Be Yourself

telepath

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” 

― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Six weeks ago, I unpublished seven years of work and vowed I would never write in this space again. I was desolate and sad and tired of spinning out in an attempt to find some kind of connection with myself that I could not find. I honestly believed that if I continued to lay my soul bare here, I wouldn’t be able to write anything else, ever. I wanted out of the obligation and the pressure.

Kill your darlings, right? So I did. I killed my heart. And no one noticed.

I spend a good portion of my mental energy thinking about writing, and often ideas take shape over days as I’m processing something through music and creating my playlist around it. I always write to the music I’ve curated for each post, and it’s a process that works, and that I love and value deeply.

When I tried to cut this space out of my life, it was like part of me died. I mourned the loss of my creative outlet by taking up coloring and elaborate, artistic makeup routines when I went out. I started purging my living space of unnecessary things, again. I kept making mixtapes, but something was gone and I wasn’t connecting with the music the way I wanted to. When I feel disconnected from music, I know something is wrong.

I felt an overwhelming sense of being lost. I thought, okay, I’ll try to write something else, somewhere else. And I tried. And tried. And tried. And it was all shit. Terrible, massive loads of shit sauce. I couldn’t think because I felt isolated from myself. The ideas wouldn’t come. I wrote about not being able to write. It was torture. Anxiety. All the time. I thought I had lost it.

I went to Florida. I spent some time with my mom in Key West, but instead of really being present and enjoying it, I was worried she wasn’t having the experience I wanted her to have.  She went home, and I went to Miami alone. I beached and ate delicious food and wandered through the city, sometimes alone, sometimes with boys. I danced all night with a roomful of delirious strangers, spun out on euphoria and dance beats and oblivion. I walked 30 city blocks, straight into the ocean, and waded  fully clothed and barefoot in my thin silk dress into the waves. I watched the sun come up and felt this mystical feminine energy that’s been holding me for the last year. I saw her in the sunrise. I breathed her in the salty water.

I gave her everything.

I gave her my sadness, my despair, my loneliness, my heartache, my insecurity, my fear, my rejection, my happiness, my sorrow, my longing. I emptied out my regret, my shame, my self hatred. I gave her my anger and my self doubt. I gave her my grief over the loss of my father. I let her take the blame. I let go of everything being my fault, of not being good enough. I gave her my pain over no one choosing to stay, really understanding me and loving me. I gave her my broken heart over you. I poured out my self harm bottle by bottle. Lighter, I stared into the sea and her vastness, and the distance between us engulfed me.

I begged her to take my hope.

Take my dreams. Take my expectations and plans. Take my fantasy and drown it. Take my talent. Take my joy. Take my love. Whatever I am supposed to learn by having my heart destroyed, I don’t know how to learn. I can’t. I would rather feel nothing. I give up.

My sunrise goddess of the sea looks like Bjork, kind of a sky faun. Lady Pan. 

She listened. She took everything in silence. She forgave me. She washed over me in gentle waves and her ancient heart wrapped me in warmth and I floated there, in nothing and everything at once.

We made a pact. She would take everything, and I would just keep going. I knew her ancient secrets and realized everything is and always has been just as it should be. What is meant to be will be, when the time is right. We made a pact. Then she gave me this:

Tiny, perfect shell. 

People who live around the ocean probably take it’s majesty and power for granted a lot of the time. I can understand that. But for the first time in ages, I felt connected to something bigger than myself. I felt the power of the sea. I’m an atheist, but that doesn’t prevent me from believing in the spiritual experience of science and nature and chemistry and physics. There’s an infinite universe inside of us, in and outside of this planet, in the air and the trees and in the ground, and energy never dies. We’re so disconnected from the natural world, when we come close to its magic, it can be life changing. So if this sounds supernatural in that context, I’d say it was.

Mystical encounters are everywhere if you’re open to them. I don’t think people or events happen to us by accident. Not in a fate way, but in a noticing when things are special way. This works to my detriment when I feel some kind of connection that doesn’t turn out the way I want it to. I’ve also been on the other side of that coin recently, so I understand how disarming it can be. I’m working on my long game.

What happened next is, I came home and went back to life. And suddenly, I had an idea. Like a real idea for a book that’s not about me. I mean, it’s about me. It’s always about me. But it occurred to me that I could write my own story. So I started to. Weeks passed, and more ideas happened. Writing ideas, life ideas, career ideas. It always lines up. Always.

Stephen King writes in his memoir On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft “What is writing? Writing is telepathy.” It’s one person opening up, receiving messages from the ether, and capturing them to send to someone else using language and the page. It’s storytelling. It’s emptying my heart into yours. It’s going into your special basement place, your meditation lady fort, and clearing everything out so the words can come. Some people do it with guitars, or with paint, or movement, or dance. I do it with words. Here, and other places, but definitely here.

I’d rather sit atop a mountain of failure and rejection and shit words, crap stories, and ramblings that go nowhere than in a majestic throne of self preservation and polite no-thank-yous. I will not let fear keep me from jumping off. I’ll break my heart a thousand times and tape it back together with kids’ yarn and wood glue. But what if it hurts? What if you’re wrong?  So what if we might die? We’re all going to die anyway. I want to die writing love from my fingertips to your eyes and sending music into your ears.

3 comments

  1. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  2. "I walked 30 city blocks, straight into the ocean, and waded fully clothed and barefoot in my thin silk dress into the waves. I watched the sun come up and felt this mystical feminine energy that's been holding me for the last year. I saw her in the sunrise. I breathed her in the salty water." I couldn't resist. I had to revisit this post. My how you have a way with words.

  3. Thank you for the kind words!

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