I’m surprised to be sitting here at the keyboard, putting my thoughts to the screen with the intention of pressing “Publish” when I’m finished. It’s not that I doubt my ability to write. Rather, it’s the vulnerability of doing so, of making what goes on in my head (and heart) public, that scares me. You see, thirty-five years ago, and just a sophomore in high school, I had written a note to a boy I thought was my friend. Hours after passing it to him in the hallway, another of my friends came to me with it crumpled in her hand. In hushed tones, she explained how she had rescued it from one of the bulletin boards when she recognized the writing. I don’t know how long it had been up there or how many students had laughed at what I had written, but I remember feeling so exposed and embarrassed…and betrayed. I had vowed to never put my thoughts and feelings to the page again, lest I relive the sting of being made a public spectacle.
A few years later as a young 20-something working at a museum, I would befriend a coworker who would encourage me to write again. It took some coaxing, but he raved at the “voice” of my pieces and my “largeness of mind”. It’s possibly true that I loved the attention and enthusiasm he had for my writing, and for me by extension, and my ego knew the only way to keep it coming was to continue to put brilliant thoughts to the page. But my writing took only the form of personal letters and emails and entries into journals that piled up in the corner of my closet despite his encouragement that I should write an actual book.
Well, the book is still taking form and shape in my mind and looks more like a hot mess of unrelated thoughts in tons of hand scribbled notebooks. Maybe some day, I say to myself. In the meantime, I have been writing posts on a range of topics that interest me and sharing them through my business Face Book page and a friend’s business website as a guest writer. I love being able to write a short piece about a specific topic, share my idea, and let it go. So while blogging would seem to be a great avenue to express myself in this way, it still carries the weight of apprehension with it. This is, after all, much larger than the high school hallway bulletin board.
So, sink or swim, here it goes. I’m hoping to make Brene’ Brown, PhD, LMSW, and the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt proud as I “dare greatly” and enter the public writing arena. And although my former museum coworker dislikes introspection, something I now tackle regularly through my writing, I’m sure he would be pleased that I was taking this first step. Here’s to you, my dear old friend. Thanks for your years of cheer leading and believing in my writing…and for planting the first seed that this could be possible.