Growing up, Ms. Manners and my mother made sure I behaved in a polite manner at all times. I responded with eye rolling and my catch phrase, “For crying out loud,” which drove my mother crazy. The frustration got overwhelming when I felt expressing your individuality went against the grain.
So, I channeled my loud and energetic personality through my musical and artistic interests, while I stayed quiet. Liz Phair, Sylvia Ji and Chuck Palahniuk sing, paint and write about sex, sadness, darkness and nakedness. Their raw and gritty honesty captures the essence of humanity, breaking through the filters everyone uses to look, sound and act the same.
As an adult, I still fell in line, holding back my true nature for fear of what people would say. It carried over to my writing. My voice and style felt empty and forced. I didn’t want to upset someone, but a writer expresses themselves through their writing. It looked like I didn’t have a clue.
I realized I needed to fly my freak flag, and stay strong. Not every reader will enjoy my writing, but I need to stay true to myself. If I don’t, my creativity becomes constipated. My readers deserve to see me through my writing, not someone I think they want to read. Here’s to growing a thick skin!
What do you fear when you write?