“It sounds like there’s more to the story than you’re letting on,” my friend wrote. “So, what really happened? Will you let us into the pain?”
Those three sentences prompted me to be a truth-teller.
Those twenty-three words birthed it all.
You see, I joined this writing gig a little later in life. I had the heart, and knowing the transition into a word-filled existence would take time, I carried with me the motivation to keep going, keep going, keep going. I had the skill, at least on paper, but I had yet to find my voice.
I hadn’t yet believed enough in myself, in the story that was mine alone to tell. I didn’t trust the truth buried deep inside me. And I hadn’t dealt with the pain of all the change that’d taken place in my life in less than a year’s time: a move and the loss of a dog; a baby and morphing, changing friendships; the death and birth of a traditional existence in the workforce.
First, I had to deal with Change itself.
So I played it safe. I held my cards close to my chest, hinting at pain while continuing to put on my biggest and best smile. There existed at the heart of it all a grand paradox of sorts: I feared rejection just as strongly as I craved recognition. I yearned for fame without having to do any of the work. But most of all, I believed that I wouldn’t be liked if I told the whole truth: that I was lonely and sad, that I feared I’d make an irrevocable mistake.
Day after day, even if it was just a two-sentence note scratched on the back of a grocery receipt, I kept writing. Truthfully, I wondered if I’d actually be able to do it, if I’d be able to be my most authentic self, on paper, through my words.
But then I read my friend’s words – you know, that comment written on the side of my paper – and it birthed something in me. It quickened my pulse and made me come alive, simultaneously, magically, resolutely.
Fearful and scared and nervous about telling the truth and embracing the messiness, I entered in.
At first, the changes were purely technical and began with the basics of punctuation. I stopped using smiley face emoticons in my blog posts, when I realized that a colon and parenthesis weren’t there to bring joy into the hearts of my readers, but to instead plea for my own acceptance and affirmation. Upon finishing an article, I’d scour through it for overused exclamation point–a sure sign, for me at least, that I felt like I should always end on a joy-filled, positive note.
Want to hear more about how I became a truth-teller, through writing specifically? Click here and head on over to The Gift of Writing’s website, where I’m now a monthly contributor! Otherwise, how have YOU become a truth-teller?