Exercising My Muscle

Are you an artist?
Are you an artist?

Writing is in me. I’m constantly watching the world around me, observing, picking up tidbits here and there and hiding them for future use. There’s a running blog post in my head – sometimes witty, most times insane. As a regular habit, I sit at the keyboard and think about what I’m going to write. Whether it’s for this blog or work or simply to get some thoughts down, the process is daunting.

I still have an overwhelming hesitation when I write. Steven Pressfield calls this “Resistance” in “The War of Art” and he’s right. Resistance is the perfect word. It pretends to be shy, but it coils itself around my fingers, up my arms and into my heart and mind. It says to me that I don’t need to write. I shouldn’t share what’s on my heart or my journey.

It’s all an excuse, of course. I know this logically. And yet that feeling of resistance is overwhelming.

Where resistance hits me the most is fear of vulnerability. But not on the front end. Not when I’m writing. Oh no. I’ve got posts and posts just sitting. Why do they sit? Because I’m afraid someone will read what I’ve written and think I’m unbalanced. Or not understand that what I’m writing is a reflection of what I’ve processed – not necessarily where I am now. I have a fear of being misunderstood. Of being too open. And being rejected for that openness.

Then there’s the part of me that doesn’t care. I wish that part of me that doesn’t care was braver. That muscle – stronger. I know that doesn’t happen without exercising it – but vulnerability isn’t a muscle that many seem to value. We say we do – but we don’t, because vulnerability takes courage. And to have courage, we often must first face ourselves, the good and the bad we bring to the table. We can’t deal in the face of other people’s ugly – usually because we haven’t dealt with our own. And maybe that’s what it comes down to for me. I’m dealing with my ugly, and as I do, it makes its way to these pages, so other people can know they’re not alone. (Or at least that there’s someone out there a little crazier than they are.) I think this wrestling and struggle are why Pressfield calls art a war. I hope someday to have enough battle scars to prove I fought well.

(Special thanks to my friend Julie Abel, who inspired me with her writing. Check out her writing journey here.)

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