“I am willing to sound dumb. I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to be passionate about something that isn’t perceived as cool. I am willing to express a theory. I am willing to admit I’m afraid. I’m willing to contradict something I’ve said before. I’m willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one. I’m willing to apologize. I’m perfectly willing to be perfectly human.” – Donald Miller (Scary Close).
As I wrote essays this first half of the year, I found myself particularly tossed about by all the varied perspectives coming at me as I researched.
In other words, I found these assignments, a little more than usual, particularly hard to write.
The writer’s block game was strong.
When I talked to a wise person about it, they said something along the lines of
‘perhaps this writing is particularly hard because, for whatever reason, you’re not
putting your own stake in the ground.’
Those words stuck;
I wasn’t sure why,
but they stuck.
I have since been thinking about what it means to put your stake in the ground.
And how it looks a little like being willing to own whatever flows from: “this is what I think,” and “this is how I feel.” Even if what we put out there might later end up to be ‘wrong.’
I found this notion just as applicable to life, as it was to writing.
It’s easy to leave those ‘this is me’ bits out when you’re in a social context. Less friction. Less feeling different. Less risk. People won’t have the chance to see what they don’t like, because we safely choose not to put those cards on the table.
But, somehow, just like I found with my writing, when we do this, I think we lose at least a piece of the thing that anchors us.
I’ve been watching a reality tv series (of which, ironically, I won’t name coz its a bit cringe), and I’ve become so aware of something inherent in human nature; we hide what we feel and think if it’s going to be to the detriment of another person (this in and of itself is great because it shows at our core we care about others). But what this show has also made evident is how this hiding, as well-intentioned as it may be, often leads to lies – to self and to others, and those lies, lead to hurt and confusion.
I think to an extent that sort of censoring is necessary: there’s a reason why we think before we speak (even those of us who are of the ‘speaking before thinking’ extroverted breed – we still choose what to say from a prior pool of thought, of which, never all gets shared). But I think in another way, if we aren’t careful when we do this censoring, the balance fast becomes tipped too far in the wrong direction: we deny ourselves the right to be human: someone who does think things, and who does feel things, and then that, in turn, starts to rob us of our ability to feel like we have some sort of place in the world.
I think our sense of ‘I fit here,’ has more to do with us, than others, than we may first realise.
How willing are we to welcome our own <insert own words that describe you here> presence into a room of people who stand in different form?
I think having a sense that ‘I fit in here,’ is kind of synonymous with the knowledge that this won’t necessarily always mean sitting smooth and streamline with the shape and form of those around us. In a sense, I think our sense of fitting where we stand, has more to do with whether we are allowing our whole selves to stand there or not. And it is that, at least in part, which holds the power to anchor us.
Paradoxically, I think the more we each are individually able to ‘enter the room,’ with a sense that it’s ok to be different ourselves,
we’ll be more inclined to welcome the different shape and form of the people that surround us,
which I think, is pretty important, too.
P.S Brene Brown’s ‘Braving the Wilderness,’ is a great read if this rings true for you, as is the book the opening quote is from ‘Scary Close,’ by Donald Miller.