A few months ago, I considered discontinuing my blog. Not because I was beyond the point of busy and unable to find a second-minute-hour to type a few hundred words. Definitely not because I was drained and void of more thoughts and feelings to share with anyone coming across this site. No, given everything that’s happened this year, those would have been acceptable reasons. Instead, the consideration manifested due to depleted courage.
Let me take a small step backwards.
When I launched this blog, I was dating someone and I’d already published a short novel (very) loosely based on the realities of my life. In my book, I not only reveal the questionable thoughts and motivations behind various family member’s actions after my mother’s death, I also examine what it means to truly love beyond conditions. While cathartic and necessary for me, Yesterday Mourning wasn’t received by some with the same affection and acceptance. Understandably, my father wasn’t thrilled about it and I doubt, made it past the Prologue.
Then there was the guy in my life. I couldn’t write a sentence or a post without it being viewed as a cryptic message entirely about the ins and outs of our relationship. Everyone seemed comfortable leaping to unfounded conclusions. Why allow truth to complicate things? In all fairness, there were times when our experience mirrored those of close friends and acquaintances, which made them blogworthy and authentic. Laughter and love don’t negate struggles. Relationships aren’t easy and pretending perfection is a lie I have never been willing to tell. However, this blog wasn’t my way of whispering a message just as my book did little to strengthen a father-daughter connection. My writing wasn’t about them, it was about me.
Now, little more than a year later, I’m still somewhat confined to the rules created in my past. Rules allowing guilt to guide and repression to rule. Everyone’s feelings and opinions became the priority and I remain stifled and silent. That’s where the depleted courage comes in. It takes guts to be open to strangers, vulnerability to be honest with friends and family, and committed courage to be true to yourself. After all the months of having to defend the why’s behind my book and my blog, I considered taking the easy route. Then something interesting happened. Last week, a friend and owner of Liquid Courage Cosmetics launched the #Couragetowrite campaign in partnership with BeBlogalicious for the 2014 Conference. While I didn’t enter the contest, the purpose of the campaign resonated. “The #couragetowrite movement is designed to encourage bloggers that have either stopped blogging or considered the thought of muting their voice.” Along the way, I had made a choice to prioritize others’ voices while muting my own. I guess that’s my bad.
The idea of writing with courage extends far beyond these two examples. It is a mantra for the many people I know struggling to balance a professional persona with an after-five interest. It is for those unable to write about their lives openly and honestly, instead forced to use pseudonyms. It is for every person having to choose between freedom of expression and a relationship (romantic or familial). It is for the independent thinkers that refuse to pacify people and instead allow creativity to reign. Having the courage to write means being true to the voice within and not allowing anyone or anything to mute your message.
Kudos to everyone that Writes with Courage!
I know I’m not the only person that’s battled a lack of courage at times. What have you experienced and how did you deal with it?