“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”-The Perks of Being a Wallflower
You know when the rain pours so hard it sounds like a rushing river? When the world becomes so quiet in comparison, that rain seems like the only thing in the universe.
As I sit here in bed next to the glow of my nightlight, propped up by pillows against the wall, all I can hear is the rush of the rain and the tapping of my keyboard.
This is my happy place.
It’s funny when I look back on my last blog (from July 2019) I am overcome by a flood of guilt. At first, I was going to compare the flood to the rain outside, but as I began to type that out, the rain subsided into a gentle flow–is the universe trying to tell me something?
A lot has happened in the last year. A lot has happened in the last three months. A lot has happened in the last 3 days.
These days, the world seems to move both slow and fast. I feel incredibly behind and, at the same time, as though I’ve sprinted on ahead of myself.
I can’t explain to you exactly why I haven’t written anything here, so I’m not even going to try.
I’m still trying to figure out myself.
I wish I could say I’ve spent the time on an epic journey of self-discovery or writing a book or setting up a life for myself, but things are never that clean-cut, are they?
The truth is, over the past year I’ve been doing a combination of learning, growing, evading, regressing, listening, watching, hiding, neglecting, and feeling…so much feeling.
This week I started reading again.
And by “again” I mean for the first time in more years than I’d like to count. I’ve been beating myself up a lot about this. Every time I see a book collecting dust on the shelf, the harsh voice in my head attempts to lecture me into action and then my softer voice begins developing a plan to “get back to it.” Neither voice prevails.
The truth I came to realize tonight, though, is that I didn’t stop reading because I’m lazy or irresponsible; I stopped reading because I needed space. I needed to shut out all the other voices so I could begin listening to my own.
Hushed for so many years, my inner voice has been bullied and shamed into silence.
As I began to coax it out, it started as a shy, hesitant whisper.
It’s impossible to hear a whisper over the noise of others in a crowd.
Somehow, deep down I knew the best thing for me to do was to stop reading what others had to say and, instead, spend a little time on my own to figure out what it is I have to say.
I am still figuring that out, too.
For me, this journey to finding my inner voice has been slow, intense, and, at times, painful.
This week, without any new plan, idea, or encouragement, I picked up a book and began to let other voices in again and something amazing happened–my inner voice began to dialogue with the written voice. Once again, I was able to hear my own voice alongside the author’s.
It’s often hard to recognize change when it happens gradually.
I didn’t realize until that night with my book just how much progress I had made. What was once hushed silence gradually turned into a gentle whisper, and now has once again gained the confidence to speak at par with the other voices around me.
The written word has this powerful way of making us feel less alone.
At least it does for me. And I think it’s because of this very dialogue that takes place: the dialogue between the reader and the author. It’s a connection that I have yet to experience under any other context.
One day I hope to experience this connection from the other side. Or perhaps I already have. Is it happening right now?
The other day I was scrolling my feed and I came across a post by Gary Vaynerchuk (which in and of itself was strange as I’ve never followed any of his accounts). He was talking about starting out and the power of sharing the journey. In essence, what he was saying was to not wait until you have the experience or the knowledge before you start to teach or lead, but also to not pretend you have the knowledge or experience before you do. He said to, instead, share the journey as you work towards getting there because the journey can be a teaching tool, too.
These days, I don’t know exactly where I’m headed. I’m still trying to figure that out.
I’ve been travelling through what seems like an endless identity/career/existential crisis, anxiously awaiting it to be over so I can once again start writing.
What I’m realizing, though, is that there is value in sharing the journey. And maybe–similar to when I wrote about my journey through eating disorder recovery–others can learn from and be helped by it.
So all this to say (in a very rambly way) here I am, somewhere in what I think is phase two of my journey and I want to begin sharing it.
My hope is that if you’re in a similar place and are trying to figure it all out like I am, you will witness my journey and, in even the smallest of ways, be helped by it.
PS: if you’re reading this and it resonates, please let me know! Writing helps me connect and I would love to connect with you.
7 thoughts on “Confession from the Trenches”
Thank you for sharing this. We all go through this phase at some point of our lives. Please do keep writing!
Anitha, thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and for leaving a comment! And for reminding me I’m not alone in this phase. You have no idea how encouraging it was to see a comment on such a personal piece (especially after such a long break from blogging). Sending love from my side of the internet. xLaurenB
I really enjoyed your post. Like you said, the written word has the power to make you feel less alone. Keep writing. You have a story that needs to be told.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my writing, Andrea, and for the encouraging comment! I am so glad my words resonated with you. I am determined now more than ever to keep writing!
This really encouraged me, Lauren — I am in a similar place, and I’ve felt that I’m not allowed to speak out when I’m so far from finished or perfect. Thank you for the reminder that the process is all part of it; I really needed to hear this.
Thank you so much for this comment, Sky! I am so glad my words resonated with you. The process IS all part of your story. I’m not even sure if we ever do get to the “finish” and I certainly know we never get to “perfect.” Don’t let yourself forget this–I’m going to be working hard not to.