Every time I post a piece, I get naked.
I’d heard before that revealing your creativity in some form for all to see was like getting naked. Now I know it’s true.
A direct expression from within my being … and it’s all for you!
The ta-ta’s that for years I tried to minimize or push-up or push out – totally unnecessary. Necklines, hem-lines, pant-lines tailored to flatter – they don’t mean a thing now. No special undies make any difference to what’s being revealed. None of that stuff has any place here.
That’s the liberating part.
Scary too (just a bit).
Before I ever wrote ‘publicly’ – with my actual name attached to any of the writing being done, I lived in a perpetual state of cringe. I heard the cynical, critical, calculated criticisms that breathed fire onto the daring, horizon-pushing, archetypal insight-giving expressions from others.
I heard it all.
And I used what I heard to refrain.
Until I realized something about those people that said stuff.
None of them would dare to get naked;
None of them would think honour their own expressions of creativity for real;
None of them were even happy.
I was surrounded by them because I was just as scared as them. So long as I fenced myself in substituting my desires with their critique, I could secretly dream of what it would be like to thrive, but never actually do the work associated with being myself.
Then along came Sweden.
In Sweden the winter days are exceptionally cold and dark (compared to the milder climate of Vancouver anyway). After a visit to the old age home one Christmas day to sing some carols, my then boyfriend, his four siblings and I, we all headed to a sauna. All six of us squished in together. As in, totally naked and together in a hot, steamy sauna.
I sat there trying not to notice anything in particular.
Starting to think now how strange this all is.
The youngest would remind me of my words for years to come:
“In Canada, we don’t do this. I would not be sitting in a sauna with my siblings without my clothes.”
They looked at me like they didn’t understand the words I was using, but they did. It was the concept that was lost on them for they clearly could be in each other’s company naked.
The lesson was memorable. How could it not be really?
In those two years, I became the most comfortable I’d ever been literally without my clothes on.
However, I still hesitated to disrobe my psyche for others to see. I was extremely tight-lipped about my inner world.
“I wish you’d share your insights more,” a boss once said to me. I froze.
“Why?” I asked without breathing. I thought that I wasn’t supposed to share what I thought. I was to be seen and not heard. I, after all was destined to be a minion. She was about to shatter my version of reality.
“Because I like it when you do.”
Truth be told, I had never considered before that someone would actually like what I had to say. I thought only obnoxious people had an opinion that others wanted to hear. They certainly roused more eyebrows than I. I wasn’t interested nor did I have the energy to compete to be heard. I just watched and it never looked fun.
My job was listening. My demeanor gentle, my voice soft. I chose words mindfully. I had no black and white things to say. Besides, isn’t that what people want to hear? That the world is black and white? I didn’t get it. Was this some kind of cosmic joke – why would someone tell me to share more?
My world was grey, so colours are vibrant (it’s a photographer’s thing – that colours are more vibrant when photographed on a grey day). I just didn’t think there was space for me to share.
So, I lost my voice for a year – literally. Every two weeks, I would get an incredible sore throat that would last for 6-8 weeks. No doctor could offer any insight or explanation and drugs did nothing. Nada.
Unless I was going to use my voice, I was clearly going to lose it.
I disrobed my inner world to the outer world.
Adios sore throats.
I wasn’t attached to what came out of me. I just decided to start sharing what I’d lived.
Living your wisdom to share it is not the same as spouting about a life unlived.
When I first started writing, I needed to pretend that you didn’t exist (dear, sweet readers). Then I could get naked and not have the experience of self-consciousness. In the absence of a critical eye, the words can flow and I can be picked up by the forces of nature herself (a sort of writing wind). I go into a “bubble” of solitude and float away for awhile.
Solitude isn’t for the lonely or lonesome. When I was lonely I couldn’t stand it. I’m not lonely anymore. And the reason I was lonely is because I believed that I was. I was most lonely in a crowd of ‘friends.’ These days, I’m rigid about my dislike for small talk and talking small, so writing and connecting with depth and breadth fills a well of life-giving elixir within me. I get to make sense to me too because I write. Especially during the actual act.
One of my readers is my future father-in-law. He’s 67, retired, reads my stuff and emails me to tell me that he likes it.
I suddenly remember that I’m naked.
For him and all of you.
Where you fuel, re-tool and attune your imagination. Get your soul to work (on purpose). Ruthless compassion. Fierce gentleness. Sassy wisdom. And oodles of insight.