It’s this one word that keeps coming back to me, one word I can’t disconnect from.
One day a few months ago, I sat curled up in my bed on a Skype date with Aubrey. Wrapping fingers around a ceramic mug of tea that was almost still hot, gripping it like a tangible shred of the last little bit of my control. Control over myself, over life, over dreams, over fear. Maybe over God, if I’m being completely honest.
And I could not meet her eyes, the sweet friend who was watching me from my computer screen. Dallas and Lima in the same room, Dallas losing it and Lima holding on for them both. I remember just sitting there for a second, wishing that distance wasn’t what it is and that we could just curl up in my bed and cry together.
See, this year has felt in many ways like dreams buried and dreams planted, and that day was the first that I ever spoke of it out loud. That day was the first time I said actual words to an actual human, words articulating this nagging feeling that I was supposed to start saying no to being what I’ve always wanted to be–a musician–so that I can start saying yes to being what I’ve always been scared to be–a writer.
And the truth did what it always does, and tumbled out fast and terrifying.
Aub, I can’t write worth shit unless I write raw.
And it all closed in at the same time, and I ugly-cried while I tried to squeak out words, desperate to convey to another human being that sometimes you know what it is that divine hands are trying to drag out of you, but for the love of sanity, you just want it to stay in its place because if it escapes, God only knows what might hit the fan.
Singing, playing, performing, it all lives in this easy, comfortable place for me. Because I’m comfortable with the fact that I’m pretty good at it. I’m good at using a pretty voice to sing someone else’s song, tell someone else’s story. A story that doesn’t really cost me anything, that doesn’t share too much or hit too close to home or leave me with that horrible and beautiful feeling that I just handed another human being my whole heart and gave them permission to eviscerate it.
I’ve spent so much of my life figuring out how to be pleasant and palatable, easy to be around, and lately it feels like that’s being wrenched from white-knuckled hands. I feel as though I’m finally finding my voice as a writer, and some days I want to give it back and ask for a different one. Because this voice I’m finding, it pokes and prods and challenges. It rocks boats and doesn’t always sit comfortably. It’s not for everyone. Which feels impossible to me, because something inside me has always wrestled with this misplaced and irrational desire to be pleasing to everyone always.
But I’m figuring out that in truth, that’s not a way to live.
Maybe life is a lot like writing for me. Maybe to be worth something, it has to exist in unedited abandon. Unfinished, unrefined, untamed and wild.
I want to be okay with the fact that my voice isn’t for everyone. I want to be able to love people well, regardless of whether they connect with my heart and my story.
But I also want to find the people my voice IS for. The ones who mate for life. The ones who think All of the Big Thoughts and feel All of the Big Feelings. The ones who have spent life trying to play small and conventional, absolutely terrified of being too much for the people around them. The ones who live with doubt and chase wild hope. The ones with dirty hands and gritty stories full of truthful loose ends that haven’t ever tied themselves up. The ones who experience each of the things at every end of all the spectrums in brilliant technicolor.
I want to find the raw ones.