If there is one thing I’ve struggled with most for about a year, it’s been balance. I take life too seriously. I imagine a goal, my goal, and I don’t dance around it—I shove myself through the portal til I ensure achievement. How unhealthy. If life worked in this particular fashion we would have only one job as a worker bee. At the end would be our sudden death, dry and crippled on a summer concrete slab.
I recently moved into a place to be on my own. How do I love the silence. To hear my own thoughts. I have been merely surviving. Unable to give myself the opportunity to sit and let my thoughts come to me and the page.
But back to balance. Society imposes a narrative upon us to be results-driven. This invades many of our thoughts throughout the day. I have now realized this narrative to be a block. Of what? To my happiness. To my creativity. To listening to my faculties to provide me insight on my life. But I refrain to access out of fear. Perhaps I am afraid of the truth. I am afraid of what I will create. What myths about myself I will debunk. When we confront our art we see, even if it’s not visibly a painting of ourselves, a self-portrait. Will I like Molly this week? Today? This moment? Will I agree with her behavior? I am afraid to know.
Last week I was home in Lexington for a series of doctors appointments. I now live in Louisville. Twice I encountered what I would consider spiritual mentors.
“Are you writing?” they ask. On one occasion, I was asked this question in Third Street Café after I spent nearly 2 hours mentoring a young writer at Transy. No, I thought. Avoids the question.
We go back to the epicenter of those who know us well. Who know us by name. Not the one our families gave us. Or society. But a tribal name of what we call ourselves. Writer.
Why so much fear around being seen? I ask myself. I think most of it has to do with not fully approving or liking what we see in the mirror. After growth, which in the natural world is change. And if change, destruction. What if our self-portrait is the avalanche of our cheek or the self-scarification of picking endlessly, lack of lovingly, at our own face? How do we confront the shame?
I retreat again to balance. It’s been a while since I sought you. And I am ready to listen again.