just a girl with a laptop shouting into the abyss.

but I will be shouting the truth. over. and over. and I hope that maybe, you’ll hear it. maybe I’ll hear it.