I've always considered myself an artist--or a wanna-be, could-be, should-be artist. Not that I've made anything that intrinsically matters to the fabric of humanity but that drive in me to create something that pulls on one's soul throbs like a burning ember. Pulsating, whispering I'm still here, I'm still breathing. Yet, I am the writer who rarely writes. I have great dreams of grandeur, of my words shaking hands and making themselves known. Thoughts are filled with unwritten words, of stories untold, of fractured pieces of my story fitting for a table for many, broken off pieces of bread passed from hand to hand.
There are many times when I am tempted to give up on my dreams. They're too big, they're overwhelming. I think maybe I'm not smart enough. I wonder if studying is truly meaningful -- or if I'm wasting time that could be spent investing in business, or ministry. I look around me and see so many seemingly successful young people, by the standards they present themselves through social media, anyway, and wonder if this is all worth it.
I am not living life the way I do to impress those around me. It is not to live up to some impossible standard I set for myself. I do not strive to complete my checklists merely for the effect filled in boxes gives. I do not live for the now, I live for the future. I seek to be diligent in my work today in order that tomorrow would be more complete. I work late hours, I drink too much coffee, I don't spend as much time on "loving myself", as others say I should -- I know it's only for a season.
When I look back on the past year of my life, I am amazed at the level of self-discovery I have experienced. From losing my voice in writing and wallowing in months of despair knowing I was disconnected from my first love of writing--to slowly, painfully beginning anew. Last year my journal filled slowly, I grasped onto anything I could put into words and sealed the pages so I wouldn't see it, so no one else would.
Lose your life, so that you can find it. Lose your words, so that you can find them.
I'm on a road of restoration. Of finding my voice in new ways. Things that were once easy to me feel static and cold. Yet, is that not the essence of what art is? It's an expression of our inner selves. My writing used to reflect the inner turmoil I felt at being unsure of myself. It was a reminder to myself I am here, I am breathing, I am moving on. And when my inner self-grew--became more self-aware, became more appreciative of, well, itself -- I did not try to grow with it.
I want to write! But I had lost my voice. Sure, I've written things this year, I've even written pieces that I proud of! But the feeling was missing. Fellow writers, I am not sure if I am alone in this, but writing is akin to the feeling of love. It is a deep, romantic, sensual draw. I know when I have written something good, even if no one ever reads it and approves. I feel the words slipping from my thoughts to my fingers and mixing into ink or keys on my laptop and I just know.
I have only been in one relationship, I have never suffered through a hard breakup, or have had to tear up old pictures of former happiness, but the depth of raw, empty, unfeeling of knowing I am in love with writing but the flame had died down was honestly heartbreaking. This process feels a bit like starting over. Maybe I truly have lost the old me in my writing-- but I am starting to think that is okay.
Truthfully, I do not think my younger self would fully recognize my almost-20 soul, but I do not think she would mind it so. My younger self was ready to take risks, she knew that her words must grow as she must grow and how much better would it be if we did them together? I imagine myself at 15, 16--the middle portion of a highschool romance. Full cheeks, acne prone, round belly and thoughts far beyond herself. She stayed up late pounding out stories and poems on her old keyboard. She filled journal after journal and thought herself to be very intellectual and advanced.
She'd roll her eyes at me. Duh, you have to grow. She'd say. And she'd drink her coffee black because she's still pretending to like it like that. I will not tear up any old pictures, I will not burn my middle school romantic letters. Instead I open a fresh notebook, flip to the first white page (the first one is always best.) My, my, old friend. How time has changed us. Let's get coffee this week.