Last week was hard.
I had conflicting emotions and my inner dialogue would not be quiet. I felt like there was a parrot in my head repeating all my conversations back to me. I felt like I was starting to doubt everything I was doing, and I had a recurring thought in my head all week that I was fat. My brain was short circuiting, and as much as I saw it for what it was, I couldn’t stop it. There was something else I did last week, I wrote and submitted articles to 2 online magazines to try and be a guest contributor. By submitting these articles I am putting myself out there for rejection and criticism, and it is scary. I am pushing a boundary that I have never pushed before, and my brain senses danger. So, it chatted in my ear all week about past failures and possible future failures. But, I decided that instead of letting my brain’s craziness stop me, I was going to move forward anyway. I noticed that the more I pushed myself and tried to ignore the voices , the louder they got trying to distract me from my goal. So with the incessant voices of warning chatting away in my head, I researched, wrote and submitted 2 articles for publication. As I write this blog now, I have not heard back from either magazine. They both said that it takes a few weeks to review submissions and to be patient, and it has only been 3 days, but I am already starting to give up. I am already thinking that I should have worded things differently, or chose a different subject, or maybe edited a little more and waited to submit. My brain is filling in the void of not hearing yet with doubt. Why am I so insecure?
I am insecure because my writing is me.
My writing has always been me. I am not great at expressing my true self verbally. I always feel embarrassed and get tongue-tied. But in my writing I can express emotions that I didn’t even know I was feeling. So, if my writing is not good enough, it feels like a direct reflection on who I am. So, how do I promote my writing and not compromise the integrity of it? How do I stand by my writing and defend it, instead of being so insecure and possibly caving into other people’s opinions? In thinking about this question all week, I realized that not compromising my writing is the same as not compromising myself in a relationship with another person. It is the same struggle. Standing by and defending my true self in relationships is the same as writing in my own words and standing by them. In both cases I am standing by what I believe in. If I was to change my writing style to sound like everyone else then what is the point? The same goes for me as a person. If I am going to change myself to be like everyone else, then what is the point? I can’t be my true self if I am editing out what others don’t want to hear. I can’t share my gift and my uniqueness if I am doing and writing what everyone else is doing and writing. I can only change myself and my life if I am willing to do what has not been done yet.
I know that the incessant chatter in my head is just my brain’s way of protecting me.
After all my brain’s main objective is my survival. It doesn’t care about me following my dreams. It would rather have me stay in a life that I have outgrown than take a chance. It is predictable there, and my brain likes stability and predictability. It doesn’t like the unknown and it doesn’t care about my personal growth. It cares that I have food and shelter and that I am alive. It senses that I have everything I need to survive right now, so why rock the boat? I know this, and so I am learning to have compassion for myself and be grateful for my innate survival skills that look out for me. But what I also know is that my brain can learn. And it will learn that I will survive putting myself out there and taking a chance. It has already accepted and now takes for granted all the changes I have made in my life over this past year. So, the chances I am taking now will soon become just another part of my life. Once my brain realizes that I can handle these changes and that I actually feel better for them, it will no longer see them as threatening and the chatter will stop until I take another chance. The battle will continue between my heart and brain as long as I keep pushing boundaries. My heart will move forward, and I will have to hear my brain chatter as it protests what it perceives as a new threat. But it will eventually catch up with my heart and relax as it sees that I am safe.
So this is where I am now.
Today I don’t know if the magazines will contact me and accept my writing, or say thanks but no thanks. Today I am waiting. And no one really knows how I feel except for me. No one knows what I go through to get my words out of my head, through my fingers, onto my blog and out to the world. It has become all that I think about. These words that you are reading right now are all that I think about. All I think about is how can I express myself deeper, clearer, better? How can I use the words I write to connect? I want to believe that expressing myself through writing is for you, so that you don’t feel so alone in your struggles. But the truth is I write for myself so that I don’t feel so alone. When I write it feels like I am taking my heart out of my chest, laying it on railroad tracks, and then praying that a train doesn’t come. And the best part of writing is when you acknowledge me. You are scared too. But you take a chance, walk out on the railroad tracks, pick up my heart and say ‘me too!’