My brain is a noisy place. My thoughts yell at each other, vying for my attention. They hopscotch around until I manage to capture one. Only then can I begin unraveling this single thought, digging into it enough to understand it. Writing this blog post has been no different. Over the past few weeks I’ve started in on a multitude of posts – each one faltering from its uncertain beginning. My fits and starts are recorded in the drafts on my WordPress page – the unfinished trail of ideas left lingering.
Unsurprisingly, life doesn’t often give me time to stop and give attention to these wayward thoughts. The march of time pulls us all along until our inspiration becomes stale. So here I am, writing about my bloggers block in order to overcome it. This blog is a mirror of my unfocused mind – and an attempt to find some order.
In this process, I have missed a few important moments that I intended to write about: one year since my Peace Corps Service ended; six months since moving to Seattle and starting my new job; Thanksgiving. But strangely, the most important thing to have happened to me in the last few weeks was a two minute conversation with a coworker.
Why do you hide yourself?
I have never considered myself a small person. My physical stature would never be considered “little,” and my personality is nothing if not forceful. I am not afraid to stand for the things I believe in, nor am I afraid to stand apart when I need to. Or so I thought; but maybe I am afraid. I am afraid to unduly burden the world, afraid that I am an imposition. Because of this, there are a thousand or more situations where I intentionally make myself smaller. I don’t want people to notice me because if they don’t notice me, I can’t impact their lives.
Hearing that question from a colleague was a revelation. I have become so afraid of some terrible, hypothetical consequence that I let myself become small. I have moved beyond politeness and respect, and allowed them to morph into meekness and complacency. I hide myself, my strengths in an effort to be unthreatening. I’ve stopped standing up for the most important thing: me.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
Becoming smaller doesn’t happen all at once. It’s the sum of every decision I make everyday. It’s the mindset that goes with these decisions. It’s passive-aggressiveness. It’s self-consciousness. It’s an over reliance on serendipity.
Over the course of the last year – or really over the course of my lifetime – I have focused so intently on indexing my internal life. I have always wanted a definitive answer to the question: “who am I?” I was certain that once I had this answer I would be unstoppable. Turns out, I was wrong. My vast and complicated internal life became my sanctuary, where I could be the person I imagined I was. I could have the conversations where I stood up for myself. I could have the potential, and the future, and the today exactly how I thought them to be. But only in my head. Thinking might get you part of the way, but that last nudge from daydream to reality was a leap further than I could take.
This year I have focused on finding my place in the world, building myself up, and finding my footing. No one would disagree that I needed time to do this – but it is now time to move beyond this. I have become more aware of how my choices make me smaller, just as I have become more aware of my power to choose differently. It’s time to move beyond my belief that if I think hard enough, things will get better – beyond my serendipitous life.
It’s time to be unstoppable and to make an impact.
It may seem a bit premature to make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of December, but there is no time like the present. In 2016, I challenged myself to read more. In 2017, I am challenging myself to pursue my passion for writing more seriously. I want to write more – more often, more prolifically, more broadly. For that I need a more flexible platform than The Serendipitous Life. This, therefore, will likely be one of my last posts on this blog. What form precisely my next writing venture will take is still uncertain – but I am sure you will be hearing about it. Stay tuned.